Team USA was off to a great start on day one, as they finished 4th at the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria.
Despite poor pool conditions and a bit of an adjustment, the Americans were pleased with their first-day haul, despite this being a meet where they aren’t always dominant.
Matthew Klotz, who is a high school senior and a highly-rated college prospect, kicked things off with a Meet Record in the 100 meter backstroke with a 59.63 to lead off team USA’s 400 medley relay. That broke the 1997 Record set by John Kealy, though Klotz is still two-tenths of a second short of Kealy’s Deaf World Record.
The American team of Klotz, Kenneth Freeman, Jake Hammack, and Scott Farrell wound up 4th in that medley relay, behind the winners from Russia.
The first medal for the Americans came in the women’s 400 free, where Sam Elam won in 4:43.44. That race was won by China’s Yue Yue He in 4:34.45.
A very fast men’s 200 free was won by Russia’s Vitaly Obotin in 1:54.32, just over a second shy of Terrance Parkin’s Meet Record. Klotz was 8th in that race in 1:59.
Russia kept rolling with a 31.28 in the 50 backstroke from Alena Alexeeva, before China finished with wins in the men’s 50 breast and women’s 200 fly.