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Roundup: Paralympic Medalists Ready To Make Big Splash In Duel In The Pool

By Alex Abrams | Aug. 04, 2022, 11:59 a.m. (ET)

Jamal Hill points at the crowd after competing at the 2022 Para Swimming World Championships in Madeira. (Photo: Ralf Kuckuck)

Every other week we scour the web for the latest going on in the world of U.S. Para swimming. Here’s what you missed!

 

Swimmers Excited For Para Debut In Duel In The Pool

Paralympians McKenzie Coan and Lizzi Smith were excited to share the good news on social media.

 

They’ll join Jamal Hill and Noah Jaffe as part of the first group of Para swimmers to compete at the Duel in the Pool in Sydney.

 

Here is U.S. Paralympics Swimming's team announcement. 

 

Started in 2003, the Duel in the Pool features top American swimmers racing against swimmers from either Australia or Europe. However, the competition has included only able-bodied athletes prior to this year’s meet, which is set for Aug. 19-21 in Sydney.



Smith, a three-time Paralympic medalist, wrote on Instagram that she was honored to be selected by U.S. Paralympics Swimming to compete at the meet.

 

It’s always an honor representing Team USA and it’s the biggest honor getting to represent the eliteness in disability sport. MAKING HISTORY,” Smith posted.



Coan, a six-time Paralympic medalist, is coming off a dominant performance in the 2022 Para Swimming World Championships held in June in Madeira, Portugal. She won world titles in the 50-, 100- and 400-meter freestyle S7 races as well as silver and bronze medals in other events.

 

“Super excited to represent @teamusa and compete alongside @usaswimming at Duel in the Pool next month in Australia,” Coan wrote on Instagram.



Hill won a bronze medal in the 50 freestyle S9 race during his Paralympic debut last summer in Tokyo. Jaffe is a rising star who qualified for the U.S. Paralympics Swimming national team last summer.

 

Another ESPY Award Surprises Long

Jessica Long didn’t expect to win another ESPY award to go with the three she took home in 2007, 2012 and 2013.

 

The 29-time Paralympic medalist admitted she even considered retiring from swimming following the Paralympic Games Rio 2016.

 

Long won an ESPY in the Best Athlete With a Disability, Women’s Sports category at the 30th ESPYS ceremony in Los Angeles on July 20.

 

Afterward, she posted a message on Instagram thanking her fans for voting for her. She also congratulated the other nominees in her category — Paralympians Oksana Masters (cycling and Nordic skiing) and Brenna Huckaby (snowboarding), and soccer player Kate Ward.

 

“Sometimes it takes years to see a dream finally come to fruition. It has been nine years since my last ESPY win,” Long wrote. “I truly thought I might never win again.

 

“I thought about quitting swimming multiple times after Rio 2016. What kept me going through to Tokyo was the thought of not letting down ‘little Jess’ and to keep pushing to bring Paralympics to the mainstream. Although we aren’t there yet, WE are on the way.”



A Return To Israel For Gelfand

David Gelfand was excited to return to Israel for the first time since he was 13 years old.

 

Gelfand is the only member of the U.S. Paralympics Swimming national team who competed in July at the Maccabiah Games, which are known as the “Jewish Olympics.”

 

“It’s always a huge honor to be representing Team USA, whether it’s at the Pan American Games, which I competed at in 2019, or whether it’s at Paralympic Trials,” Gelfand said.

 

While in Israel, Gelfand spoke to USParaSwimming.org about competing in the meet.

 

USA Swimming Recognizes ADA Day

July 26 marked the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law. The day has become known as ADA Day.

 

USA Swimming recognized the anniversary by speaking with several Para swimmers and their family members. They shared their stories and perspectives on how the swimming community can do a better job of embracing athletes with disabilities.

 

Alex Abrams

Alex Abrams has written about Olympic sports for more than 15 years, including as a reporter for major newspapers in Florida, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.