Retired U.S. Navy Lt. Brad Snyder of Baltimore won his fourth title of the Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships in Pasadena, Calif., winning the men's 100-meter freestyle S11 on Friday, the third day of competition at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center.
But the two-time 2012 Paralympic gold medalist, competing at a major international event for the first time since the Paralympic Games, later suffered his first defeat in the meet at the hands Japan's Keiichi Kimura and U.S. teammate Tharon Drake (Hobbs, N.M.), placing third in the men's 100 breaststroke.
"Tharon is one of the young swimmers who makes me really excited for the next two years," Snyder, a team captain, said in a news release on teamusa.org. "We have a lot of really talented up-and-coming swimmers in this program and I'm just excited, honored really, to be a part of this experience with them. The young swimmers are really going to make everything leading up to Rio really exciting."
Drake, 21, is a resident athlete at the U.S. Olympic Training Center. In the morning prelim, he set the American record in the event, swimming 1 minute, 13.98 seconds. He swam 1:15.78 in the final, behind Kimura's 1:14.39. Snyder swam 1:21.15.
"This morning in the preliminary, I had a great swim, it was very smooth," Drake said. "Tonight in the final, I added some time with a 1:15.78. It felt smooth but in the first 50, I got off and hit the lane rope. But in the second 50, I felt great. I was coming back hard but I just wasn't there at the beginning. I can't be disappointed whatsoever. I'm happy with the swim overall."
An alternate for the 2012 U.S. Paralympic Team, Drake had complications with routine vaccinations at age 14, resulting in severe memory loss and permanent loss of eyesight.
Jessica Long of Baltimore won the silver medal in the women's 100 backstroke S8.
Ian Silverman of Baltimore won the bronze medal in the men's 100 freestyle S10.