U.S. Paralympics Swi... Features Evan Austin snags do...

Evan Austin snags double gold on second day of Lewisville 2021 Para Swimming World Series

By Kristen Gowdy | April 16, 2021, 11:50 p.m. (ET)

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Double gold medals from Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) and 12 broken records between the preliminary heats and finals set the tone for Team USA as the team nabbed 14 medals on the penultimate day of the Lewisville 2021 Para Swimming World Series

Austin took gold in what he says is his favorite event, the 50m butterfly, then followed it up with an impressive win in the men’s 400m freestyle race. Austin set both the 200m and the 400m American record in the finals of the event. Teammate Matthew Torres (Ansonia, Connecticut) earned bronze in the same event. 

Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland), Morgan Stickney (Cary, North Carolina) and Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) all claimed gold medals in their events. Sapp followed yesterday’s silver in the men’s 200m freestyle with a victory in the men’s 100m butterfly. He will look for a triple podium appearance in three days in tomorrow’s 200m individual medley. 

Stickney, a relative newcomer to the sport, said her gold medal was a rewarding outcome after two years of adversity. She began her Para career with full use of her right leg, but was reclassified to S8 after the leg was amputated following diagnosis of a rare vascular disease. This was her first meet competing in her new class as a double amputee, and she swam an impressive 4:43.70 in the women’s 400m freestyle final. 

Anastasia Pagonis (Long Island, New York) set the S11 women’s 400m freestyle American record in her preliminary swim this morning, then smashed her own record by more than five seconds in the final. In the process, she also set the S11 women’s 200m freestyle American record based on her split time. The 17-year-old has set three national records in two days, something she said she never expected to do coming into the meet. 

Julia Gaffney (Mayflower, Arkansas) and Lizzi Smith (Austin, Texas) both earned their first medals of the weekend, adding two silvers to Team USA’s count. Gaffney’s came in the women’s 50m butterfly, while Smith earned the silver in the women’s 100m butterfly. 

McKenzie Coan (Clarksville, Georgia) followed up on yesterday’s gold-medal performance with a bronze in the women’s 400m freestyle, completing a Team USA sweep of the event. 23-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland), Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Ariz.), Gia Pergolini (Roswell, Georgia) and Torres each earned their first medals of the weekend..The trio each grabbed bronze to bring Team USA’s medal total to 14 for the day and 24 total. In a mixed-class event, medalists were determined across classes by total World Para Swimming points rather than finish times, making the podium finishes even more impressive.

Competition concludes tomorrow with the meet’s third and final day. Preliminary heats begin at 9 a.m. CST and finals begin at 5 p.m. CST. All races will be live streamed on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Facebook Page and on USParaSwimming.org. 

 

TEAM USA MEDALS – DAY 2

GOLD:

Evan Austin (men’s400m freestyle)

Evan Austin (men’s50butterfly)

Lawrence Sapp (men’s100m butterfly)

- Morgan Stickney (women’s 400m freestyle)

Mallory Weggemann (women’s 50butterfly)

SILVER:

Julia Gaffney (women’s 50m butterfly)

Anastasia Pagonis (women’s 400m freestyle)

- Anastasia Pagonis (women’s 50m freestyle)

Lizzi Smith (women’s 100m butterfly)

BRONZE:

McKenzie Coan (women’s 400m freestyle)

- Jessica Long (women’s 100m butterfly)

- Elizabeth Marks (women’s 50m butterfly)

- Gia Pergolini (women’s 50m free)

- Matthew Torres (men’s 400m freestyle)

QUOTES

Evan Austin (on returning to competition)

It’s awesome. It’s been really great to reconnect with teammates that I haven’t seen in over a year. That’s probably the best part,  having this community back together and the ability to race. To see where we’re at right now in a Paralympic year is a really good test for everyone, so hopefully we can build on this momentum and move forward.

Morgan Stickney

It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve been working so hard this past year, and to see all ofmy hard work pay off, it’s amazing. I’m looking forward to getting more experience, I’m new to all of this, and just having fun, that’s why I do the sport. 

Anastasia Pagonis

I was expecting to go out and do the best that I could do, and I ended up doing better than I wanted, so I’m really happy. It’s so different racing against people you’re supposed to be racing against instead of able-bodied people. It gives you this boost of confidence, so I just love it. I feel so free in the pool.

Lawrence Sapp (on his 200m butterfly)

I’m very happy. I was a little tired in the last 50, but I just kept persevering. I’m  doing the best I can, keeping up what I’m doing, and doing what I’m supposed to do. I feel good, I feel like this final race was better than this morning.

FULL RESULTS

For full results from the 2021 Lewisville Para Swimming World Series, please visit https://www.teamusa.org/usparaswimming/results.

SOCIAL MEDIA

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Please contact Kristen Gowdy at Kristen.gowdy@usopc.org for photo and footage requests.