Leanne Smith Smashes Double World Record Times on First Night of Indianapolis World Series
by Annemarie Blanco
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - Paralympic silver medalist Leanne Smith (Salem, Massachusetts) made a fiery return to the pool in her first major competition since the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 grabbing two world records on night one of the Indianapolis 2022 Para Swimming World Series. Smith began the night clocking in a new world record of 1:29.83 in the 100-meter freestyle S3, the same event to which she won her first Paralympic medal. There was no break for Smith who took home a second world record just minutes later with a time of 3:15.85 in the women’s 200m freestyle S3, an event she broke an American record in during the morning preliminaries.
“I’m feeling pretty good,” said Smith. “I was definitely not expecting that today so it was really nice to get the nerves out of the way and come away with two world records at the end of the day. I’m training through this event and training short course so I wasn’t sure how my short course would transition to long course but based on today’s results, I’m really confident that my training is transitioning well.”
Fellow U.S. Paralympic medalists Elizabeth Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado) and Anastasia Pagonis (Long Island, New York) grabbed the second and third place finishes in the women’s 100m freestyle, respectively. In the men’s 100m freestyle, three-time Paralympic medalist Robert Griswold (Freehold, New Jersey) took a first-place finish with Noah Jaffe (Carlsbad, California) and Paralympic bronze medalist Jamal Hill (Inglewood, California) rounding out the podium. Six other Americans grabbed podium appearances with Colleen Young (St. Louis, Missouri) and Sophia Herzog (Colorado Springs, Colorado) picking up gold and silver respectively in the women’s 100m breaststroke. The men’s 100m breaststroke saw three U.S. athletes take medals with Morgan Ray (St. Augustine, Florida) finishing first, David Abrahams (Havertown, Pennsylvania) second and Rudy Garcia-Tolson (Colorado Springs, Colorado) rounding out with a third place. Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland) was the sole American medalist in the men’s 200m freestyle.
“I’m feeling good, excited to be here and around all the Paralympic athletes again,” said Pagnois. “It’s nice to be back. It’s hard [coming back since Tokyo], getting back into it is difficult. For me personally, since competing in Tokyo, everything seems more relaxed for me now so I don’t have all the stress of everything. I’m just happy to be here and happy to be able to swim.”
Over 120 athletes from 10 nations including 80 U.S. competitors have come to Indiana for the final world series of the 2022 season as athletes look to qualify for the upcoming Madeira 2022 Para Swimming World Championships. For many, the three-day event is the first major international competition since the Tokyo Games. The world series runs from April 7-9 at the IU Natatorium with races being mixed class, and results based on the World Para Swimming points system to create an equitable field of play among the different classes.
Racing resumes on Friday, April 8 with preliminary heats beginning at 9 a.m. EST. All sessions will be streamed live on USParaSwimming.org/live-stream and on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Facebook page. For full results from day one of competition, click here.
Women’s 100m Freestyle S1-14
Leanne Smith, S3 - WORLD RECORD
Elizabeth Marks, S6
Anastasia Pagnois, S11
Men’s 100m Freestyle S1-14
Robert Griswold, S8
Noah Jaffe, S9
Jamal Hill, S9
Women’s 100m Breaststroke S4-14
Colleen Young, S13
Sophia Herong, S6
Gabriella Smith (NZL), SB9
Men’s 100m Breaststroke S4-14
Morgan Ray, S6
David Abrahams, S13
Rudy Garcia-Tolson, SB6
Women’s 200m Freestyle S1-14
Leanne Smith, S3 - WORLD RECORD
Men’s 200m Freestyle S1-14
Alberto Abarza (CHL), S2
Lawrence Sapp, S14
Alejandro Alvarado (MEX), S14