Alyssa Gialamas poses with her gold medal at the Parapan American Games Lima 2019 on Aug. 25, 2019 in Lima, Peru.
LIMA - Veteran Alyssa Gialamas and newcomer Matt Tores led Team USA to eight medals at the pool and added their names to the history books with Parapan American records on the first day of swimming competition at the Parapan American Games in Lima, Peru.
Three Highlights from the pool
Golden Record for Gialamas - In her first major international competition since the Paralympic Games Rio 2016, Alyssa Gialamas (Naperville, Illinois) set a Parapan American record in her signature event, the women’s 50-meter backstroke S5.
Double Dipping - Team USA athletes were joined by their teammates on the podium in multiple events. In the morning session, Matt Torres (Ansonia, Connecticut) won gold in the men’s 100 breast S8 in his Parapan debut. He was joined by his teammate Joseph Peppersack (Hopewell, Pennsylvania) in silver. In the afternoon session, Lizzi Smith (Muncie, Indiana) won gold and set a Parapan American record, with Natalie Sims (Minneapolis, Minnesota) close behind in the bronze-medal position in the women’s 100 fly S9.
Relay Comeback - In the mixed 4x100 free relay 49pts. The U.S. team was trailing in third place at the start of the final leg. But Team USA’s Carson Sanocki (Charlotte, North Carolina) unleashed a furious pace to close the more than 9-second gap on the second-place. When the first-place team from Brazil was disqualified for an illegal exchange, the U.S. team moved up to take the gold.
Team USA Results
8 medals (4 gold, 1 silver, 3 bronze)
Gold (4): Matt Torres (Ansonia, Conn.) men’s 100 breast S8 (1:10.70); Alyssa Gialamas (Naperville, Ill.) women’s 50 back S5 (47.65); Lizzi Smith (Muncie, Ind.) women’s 100 fly S9 (1:08.79); Mixed 4x100 free relay: McClain Hermes (Dacula, Ga), Ross Minor (St. Augustine, Fla.), Aspen Shelton (Willow Park, Texas), Carson Sanocki (Charlotte, North Carolina) (4:33.99)
Silver (1): Joseph Peppersack (Hopewell, PA.) - men’s 100 breast S8 (1:13.53)
Bronze (3): McClain Hermes (Dacula, Ga.) - women’s 100 back S11 (1:32.80); Carson Sanocki (Charlotte, N.C.) men’s 100 free S13 (57.53); Natalie Sims (Minneapolis, Minn.) women’s 100 fly S9 (1:13.10)
“It felt really good to do a first race and get it out of the way before the relay tonight. My main event is tomorrow so it’s nice to swim and get the jitters out before the other races that I’m competing in, to practice tapping and racing. It’s always nice to get on the podium but gold is what I’m shooting for, so we’ll see what happens over the next few days."
“I am so excited, Rio was the last international competition I competed in, so to come back and first day knock out my best event was awesome. I’m really happy with it. It means the world to me to medal today. I’ve come really close to medaling at the Paralympic Games before, and I think this is a great stepping stone in order to be able to say, ‘this is what it feels like to win,” and to be able to ride that high when training gets rough.”
“This is the best swimming has ever felt for me. It is the first time I’ve really felt like I’m swimming for me. It’s not like when I was a kid and dropped off at practice. And I’m seeing the benefits of that, of choosing swimming every day.”
What To Watch
Action resumes tomorrow with Gialamas, Hermes, Minor, Sanocki and Smith returning to the pool to seek their second gold medal in as many days. Several other swimmers will begin their quest for Parapan American medals, including Paralympians Hannah Aspden (Charlotte, North Carolina) and Leslie Cichocki (Palos Hills, Illinois).
Coverage of the 2019 U.S. Parapan American Team can be found at TeamUSA.org/Parapan2019. Visit TeamUSA.org/USADaily to sign up to receive the USA Daily, a digital news blast that provides Team USA results and highlights each night via email during the Games.