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Team USA on Monday announced the Paralympic swim team for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, a group of 24 women and 10 men that includes five-time Paralympians Jessica Long and Rudy Garcia-Tolson.
The selection follows the three-day Paralympic Team Trials at the University of Minnesota’s Jean J. Freeman Aquatic Center.
Long first competed in the 2004 Athens Paralympics at the age of 12. Long has won 23 Paralympics medals including 13 gold medals, the second most decorated American Paralympist in history.
“I don’t know if satisfied (with the results) is the right word just because I knew I wasn’t rested or would be rejuvenated, ”said Long after completing a six-swim program at trials. “We did a kind of drop taper, a very small break, so of course I would have liked to swim faster, but last week I had a whole week of training. Most of all, I think I’m a veteran so I know when to perform under pressure in a very, very large Paralympic setting and I’m really looking forward to that. That assignment was to make the team fast and swim, and I feel like I did. I did what I had to do. But in Tokyo I shine under pressure. ”
Malory Weggman, McKenzie Coan, Becca Meyers and Colleen Young are all for Team USA for a third game. Weggemann, a native of Eagan, Minnesota, enjoyed trials near her home. She is the reigning world champion in S7 50 free and 50 fly.
Coan won the 100 and 400 free in Rio and at the last world championships. She is chasing the S7 world record in both.
“I think my teammates and my coach are so sick of hearing me talk about it because I literally just think about it,” said Coan. “It’s all I talk about, it’s all I think about. I’ve dreamed of this for so long. But it was nice to have the best time. I have the feeling that I keep picking on it. ”
Meyers, like Long from Baltimore, won three gold medals in Rio. Young has a bronze medal from Rio.
Ellie Marks will try to defend her gold medal from Rio in her second games. She is supported by Hannah Aspden, Sophia Herzog, Lizzi Smith, Martha Ruether, McClain Hermes, Cailin Currie and Natalie Sims as a two-time Olympic Games for women. Eleven women and seven men are making their Paralympic debut.
That leaves only three vets on the men’s side, but they are excellent. Garcia-Tolson has won five medals in his four previous games, competing in track and field in 2012. Evan Austin, the reigning 50 butterfly world champion, is at his third Paralympic Games. Robert Griswold would like to build on his bronze at the 100 after his debut in Rio.