U.S. women dominate in the pool with five-medal day in Rio

By Joe Clarke | Sept. 16, 2016, 3:04 p.m. (ET)

McKenzie Coan celebrates her third gold medal of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games.
RIO DE JANEIRO – Team USA left the Olympic Aquatics Stadium Friday night with five medals on the day thanks to individual performances from McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia), Cortney Jordan (Henderson, Nevada), Rebecca Meyers (Baltimore, Maryland) and Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina). The fifth and final medal of the night came from a bronze-medal effort in the women’s 4x100 34 pt. medley relay, which consisted of Aspden, Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona), Lizzi Smith (Baltimore, Maryland) and Michelle Konkoly (Eagleville, Pennsylvania). U.S. swimmers now have 13 gold, 13 silver and nine bronze medals after the ninth day of competition.

Coan confirmed her third gold medal of the Rio Games with a first-place finish in the women’s S7 100 freestyle, setting a mark of 1:09.99. She took first in the 50 and 400 freestyle events earlier in the competition, while also claiming silver in the women’s 4x100 34 pt. freestyle relay. The two-time Paralympian amassed all of her Paralympic Games career medals in Rio.

"In the call room I am usually so nervous but I couldn't help but smile,” Coan said, still smiling. “That was so exciting, my last race here, and I went out and enjoyed every moment." 

Teammate and training partner Jordan swam alongside Coan in the 100 freestyle with a silver-medal effort of 1:12.80. The silver beckoned her fourth medal of the Games and gave her an even dozen for her Paralympic Games career. The duo went gold-silver for the second time of the meet, accomplishing the feat in the 400 freestyle just two days earlier. Both swimmers have completed their events for the competition.

Meyers continued a memorable Games by securing her fourth medal, a silver in the women’s S13 100 freestyle. She managed a 59.77 out of lane six to snag the sixth medal of her Paralympic Games career, which now reads as three gold, two silver and a bronze medal. Meyers won the 400 freestyle, 200 individual medley and 100 butterfly over the course of the meet. The 50 freestyle was the lone event she did not win a medal.

Aspden’s first-career Paralympic Games medal came in an exciting S9 100 backstroke race that saw her produce a 1:10.67 for bronze. The first-time Paralympian finished only behind Nuria Maques Soto of Spain, who won silver, and Australian Ellie Cole, who snatched gold with a Paralympic record of 1:09.18. Aspden made her Paralympic Games debut back on day two of competition, but clearly saved her best effort for last. The 16-year-old Tar Heel State native finished her Rio schedule this evening, having competed in five individual events in her debut.

Aspden racked up her second medal of the night in the women’s 4x100 34 pt. medley relay alongside U.S. teammates Marks, Smith and Konkoly. The third-place finish supplied Marks and Smith with their second medals of the Games, while it upped Konkoly’s total to four. Marks won the SB7 100 breaststroke last Saturday, Smith took silver in the 4x100 34 pt. freestyle relay last night with Konkoly, who struck gold in the S9 50 and 100 freestyle.

Alyssa Gialamas (Naperville, Illinois) raced to a time of 47.95 in the women’s S5 50 backstroke to finish sixth in the event. The two-time Paralympian still has the 100 freestyle on her Rio itinerary.

Tharon Drake (Hobbs, New Mexico) wrapped up his individual events with an eighth-place finish in the men’s SM11 200 individual medley. Drake touched the wall at 2:35.08. The two-time Rio medalist won silver in both the SM11 400 freestyle and 100 breaststroke earlier in the meet.

The swimming competition finishes tomorrow with the preliminary session, starting at 9:30 a.m. BRT/8:30 a.m. ET. Finals start at 5:30 p.m. BRT/4:30 p.m. ET.

Visit USParalympics.org/Rio2016 for more information on Team USA at the Paralympic Games, including athlete bios, schedule and live streaming. Follow the U.S. Paralympic team on social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.