Abbas Karimi Takes First Gold as U.S. Citizen on Second Day of World Series

by Annemarie Blanco

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - In the first men’s finals event of the evening, the 50-meter butterfly S1-S7, Abbas Karimi grabbed his first win after being granted American citizenship. Karami, a native of Afghanistan, came to the United States in 2016 however has since competed as a member of Refugee Paralympic Team including the Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020. 

“It’s an honor for me to become an American citizen and winning a gold medal for the first time as a citizen is very exciting,” said Karimi. “I’m very thankful for all the people that have been helping and supporting me. It’s just unbelievable, I’m still in disbelief after nine and a half years, I finally got my citizenship and I’m just living my dream and so excited for what’s next for me.”

Karimi will next look to qualify as a member of the U.S. for the upcoming Madeira 2022 Para Swimming World Championships in Portugal as selection will occur from this event based on athletes’ three-day performances.  

Joining Karimi on the podium was Paralympian Zach Shattuck (Mt. Airy, Maryland) and Adin Williams (Portland, Oregon) who took home the second and third place finishes, respectively. In the women’s 50m butterfly S1-S7, two-time Paralympic gold medalist Elizabeth Marks (Colorado Springs, Colorado) added another international gold to her collection with three-time Paralympic gold medalist Mallory Weggemann (Eagen, Minnesota) and Paralympic medalist Julia Gaffney (Mayflower, Arkansas) taking the next two spots for a U.S. sweep. Overall, twelve Tokyo Paralympic medalists picked up a world series medal on the second night of the Indianapolis 2022 Para Swimming World Series.

For six-time Paralympic medalist McKenzie Coan (Clarksville, Georgia), the last world series was a chance for her, and many U.S. athletes, to get back into full-time training after taking a break after the Tokyo Games. Coan grabbed a bronze in the women’s 400m freestyle and 50m freestyle. 

“It feels so good to be back in the pool,” said Coan.”It’s the first big meet in 2022 but to be back in Indy, I’ve always swam fast in this pool and have really great memories here…I think this is really the first big step to Portugal so to come out here and put down a really fast time, we’re in a really hard training bracket. Everybody took some time after Tokyo to regroup and get back in the water so to get these times is a really good sign and makes me excited for the summer.”

Team USA’s Lizzi Smith (Muncie, Indiana), Lawrence Sapp (Waldorf, Maryland), Paralympic gold medalist Morgan Stickney (Cary, North Carolina) and Paralympic medalist Matthew Torres (Ansonia, Connecticut). One day after breaking two world records, Paralympian Leanne Smith was back on the podium grabbing her third gold after a win in the women’s 50m freestyle S1-13. 

Racing resumes for the third and final day of competition at the IU Natatorium beginning at 9 a.m. ET on April 9. All races are mixed class with results based on the World Para Swimming points system to create an equitable field of play among the different classes.  All sessions will be streamed live on and on the U.S. Paralympics Swimming Facebook page. For full results from the second day of competition, click here.   


Women’s 50m Butterfly S1-S7

  1. Elizabeth Marks, S6

  2. Mallory Weggemann, S7

  3. Julia Gaffney, S7

Men’s 50m Butterfly S1-S7

  1. Abbas Karimi, S5

  2. Zach Shattuck, S6

  3. Adin Williams, S7

Women’s 100m Butterfly S8-S14

  1. Lizzi Smith, S9

  2. Summer Schmit, S9

  3. Mikaela Jenkins, S10

Men’s 100m Butterfly S8-S14

  1. Lawrence Sapp, S14

  2. Parker Egbert, S14

  3. Robert Griswold, S8

Women’s 400m Freestyle S6-14

  1. Morgan Stickney, S8

  2. Anastasia Pagonis, S11

  3. McKenzie Coan, S7

Men’s 400m Freestyle S6-14

  1. Matthew Torres, S8

  2. Harrison Vig, S9

  3. Alexander Tuckfield, S10

Women’s 50m Freestyle S1-S13

  1. Leanne Smith, S3

  2. Elizabeth Marks, S6

  3. McKenzie Coan, S7

Men’s 50m Freestyle S1-S13

  1. Alberto Abarza, S2 (CHL)

  2. Jamal Hill, S9

  3. Illija Tadic, S9 (MNE)