Meyers sets record in S13 100 fly; Long 2nd in S8 400 free
RIO DE JANEIRO — Becca Meyers of Timonium won gold in historic fashion by setting a world record in the women’s S13 100-meter butterfly with a time of 1 minute, 3.25 seconds on Thursday, the first day of competition at the Paralympics.
Meyers, 21, a student at Franklin & Marshall, topped the previous mark of 1:04.98 held by Muslima Odilova of Uzbekistan, who took silver. The gold medal is the first of Meyers’ career; she won a silver and a bronze medal at the London games, her Paralympics debut.
“It feels so amazing,” Meyers said. “I am so excited to win the first gold medal for U.S. Paralympics Swimming, and we are going to kill it for the rest of the week. I can’t wait to see what everyone else does.”
Jessica Long of Baltimore opened her fourth Paralympic Games with a silver medal in the women’s S8 400-meter freestyle — the 18th Paralympic medal of her career. She has 12 gold, four silver and two bronze medals. Long touched the wall at 4:47.82, trailing only Lakeisha Patterson of Australia, who finished in 4:40.33, breaking Long’s previous world record of 4:40.44.
“I wish it went a little differently,” Long said. “I think the only hard part about that is adding time in one of my best races. But at the same time, I’ve overcome some really bad shoulder injuries. So I’m really proud that I finished, and even signed up for the race.”
Patterson embraced Long on the medal stand. Long smiled, accepted the hug and lifted Patterson off her feet.
“Jess is an amazing person and a really great, fierce competitor,” Patterson said. “She’s achieved so much. To be able to have my idol come up to me and say she’s proud of me — it was really quite bittersweet. And that’s going to stick with mefor a long time.”
McKenzie Coan of Clarkesville, Ga., and Cortney Jordan of Henderson, Nev., who train together in Baltimore, finished fifth and seventh, respectively, in the women’s S7 100-meter backstroke. Coan reached the wall in 1:25.17 and Jordan in 1:25.95.
Baltimorean Jessica Long, facing camera, embraces Lakeisha Patterson of Australia after finishing second in the women’s S8 400-meter freestyle in Rio de Janeiro.