Team USA Close Can Ams With Record-Setting Weekend

By Stafford Braxton | April 03, 2017, 6:07 p.m. (ET)

 Michelle Konkoly
Paralympian Michelle Konkoly represented Team USA at the Can Am Para-Swimming Championships this past weekend at the Windsor Aquatic Club. 

WINDSOR, Ontario — Competition at the 2017 Can Am Para-swimming Championships came to a close with 17 broken records over the course of three days at the Windsor Aquatic Club on Sunday. Team USA tallied a total of 17 records over the successful weekend with 14 American and three Pan American records. The competition brought together 160 of the world’s best athletes from over 10 countries.

Two-time Paralympian Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) wasted no time making a splash at the event, setting two American records on the first day of competition. He would set the first in the men’s S7 100-meter butterfly, touching the wall in winning fashion with a time of 1:11.01. Adding to his first win, Austin took the lanes during preliminaries by storm, setting his second American record in the 50 butterfly coming in at 29.99. Adding to his collective wins on the weekend, including gold in the men’s 4x100 freestyle relay, Austin recorded four American records and two Pan American record swims.

Leanne Smith (Salem, Massachusetts) earned Female Swimmer of the Meet honors with five American record swims for the U.S. team, including setting the American record in the women’s S4 50 freestyle three separate times throughout the course of the competition. She also recorded wins in the 50 butterfly and 200 freestyle.

Letticia Martinez (Las Cruces, New Mexico) continued the success for Team USA, downing another American record in the women’s S11 50 freestyle in a time of 32.02. She also took the 100 breaststroke and 200 medley titles in Ontario.

Newcomers Aspen Shelton (Fort Worth, Texas) and Gia Pergolini (Chattahoochee, Georgia) set the bar in one of their first international meets with Team USA, taking eight wins between the two of them. Shelton made her presence known by setting the American record in the women’s S12 100 and 400 freestyle. She added wins in the 50 and 200 freestyle and 100 breaststroke. Pergolini aided her teammate, adding first-place finishes in the S13 50, 100 and 200 freestyle,100 backstroke and 50 butterfly.

Jonathan Pierce (Torrance, California) also set three American records in the men’s S14 200 freestyle with a time of 2:13.81, the 50m butterfly at 32.33 and the 1500 freestyle, touching the wall first at 19:14.08. Samantha Tubbs (King George, Virginia) contributed the final American record of the meet in the S9 200 breaststroke with a time of 3:04.54.

“Windsor was the first big competition in the new Paralympic Quad,” said Queenie Nichols, high performance director, U.S. Paralympic Swimming. “It was great to see some of the athletes that we have been watching in the past put up some fast times.  We will be watching them carefully in the next four years.”

Additional highlights include wins from Rio Paralympic champion Michelle Konkoly (Eagleville, Pennsylvania) in the S9 50 and 100 freestyle and 50 butterfly, Paralympic medalist Tucker Dupree (Raleigh, North Carolina) in the men’s S12 50 butterfly and 100 backstroke as well as Paralympian Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colorado) in the women’s S6 100 breaststroke.

The swimming season continues for the U.S. team in Sao Paulo, Brazil with the World Para Swimming World Series from April 21-23 as they prepare for the 2017 World Para Swimming Championships in Mexico City this summer.

Full results from the three days of competition can be found at Swimming Canada.