Who won 8 gold medals in the last Olympics? Phelps? Nope. Jacqueline Freney of Australia accomplished the feat with a gold in the 400 medley relay Friday. Freney’s come-from-behind anchor swim edged out the team from Great Britain by just .12. The U.S. took bronze.This marks the end of competition for Freney, who has already competed (and earned gold) in the 400 free relay, 50/100/400 free, 50 fly, 100 back, and 200 IM.
The big story of the day for the United States came when Brad Snyder, a former Navy Lieutenant who lost his eyesight in Afghanistan exactly a year ago, won the men’s S11 400 free to earn the U.S. its 13th gold of the meet. Snyder lit up the American media today, bringing perhaps more attention to the Paralympics than they’ve ever gotten in this country. That includes this fantastic interview on NPR, where he discusses how after his injury he got back in the water because it helped him get his confidence back.
Friday’s competition was also marked by other impressive swims, highlighted by six world records. In the women’s S12 50 free, Russia’s Oxana Savchenko broke the world record with a time of 26.90. Three world records fell in the 50 fly events, broken by Oksana Khrul of Ukraine and China’s Xu Qing in the S6 event and Brazil’s Daniel Dias in the men’s S5. Xia Jiangbo of China broke the record in the women’s S3 50 free. In the women’s SM13 200 IM, Canada’s Valerie Grand-Maison won gold with a record-breaking time of 2:27.64.
Competition continues Saturday, beginning with the men’s SB9 100 breast.
Classification guide can be found here.