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Leanne Smith And Sophia Herzog Break World Records To Start 2020

By Cady Lowery | Jan. 19, 2020, 8:24 p.m. (ET)

Sophia Herzog broke her 2017 world record in the women's 1500 free S6 at the Jimi Flowers Classic on Jan. 19, 2020. 


COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. – Leanne Smith (Salem, Massachusetts) and Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colorado) started 2020 in record-breaking fashion by setting world records at the 11th annual Jimi Flowers Classic. Smith also swam to four American records, while 15 total records were set at the meet held on Jan. 18 and 19 at the United States Olympic & Paralympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Rewriting history - Smith’s record-breaking performance in the women’s 100-meter breaststroke SB3 broke the almost 21-year-old record. Smith added four Pan American and American records to her resume when she won the women’s 50 freestyle, 100 backstroke S3 and 50 breast SB3. 

Going the distance - In her final race of the meet, Herzog broke her own world record in the women’s 1,500 free S6, which she last set three years ago. She added multiple first-place finishes, including winning the women’s 50 breast SB6 and 100 free S6.

Record breakers - In addition to Smith and Herzog’s accomplishments, six American swimmers etched their names in the Pan American and American record books. Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland), no stranger to titles, broke the men’s 50 breast SB14, 50 free and 100 free S14, while newest OPTC resident David Gelfand (Westin, Connecticut) broke the Pan American record in the men’s 400 IM SM9. 

Liam Smith (Rockford, Michigan) is the new Pan American record holder for the 200 breast SB7, while teammate Carson Sanocki (Charlotte, North Carolina) claimed the Pan American top spot for the men’s 50 breast SB13. Yaseen El-Demerdash (Overland Park, Kansas) rounds out the record-breakers by setting the American record in the men’s 200 breast SB9.

The Jimi Flowers Classic served as the conclusion to the first national team camp of the year for Team USA. 

Record-breaking results from Jan. 18 and 19:

World Records: Sophia Herzog (Fairplay, Colo.), 1500 free S6 (25:07.19); Leanne Smith (Salem, Mass.), 100 breast SB3 (2:09.30)

Pan American Records: David Gelfand (Weston, Conn.) 400 IM SM9 (05:25.30); Liam Smith (Rockford, Mich.), 200 breast SB7 (03:15.50); Leanne Smith (Salem, Mass.), 50 free S3 (42.96), 100 back S3 (2:05.35), 50 breast SB3 (57.18), 100 free S3 (1:31.01); Carson Sanocki (Charlotte, N.C.), 50 breast SB13 (32.47) 

American Records: Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Md.), 50 breast SB14 (34.98), 50 free S14 (25.39), 100 free S14 (55.76); Leanne Smith (Salem, Mass.), 50 free S3 (42.96), 100 back S3 (2:05.35), 50 breast SB3 (57.18), 100 free S3 (1:31.01); Yaseen El-Demerdash (Overland Park, Ks.). 200 breast SB9 (02:53.55)


Leanne Smith

“Setting 11 records across five events this weekend is mind-boggling. It’s the first meet of the year, and the expectation is not necessarily to post best times. This meet was my first time swimming both the 100 back and 100 breast, which was part of a challenge my coach put out to our team. Little did I know that I would be rolling away breaking a world record that has stood for the past 21 years. It’s Exciting to be able to start a games year off this way and I am looking forward to getting back to training and preparing for trials in a few months.”

Lawrence Sapp 

“I had really great form over the weekend, which is what I had been working on at our camp this week. It’s the first race of the year, so that was important to me. Setting a couple American records this weekend was also cool, and I’ll keep getting better.”


David Gelfand

“The Jimi Flowers Classic is such an incredible meet every year,  and I really enjoyed racing this weekend. I had a lot of great races, but was very surprised and excited to break my first Pan American record. The 400 IM at altitude is extremely challenging, so I’m really excited for where I am now and where I’m going to be at trials this summer.”



Full results from the Jimi Flowers Classic can be found here. Follow U.S. Paralympics on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

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