Tokyo stars Griswold, Aspden, Egbert shine on night one of 2021 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships

by Kristen Gowdy

GREENSBORO, N.C. – What has already been a triumphant year for Team USA’s Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey), Parker Egbert (Greenwood, South Carolina) and Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina) continued on the first night of the 2021 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships, presented by Toyota. The trio lead the medal haul on the opening day of finals at the Greensboro Aquatic Center as Aspden ended the evening with three medals while Griswold and Egbert each clinched two golds.  


All races at the meet are mixed class, and results are based on the World Para Swimming points system to create an equitable field of play among the different classes.  


Aspden, an S9 athlete who had a breakout Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020, won the women’s 50m butterfly and helped her mixed relay 4x100m freestyle team with a win to close out the evening. Aspden has local ties to North Carolina as a student at the Queens College in Charlotte and hails from Raleigh.  


Griswold returns to the pool for the first time since breaking an S8 world record and winning two Paralympic gold medals. In his first competitive swim since the Tokyo Games, he picked up where he left off, earning gold in the men’s 50m butterfly and the men’s 50m backstroke.  


"I'm pretty stoked about it, I took a lot of the fall [season] to train to get my mind and body ready and we started ramping up training in the last few weeks," said Griswold. "It's nice to be back and be racing with all the [next generation of competitors] again." 


The 18-year-old Egbert made his Paralympic debut in Tokyo and won both of his races to open his national championships campaign. Egbert swam a quick 4:34.74 in the men’s 400m freestyle and followed that with a 1:02.1 in the men’s 100m butterfly.    


Six-time Paralympic medalist McKenzie Coan (Clarkesville, Georgia) starred in the women’s 400m freestyle and teamed with Aspden, Matthew Torres (Norwalk, Connecticut) and Drennan Shall (Charlotte, North Carolina) in the mixed relay. Coan’s two golds come on the heels of the two medals she won in Tokyo. Fellow Paralympian McClain Hermes (Dacula, Georgia) took silver in the women’s 400m freestyle, while Cali Prochaska (Fort Wayne, Indiana) earned her first of two bronze medals on the day.  


"That was my first 400 free since the finals in Tokyo," said Coan. "To go out and get a little more racing experience for the year, it was fun and swimming out there with my teammates was awesome."


In a stacked field, S6 swimmer Elizabeth Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado), who earned three medals in Tokyo, won the women’s 50m backstroke, followed by Aspden and two-time Paralympic medalist Julia Gaffney (Mayflower, Arkansas). William Rankine (Warner Robins, Georgia) won the men’s 200m breaststroke while fellow SB12 athlete Evan Wilkerson (Rolesville, North Carolina) and SB9 swimmer Emmett Martin (Canton, Michigan) took silver and bronze, respectively.  


George Fox University swimmer and national team athlete Adin Williams (Portland, Oregon) had a strong showing taking silver behind Egbert in the men’s 400m freestyle, and combining with Jack O’Neil (Colorado Springs, Colorado), Abby Gase (Tontogany, Ohio) and Maria Francescotti (Liverpool, New York) for bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay.  


Other American athletes who medaled include 2020 Paralympic bronze medalist Jamal Hill (Inglewood, California), who earned the bronze in the men’s 50m backstroke, 14-year-old Rachel Keehn (Carrollton, GA), who took silver in the women’s 200m breaststroke and 17-year-old Noah Jaffe (Carlsbad, California), who nabbed bronze in the men’s 400m freestyle. The team of 27-time Paralympic medalist Jessica Long (Baltimore, Maryland), Hannah Sloan (Westminster, Maryland), Yaseen El-Demerdash (Overland Park, Kansas) and Stephen Machak (Pompton Plains, New Jersey) for silver in the 4x100 freestyle relay.  


A host of international athletes also made their way to Greensboro to test their skills against Team USA with Costa Rica’s Camila Haas Quiros, Canadian athletes Danielle Dorris, Nicolas Turbide, Angela Marina, EmmaGrace Van Dyk, Jagdev Gill and Tess Routliffee, as well as Abbas Karimi of the Paralympic Refugee Team all came away with medals on the opening day of competition.   


Racing resumes with preliminary heats tomorrow morning (Dec. 18) at 9 a.m. EST. All sessions will be streamed live on and on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Facebook page. For full results from day one of competition, click here.   




Women’s 200m Breaststroke 

  1. Camila Haase Quiros, SB8 (Costa Rica) 
  2. Rachel Keehn, SB9 


Men’s 200m Breaststroke 

  1. William Rankine, SB12 
  2. Evan Wilkerson, SB12 
  3. Emmett Martin, SB9 


Women’s 400m Freestyle 

  1. McKenzie Coan, S7 
  2. McClain Hermes, S11 
  3. Cali Prochaska, S9 


Men’s 400m Freestyle 

  1. Parker Egbert, S14 
  2. Adin Williams, S7 
  3. Noah Jaffe, S9 


Women’s 50m Backstroke 

  1. Elizabeth Marks, S6 
  2. Hannah Aspden, S9 
  3. Julia Gaffney, S7 


Men’s 50m Backstroke 

  1. Robert Griswold, S8 
  2. Nicolas Turbide, S13 (Canada) 
  3. Jamal Hill, S9 


Women’s 100m Butterfly 

  1. Angela Marina, S14 (Canada) 
  2. EmmaGrace Van Dyk, S14 (Canada)  
  3. Cali Prochaska, S9 


Women’s 50m Butterfly 

  1. Hannah Aspden, S9 
  2. Danielle Dorris, S7 (Canada) 
  3. Tess Routliffee, S7 (Canada) 


Men’s 50m Butterfly 

  1. Robert Griswold, S8 
  2. Abbas Karimi, S5 (Refugee Paralympic Team) 
  3. Jagdev Gill, S10 (Canada) 


Mixed 4x100m Freestyle Relay 

  1. Matthew Torres, McKenzie Coan, Hannah Aspden, Drennan Shall 
  2. Jessica Long, Hannah Sloan, Yaseen El-Demerdash, Stephen Machak 
  3. Adin Williams, Jack O’Neil, Abby Gase, Maria Francescotti