TORONTO- The ladies of Team USA struck gold on Wednesday at the CIBC Aquatics Center in Toronto. In the last races of the competition for Haley Beranbaum (Snohomish, Washington) and Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota), both swimmers landed themselves at the top of the podium to close out the 2015 Parapan American Games. Team USA won a total of four medals during the day’s competition, raising the U.S. medal count at the pool to 29.
Weggemann swam past her competitors in the women’s 100-meter freestyle S8 resetting her own Parapan American record, previously broken in the preliminary session earlier that morning (1:12.90), after finishing the race in 1:10.02. The win marks the fifth overall podium appearance for the star swimmer giving her a grand total of two gold, two silver and one bronze.
“It was an incredible race,” Weggemann said. “It’s one of my best times since the London 2012 [Paralympic] Games. It’s been a long time coming, and being here at the Parapan Am Games, this is my last race so it was quite a wait to finish. I kind of had my eyes set on it but you still need to go out and do the race and see what’s possible.”
“My whole matter of coming into these Parapan Am Games has been about redefining limitations. The Paralympic movement is all about showcasing amazing abilities and so for me, one of my goals over the past year and a half and suffering from an arm injury has been to continuously find ways to redefine the limitations and push past them and see what is possible and I think that at this meet coming home with a bronze, two silver and two golds, I can say that I did that,” added Weggemann.
Rising superstar Haley Beranbaum also won her fifth medal of the games after beating out her fellow racers in 56.36 in the women’s 50 backstroke S5. Beranbaum finally nabbed her first gold medal of the competition to add to her two silver and two bronze medals from earlier in the week.
“That felt really good,” said Beranbaum. “I had some great competitors pushing me, especially the two Brazilians in my peripheral, so I just thought you gotta keep going. It was also a really good time for me, either right on my best or a little bit faster.”
Anna Johannes (Colorado Springs, Colorado) also increased her medal count with a second place finish in the women’s 100 backstroke S9 after a time of 1:18.69. Nelya Schasfoort (Avon Lake, Ohio) won her first medal of the competition, silver, in the women’s 50 butterfly S7, finishing the race in 38.13.
“Wow, I was expecting third and then I got silver,” Schasfoort exclaimed. “I felt amazing coming into the race; my coaches and I worked on my kicks to speed up my time and I got there. It was a little bumpy at the end because I started coughing up water, but I worked right through it and I dropped six seconds this morning then two seconds this afternoon. It’s amazing and I made the emerging time this morning and then the national B team timetonight.”
Swimming competitions for the 2015 Parapan American Games will conclude on Friday, August 13 beginning at9 a.m. EST with live streaming available here. Head over to TeamUSA.org/ParapanAm for sizzling snapshots, medal counts and updates straight from Toronto.
Swimming news courtesy of USOC.