Reproduced, with permission, from the United States Paralympic Committee. Written by Jamie Blanchard. To read more about the 14 best moments from 2014, click here.
From the slopes of Sochi, Russia, to the dance floor of Los Angeles, to the pavement of New York, 2014 was a thrilling year for the Paralympic Movement as Team USA athletes set the standard on and off the field of play. Records were broken. Legacies were made. And 2014 became the year to remember in the Paralympic Movement. From Dec. 15-28, USParalympics.org will unveil the Top 14 moments of 2014 for U.S. Paralympics in chronological order.
Records are meant to be broken.
Team USA’s Ian Silverman smashed a nearly 13-year-old world record in the men’s 400-meter freestyle S10 race on Aug. 6, highlighting Day 1 of the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Pasadena, California. During the first day of action at Rose Bowl Aquatics Center, the U.S. team won 27 medals, including six from the sweep of the women’s 50m free S9 and S13 races, but no performance was more impressive than Silverman’s.
“It’s a huge accomplishment to break a world record,” Silverman said. “I really can’t even put it into words what it means to finally get that one. I’ve been close to it before, really close, and I am really happy to start my week with that world record. That’s the one I wanted.”
Silverman, a Baltimore native who will swim at the University of Southern California this fall, won the same event at the London 2012 Paralympic Games, only months after learning about Paralympic sport. “That world record has been a monkey on my back since I just missed it in London,” said Silverman, who now holds four world records including the men’s 800m free, the men’s 1500m free and the men’s 400m individual medley.
When Canada’s Philippe Gagnon swam the previous world record (4:04.20) in the men’s 400m S10 on Aug. 7, 2001, Silverman was only 5. He swam a 4:03.57 today.
“There have been so many great swimmers to swim that race and this record has held the test of time,” Silverman said. “To be the one to finally break it, it’s a huge honor.”
Silverman was joined on the podium by Canada’s Alec Elliott, who swam 4:16.61, and Team USA’s Dalton Herendeen (South Bend, Indiana), who swam a 4:20.75.
It was just the start of an incredible meet for Silverman, who joined the able-bodied NCAA Division I swim team at the University of Southern California this fall. He set American records in the men’s 100m butterfly S10 (58.19) and men’s 200m individual medley (2:13.77). In total, he won seven medals (one gold, two silver and four bronze) from Aug. 6-10.