Albert Subirats Takes Gold After Earning Suspension Reprieve

The Americans were rarely the ones on center stage at the Pan Am Games, moreso today than in any other session so far in this meet. But there were two Meet Records broken, and an ever-so-sweet comeback from Albert Subirats to at least mitigate some of the disappointment from a tumultuous summer.

Men’s 50 free

Cesar Cielo was gunning for the all-time textile best in the men’s 50 free, and though he didn’t quite get there, his 21.58 was a new Pan American Games Record; it broke his own mart set at 21.84 in 2007. That time was a touch slower than his gold-medal winning performance in Shanghai, but it was the 2nd-best time in the world this season.

In 2nd was his countrymate Bruno Fratus in 22.05. This s a nice recovery swim for him after he was battling what is believed to be a bout of tonsillitis earlier in the meet. Cuba’s Hanser Garcia took the bronze in 22.15, which is his 2nd surprise medal of the meet and moves him into the top-25 in the World this year. Garcia has really joined the world-wide sprint party in a big way at this meet, and this 50 cut 6-tenths off of his career-best time. He’s still about half-a-second away from where he needs to be in this race to win a medal at the Olympics, but in the 100 (where he took a silver earlier) he’s well within striking distance of an Olympic final. If he were successful, it would be Cuba’s first Olympic final since 1996, and only the 6th ever.

The top American finisher was William Copeland in 22.30, which was only .04 behind his time from Nationals for the best of his career. As a result of this race, the American men went medal-less through the 50, 100, and 200 freestyles.

Full event results.

Women’s 200 breaststroke

Texas A&M’s Ashley McGregor took a big win in the 200 breaststroke in 2:28.04, which is the 2nd-best time of her career. She actually trailed American Haley Spencer but then threw down a hammer of a closing 50 (she negative-split her last three lengths) to win handily. Spencer took silver in 2:29.30, which is pretty good given the level of rest that Minnesota seemed to give their swimmers before this meet.

Michelle McKeehan also split her race pretty well to take bronze in 2:30.51, ahead of Jamaican Alia Atkinson, the 2010 NCAA Champion in this event, and Canadian Hanna Pierse.

Full event results.

Men’s 100 fly 

Venezuela’s Albert Subirats has had a frustrating 2011 season. After a missed-connection between his federation and FINA caused him to thrice file his whereabouts for drug testing, Subirats received a 1-year suspension that cost him a World Championships appearance as a result, and though it was later repealed, that was little consolation to the swimmer who was a medal hopeful.

Subirats, however, unleashed his frustration on this 100 fly, which he won in 52.37. That time ranks him 22nd in the world this year and had to bring some level of satisfaction and redemption to him (remember that the Pan Am Games are a huge deal in Latin America, so this gold might have been worth just as much as a World Championships bronze).

The silver medal went to the USA’s Eugene Godsoe in 52.67. That misses his best time of the season (which is just behind Subirats at 23rd in the world), but after a very good summer it continues his momentum towards the Olympic Games. The other American, Chris Brady, was the fastest to the turn, but slipped on the back-half to finish in bronze-medal position in 52.95. 200 freestyle runner-up Shaune Fraser finished in 52.96 to just miss the podium and his second medal.

Full event results.

Women’s 200 backstroke

After prelims, it was pretty clear that Liz Pelton was going to break Teresa Crippen’s 200 backstroke record. The question became by how much. Her 2:08.99 crushed the old mark from 2007 (2:10.57) and gave her a second medal of the meet.

The top high school recruit in the class of 2012, Bonnie Brandon, who will be headed to Arizona took the silver medal in 2:12.57. Mexico’s Fernanda Gonzalez took the bronze in 2:13.56, which was well clear of Guam’s Gisela Morales.

Full event results.

Medal Table

Venezuela’s gold from Subirats lept them up the medal table ahead of the Cayman Islands on the strength of 6 bronzes. The American men are still stuck on 4 golds for the meet, with the women carrying the load at 12, with the 6 won in 2007 (including open water) as the target.

Medal table
Place CON Oro Plata Bronce Total
1 Estados Unidos de América 16 17 6 39
2 Brasil 8 7 5 20
3 Venezuela 1 1 6 8
4 Islas Caimán 1 1 1 3
5 Canadá 1 0 2 3
6 Chile 1 0 1 2
7 Cuba 0 1 1 2
8 Jamaica 0 1 0 1
9 México 0 0 4 4
10 Argentina 0 0 1 1
  Paraguay 0 0 1 1

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About Braden Keith

Braden Keith

Braden Keith is the Editor-in-Chief and a co-founder of He first got his feet wet by building The Swimmers' Circle beginning in January 2010, and now comes to SwimSwam to use that experience and help build a new leader in the sport of swimming. Aside from his life on the InterWet, …

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