2021 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships conclude in Greensboro

by Kristen Gowdy

Elizabeth Marks competes in freestyle. (Photo: Joey Kirkman)

GREENSBORO, NORTH CAROLINA – Elizabeth Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado) set a new American record and Matthew Torres (Ansonia, Connecticut) took home the Swimmer of the Meet honors as the 2021 U.S. Paralympics Swimming National Championships, presented by Toyota, wrapped up with a third and final day in Greensboro, North Carolina.


Torres helped his mixed relay 4x100 individual medley team to a silver in the meet’s final race, but it was his men’s 1500m S8 world record yesterday that propelled him to the award. Torres, a Paralympic bronze medalist in Tokyo, was also part of a team that won the mixed relay 4x100 freestyle race on Friday night.


Marks, meanwhile, finished the championships on a high note, collecting her third and fourth golds of the meet in a big way. In the morning session, the U.S. Army SFC collected an American record in the 200m backstroke over Tokyo teammates Hannah Aspden (Raleigh, North Carolina) and Julia Gaffney (Mayflower, Arkansas), to claim her third gold before taking home one final win in the women’s 100m freestyle over second-place finisher Makayla Nietzel (Crystal Lake, Illinois) and bronze medalist Taylor Surfus (Crownsville, Maryland).


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.  


In the men’s 100m freestyle, Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey), who shone on the first night of competition, took the gold, followed by Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland) and Noah Jaffe (Encinitas, California). Griswold ended his meet with four golds and a silver, having also teamed up with Abby Gase (Tontogany, Ohio), Cali Prochaska (Fort Wayne, Indiana) and 11-year-old Drennan Shall (Charlotte, North Carolina) for a win in the mixed relay 4x100 individual medley tonight.

Sapp, meanwhile, finished his meet with a silver and two bronzes.


“It was a tiring meet, it was hard,” Sapp said. “It’s been a long time, and my legs were tired toward the end. I haven’t been training long course as much since Tokyo, just short course, so I wanted to go out and just race. I was happy with how I swam, I wanted to use this to get ready for next year.”


The men’s 100m backstroke competition went to S14 athlete Parker Egbert (Greenwood, South Carolina). Egbert also had a stellar meet, earning four medals, three of which were gold. Stephen Machak (Pompton Plains, N.J.) took the silver behind Egbert.


Adin Williams (Portland, Oregon) continued his successful nationals campaign as well, winning the men’s 200m freestyle as an S7 athlete. Canadian Tyson MacDonald and Carson Bruner (Dayton, Ohio) took silver and bronze, respectively.


In the men’s 200m individual medley, Canadians Zach Zona and Felix Cowan took the top two spots. Jaffe finished in the bronze medal position for his second medal of the night and would later earn silver in the mixed relay 4x100 individual medley.


Canadians Angela Marina and EmmaGrace Van Dyck were first and second in the women’s 200m freestyle, with Prochaska representing Team USA on the podium in third. Prochaska ended her meet with six medals, including a gold in tonight’s relay.  


Griswold, Prochaska, Gase and Shall won the relay to conclude the evening, and were followed closely by silver medalists Torres, Meredith Koch (Boston, Massachusetts), Jaffe and Maria Francescotti (Hilton Head, South Carolina). The team of Cody McCasland (Keller, Texas), Sarah Bofinger (Frederick, Maryland), Jamal Hill (Inglewood, California) and Hannah Sloan (Westminster, Maryland) finished with the bronze.


For full results from day three of competition, click here. With the culmination of nationals, the 2021 slate of competition is now complete for U.S. Para swimmers. The national team will compete in a series of world cups in 2022 as it prepares for the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in June.


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Women’s 100m Freestyle

1.Elizabeth Marks, S6

2.Makayla Nietzel, S13

3.Taylor Surfus, S10


Men’s 100m Freestyle

1.Robert Griswold, S8

2.Lawrence Sapp, S14

3.Noah Jaffe, S9


Women’s 200m Individual Medley

1.Angela Marina, SM14 (Canada)

2.Arianna Hunsicker, SM10 (Canada)

3.Cali Prochaska, SM9


Men’s 200m Individual Medley

1.Zach Zona, SM8 (Canada)

2.Felix Cowan, SM8 (Canada)

3.Noah Jaffe, SM9


Women’s 150m Individual Medley

1.Aly Van Wyck-Smart, SM3 (Canada)


Women’s 200m Backstroke

1.Elizabeth Marks, S6

2.Hannah Aspden, S9

3.Julia Gaffney, S7


Men’s 200m Backstroke

1.Parker Egbert, S14

2.Stephen Machak, S6


Women’s 200m Freestyle

1.Angela Marina, S14 (Canada)

2.EmmaGrace Van Dyk, S14 (Canada)

3.Cali Prochaska, S9


Men’s 200m Freestyle

1.Adin Williams, S7

2.Tyson MacDonald, S14

3.Carson Bruner, S9


Mixed 4x100 Individual Medley Relay

1.Robert Griswold/Cali Prochaska/Abby Gase/Drennan Shall

2.Matthew Torres/Meredith Koch/Noah Jaffe/Maria Francescotti

3.Cody McCasland/Sarah Bofinger/Hannah Sloan/Jamal Hill