Story courtesy of U.S. Deaf Swimming
COIMBRA, Portugal – The underdog United States National Deaf swimming teams put together a remarkable week’s worth of records and best times at the 3rd World Deaf Swimming Championships, August 6-13, to capture the overall team trophy and edge out the heavily favored squad from Russia.
“No person in their right mind, except the American swimmers themselves, believed the U.S. team had a chance to win this world championship,” said U.S. national head coach Bill Snape, who also coaches the Gallaudet University men’s and women’s swim teams. “Considering that our U.S. swimmers won more medals at this meet than at the last several combined, this trophy and title is akin to the U.S. men’s hockey triumph at the 1980 Winter Olympics. America should be very proud of these outstanding athletes.”
Leading the way was Swimmer of the Meet Marcus Titus from Arizona. The dominant Titus won five individual gold medals and one individual bronze, and was instrumental in the U.S. men garnering silver and two bronzes during the relay events. Titus is a 2012 Olympic hopeful in the breaststroke events and broke deaf world records in the 50 meter breast (27.74), 50 meter free (23.46) and the 100 free (51.42) in Coimbra. He also broke numerous championship meet and American deaf records. Perhaps his most dramatic performance was anchoring the 800 freestyle relay where he made up one-half of a pool length to edge out the stunned Great Britain relay. His individual 50 and 100 breaststroke times and wins put him among the very elite swimmers of the world for 2011.
“Marcus Titus is testimony to the reality that the top deaf swimmers are as good as the top hearing swimmers across the globe. These world championships were very competitive in all events and Marcus led the way. He is a remarkable young man, and both he and his team are not finished achieving greatness,” said Snape.
Also outstanding in the world championship meet for the U.S. were Peggy Liang, an incoming freshman at the University of Hawaii, and Rebecca Meyers, a rising high school junior in Maryland. Meyers dominated the middle and long distance freestyle events with three individual gold medals, breaking two championship meet records in the process. Liang won three gold medals, one silver and two bronzes. Along with Samantha Elam from California and Kristin Ates from Tulane University, Meyers and Liang helped the American females win the 800 Free Relay and break the deaf world record with a time of 8:49.55.
“Watch out for these swimmers in the 2013 Deaflympics,” said Snape. “The Americans have tasted victory and now are focused on continued improvement. This could be the beginning of a historic run of American swimming triumphs. I believe what sets us apart is the spirit, determination and camaraderie of this U.S. team.”
In addition to Titus, Meyers, Liang, Ates, and Elam, mentioned above, the U.S. team consisted of Brian Bennett from Colorado, Jessica Weeden from Wisconsin, Abby McAlpin from Texas, Scott Farrell and Scott Matchett from New York, Catherine Parker from Idaho, Will Landgren from Illinois, Donald Everton-Lovell from Virginia, Sydney Bello and Jazmin Hernandez from California, David Tolstyka from Michigan, Kenneth Freeman and Edward Freeman from Kentucky and Thomas Osborn from Arizona. All these athletes are also members of USA Swimming and the United States of America Deaf Sports Federation. The director of USDS is Dale Parker, a former Deaflympian and Division III All-American from the University of Mary Washington.
For more information on U.S. Deaf swimming please visit its website www.unitedstatesdeafswimming.org.