The final day of the 2012 US Paralympic Trials wrapped up Saturday in Bismarck, North Dakota, and all that was left as the chlorine settled in the pool was the awaiting of the final announcement of the 34 men and women who would be headed to London as part of the 2012 US Paralympic Team (to be announced at 10AM Central Time on Sunday).
One swimmer who probably won’t lose too much sleep tonight wondering about her status is Jessica Long, who took down her 5th different World Record of the meet on Sunday.
In prelims, she first snapped the SM8 World Record in the women’s 200 IM with a 2:37.71; she would then blow that mark away again in finals with a 2:36.00. The old record, also belonging to her, was set last August more than two seconds slower in 2:38.15. She had a fantastic breaststroke split of 46.77 that really pulled her ahead of World Record pace – her breaststroking has really been fantastic throughout this meet.
That was one of two victories for Long on the day; she also won the S8 100 free in a 1:06.53, which is the fastest time in the world this year by a second-and-a-half.
In other IM races, Mallory Weggemann won the S7 group in 3:00.26, which ranks her 2nd in the world this year. She’s had a very up-and-down meet, with many near-world-record swims and personal bests, and then others that were more like this – 12 seconds off of her best time.
The women’s S6 race was one of the better head-to-head battles we’ve seen in this meet, with Miranda Uhl outdueling Reilly Boyt 3:28.16-3:28.71. Uhl opened up a big lead early on, though Boyt fought back on a great breaststroke leg (which is often a difference maker in the Paralympic IM’s). But Uhl had just enough to fight her off on the closing freestyle leg to take the half-second victory.
Victoria Arlen was the other World Record breaker on the third and final day of competition, by taking down her second World Record (in her first Paralympic Trials) with a 1:14.74 in the S6 100 free. This again, just like in the 400, took down a record held by Britain’s Eleanor Simmonds. That should be one of the best grudge-matches of the entire Paralympic Games.
Elizabeth Stone, in the women’s S9 100 freestyle, swam a 1:05.22 to move to 5th in the world, and Weggemann scored another number-two international ranking by winning the S8 class in 1:08.42.
Rudy Garcia-Tolson had his best swim on the final night of the meet in his specialty – the 200 IM. He won the SM7 class in 2:36.40, which puts him atop the World Rankings by three seconds.
In 2nd-place was Lantz Lamback in 2:47,59. That puts him 4th in the World Rankings this year, but it just missed being within the 2.5% of the 3rd-best time. That’s significant (it missed by less than two-tenths) because it slots the time way down in terms of Paralympic qualification.
In the men’s 100 freestyle, though, Lamback would bounce back and win in 1:03.55 in the S7 class. That time ranks him 2nd in the world, making the fractions-of-a-second in the 200 IM moot and putting him in great position for a ticket to London. Lamback, who was born with Cerebral Paulsy is gunning for his third Paralympics. He saved his best racing for last at this meet, as he wasn’t great in the 100 back either – where he’s the defending Paralympic Champion. He has already said that he will be retiring after London, so getting one last shot on the medal stand would be a fitting end to a great career.
Trey Dupree wrapped up a great meet with a 54.67 in the men’s 100 free S12 classification. That’s three-seconds slower than Maksym Veraksa of Paralympic powers the Ukraine, but it still leaves him 2nd in the world.
There was some disappointment in this men’s 100 free. Roy Perkins, the lone swimmer in the S5 classification, won in 1:22.33. However, that’s four-seconds slower than he was at a meet in Cincinatti a month ago. Luckily, he was much better in his 50 from Friday, and that ranks him 3rd in the world and gives him a better shot at London.
Full, Live Meet Results available here.