Team USA sweeps two events to cap Lewisville 2021 Para Swimming World Series

by Kristen Gowdy

Jessica Long competes in the 200m individual medley. (Photo: Alan Beane)

LEWISVILLE, Texas — Team USA swept the women’s 200m individual medley and the women’s 100m backstroke to conclude a stellar weekend in Lewisville that saw the Americans earn 35 medals over the course of the three-day meet. 

23-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland) and Paralympic champion Mallory Weggemann (Eagan, Minnesota) took the women’s 200m individual medley down to the wire and tied for gold, each accumulating the same number of World Para Swimming points based on their times respective to their classes. Long competes in the SM8 class while Weggemann is a SM7 swimmer. In a mixed-class event, medalists are determined across classes by total WPS points rather than finish times

Julia Gaffney (Mayflower, Arkansas) completed the Team USA sweep of the event with a bronze medal. It is Gaffney’s second medal of the meet as she looks to qualify for her first Paralympic team. 

The women’s 100m backstroke saw similar results, as the Americans rewrote history en route to a podium sweep. After breaking the American and Americas record for the event in prelims, Elizabeth Marks (Prescott Valley, Arizona) put together a strong finals swim to take the gold. Teammates Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Gia Pergolini (Roswell, Georgia) accounted for Team USA’s second tie of the day. Both took silver, and Pergolini set the Americas record in her finals swim. 

Evan Austin (Terre Haute, Indiana) continued his unbeaten streak, adding gold in the men’s 200m individual medley and completing a hat trick of victories over the last two days of competition. Leanne Smith (Salem, Massachusetts) also earned her second and third medal of the weekend, winning the women’s 150m individual medley and taking silver in the women’s 50m backstroke. 

Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey) and Parker Egbert (Greenwood, South Carolina) each earned their first medal of the weekend in the men’s 100m backstroke finale. Griswold took second and Egbert had one of his best swims to earn the bronze. 

Team USA will next compete at the U.S. Paralympic Swimming Team Trials in June in Minneapolis. From that meet, the Paralympic team heading to the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be determined. 


Evan Austin (men’s 200m individual medley) 
- Jessica Long (women’s 200m individual medley)
Elizabeth Marks (women’s 100m backstroke
- Leanne Smith (women’s 150m individual medley)
- Mallory Weggemann (women’s 200m individual medley)

Hannah Aspden (women’s 100m backstroke)
- Robert Griswold (men’s 100m backstroke) 
- Gia Pergolini (womens 100m backstroke) 
- Leanne Smith (women’s 50m backstroke)

Parker Egbert (men’s 100m backstroke)
- Julia Gaffney (women’s 200m individual medley)


Jessica Long
“It’s definitely been a challenging year, but it’s been such a year for growth. I’m so thankful for all of the support that I’ve had. I’m just thankful to be swimming and for my entire support system.”

Gia Pergolini
“It was so great to see everyone again, and I felt great in the pool. Getting used to the long course again was a little bit rough, but I got into it.

(on what she’s excited about for this summer)
I’m really excited to hopefully break the 100m backstroke world record this summer, and just to see everyone again. I want to get better in the water and hopefully make it to Tokyo.

Leanne Smith
“I’m feeling grateful that we were able to have the meet, and for the staff coming together and pulling off the opportunity for us to come together and swim. To go out there and pick up where I left off and get some good pointers to go back and work on before Trials was exciting.”


For full results from the Lewisville2021 Para Swimming World Series, please visit


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Please contact Kristen Gowdy at for photo and footage requests.