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Kennedy wins Pan Am gold as part of winning 4×100 mixed relay team

American Margo Geer erased a deficit of 0.61 seconds in the final 100 meters to help Team USA win the 4×100 mixed relay Wednesday night at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru. (Photo by Hector Vivas / Lima 2019)

Avon native Madison Kennedy won her first gold medal at the Pan American Games in Lima, Peru on Wednesday at the Aquatics Center in the National Sports Village. She was part of the American’s winning team in the 4×100 mixed relay.

It was the third Pan American Games medal for Kennedy, who won a bronze in the 50 free in 2011 and a silver medal in the 4×100 women’s freestyle relay in 2015.

Avon native Madison Kennedy.

Kennedy didn’t swim in the final. She swam in the preliminary round to help the Americans qualify for the finals. Team USA coaches put in four new swimmers in the final.

The Americans never led in the final until the final 25 meters. Anchor leg swimmer Margo Geer hit the water for her 100 meter leg and was 0.61 of a second behind Brazil’s Etiene Medeiros. Geer was 0.38 of a second behind with 50 meters to go.

Just as she did on Tuesday night, Geer surged down the stretch to help the Americans win a gold medal. Her time of 53.09 helped the Americans win the 4×100 mixed relay by 1.13 seconds over Brazil with a time of 3:24.84. Brazil (3:25.97) finished second with Mexico (3:31.36) taking the bronze medal.

On Tuesday night, Geer came from behind on the final leg to help the United States win the 4×100 women’s freestyle relay, beating Brazil by 0.40 of a second.

Michael Chadwick swam the lead off leg for the Americans and was third, 0.18 out of first place. Nathan Adrain, who is making a comeback after two cancer surgeries this year, moved the Americans into second place. Claire Rasmus, who won a gold medal in the 200 freestyle earlier in the evening by 0.06 of a second over U.S. teammate Meaghan Rabb, swam the third leg and kept the U.S. in position for a win.

It was the second medal of the meet for Adrain, who swam on the American’s 4×100 men’s freestyle relay that won a silver medal on Tuesday night. “It feels good. That was exciting in there [at the Centro Acuatico], there was a lot of energy,” he said. “A lot of countries were having their chants and their songs and all that fun stuff. I really enjoy doing that.”

Kennedy’s specialty is the 50 meter freestyle, which she will swim on Friday. She is the third seed in the race with her seed time of 24.87 seconds.

But she got a chance to help the American team in the preliminary round of the 4×100 mixed relay. Kennedy swam well and the Americans had the lead when she completed the third leg of the race. Ali Deloof swam the anchor leg. Andrew Abruzzo and Charlie Swanson also swam in the preliminary round for Team USA.

Team USA won its preliminary heat and had the second fastest time after qualifying of 3:33.52.

Gerry deSimas, Jr., is the editor and founder of The Collinsville Press. He is an award-winning writer and has been covering sports in Connecticut and New England for more than 30 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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