Anastasia Pagonis Breaks American Record in S11 500 Yard Freestyle

2020 MR Swim the Distance Time Trial

  • November 21, 2020
  • Stony Brook School, Stony Brook, NY
  • Course: SCY
  • Results on Meet Mobile: “2020 MR Swim the Distance Time Trial”

16-year-old Anastasia “Tas” Pagonis has broken the American record in the S11 500 yard freestyle. Her time of 5:52.45 shattered the previous mark, which stood at a 6:37.37 set by McClain Hermes in 2019. 

Compared to Hermes, Pagonis took a much more aggressive approach from the beginning of the race, splitting a 1:05.63 on the first 100. From there, Pagonis clearly out-split her in order to knock over 30 seconds off of the record. 

Split Comparison: Hermes v. Pagonis 

Swimmer Pagonis Hermes
1:05.63 1:15.12
1:11.53 1:20.94
1:12.19 1:20.85
1:12.04 1:21.68
1:11.06 1:18.78
Total: 5:52.45 6:37.37

This marks Pagonis’ first American record following her transition to para swimming when she lost her vision from Stargardt’s disease at the age of 14. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Stargardt’s disease is a form of macular degeneration that causes vision loss in children and young adults. 

Pagonis also recently posted an Instagram story showing her demolishing the 200 yard freestyle American record during practice. However, the time was unofficial so it will not be counted. 

In her international para-swimming debut at the WPS World Series back in February, Pagonis made waves, winning the 400 free with a time of 5:18.12 and the 200 IM, posting a 2:54.23. She also came in 4th in the 50 free and 5th in the 200 free. 

Following that performance and her recent strides in the short course pool, Pagonis is favored to make the US Paralympic Team for the 2021 Paralympic Games in Tokyo, which are set to take place August 24, 2021 through September 5, 2021. The Paralympic trials are currently slated to occur from June 17-20, 2021 in Minneapolis. 

Pagonis recently appeared on the SwimSwam podcast, discussing her transition to living and training at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs along with the struggles she faced losing her vision at a young age.


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1 year ago

I just watched her podcast interview – that was so inspiring! I had the privilege of training with two Paralympians during my career, and it was an incredible experience.

About Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller

Nicole has been with SwimSwam since April 2020, as both a reporter and social media contributor. Prior to joining the SwimSwam platform, Nicole also managed a successful Instagram platform, amassing over 20,000 followers. Currently, Nicole is pursuing her B.S. in Biomedical Engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. After competing for the swim …

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