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Avon’s Madison Kennedy wins bronze medal at Pan Am Games

From left, silver medalist Margo Geer of the United States, gold medalist Etiene Medeiros of Brazil and bronze medalist Madison Kennedy of the United States after the 50 meter final Friday night at the Pan American Games in Peru. (Photo by Hector Vivas / Lima 2019)

Avon native Madison Kennedy won a bronze medal in the women’s 50 meter freestyle swimming at Friday night’s Pan American Games in Lima, Peru.

Kennedy, 31, took third place with a time of 25.14 seconds – 0.02 of a second off her best time of the season. As the race concluded, Kennedy was gaining on American Margo Geer, who finished second with a time of 25.03 seconds.

The best finish of the race came from Brazilian swimmer Etiene Medeiros, who won the gold medal with a time of 24.88 seconds. Four years ago in Toronto, Medeiros was second behind Arianna Vanderpool-Wallace of the Bahamas, who set a new Pan-Am record with a winning time of 24.31 seconds.

Here in Peru, Medeiros surged in the final 15 meters to secure the victory.

Chasing down Geer helped Kennedy down the stretch. “She’s the only reason I picked it up,” Kennedy said. “I was like ‘This feels good’ and then Margo. I could see her and I thought, ‘I have to go.’”

It was the second individual medal for Kennedy at the Pan Am Games. She also won a bronze medal eight years ago in the 50 free in Guadalajara, Mexico.

“It’s so cool,” she said. “I’m older so you need to be proud of being relevant during a time of fast swimmers.”

Kennedy came into the meet seeded third and was the top swimmer after the qualifying rounds with a time of 25.46 seconds.

Kennedy won a gold medal earlier in the meet after swimming in the preliminary round for the Americans in the 4×100 mixed relay.

In her career, Kennedy has swum for the United States three times in the Pan American Games and she has earned two individual medals and two relay medals. She was on the American team that finished second in the 4×100 women’s freestyle relay in Toronto in 2015.

American swimmer Madison Kennedy, who grew up in Avon, finished third in the women’s 50 meter freestyle at the Pan American Games in Peru. (Photo by Hector Vivas / Lima 2019)

In the men’s 50 meter freestyle, Brazil’s Bruno Fratus won a gold medal with a time of 21.31 seconds. Last month, he was second in the 50 free at the world championships. Taking second at the Pan-Am Games in Peru was American Nathan Adrian with a time of 21.87 seconds.

Fratus, 30, was thrilled. “I’m so happy with my result,” he said. “I feel like the gold medal has been waiting for me since Toronto 2015 [when he took silver].”

And how would the Pan Am Games champions celebrate? “I’ve got no plans to celebrate. I’ve been away a month and I just want to kiss my wife right now,” Fratus said.

Adrian was happy with his time of 21.8 seconds and pleased to just be competing. He underwent two surgeries earlier this year for testicular cancer.

“I’m happy with a 21.8 [21.87],” Adrian said. “My speed’s going to come back…soon, hopefully. I need to get in the weights room again, start getting really strong.”

He brought home silver medals in the 50 meter and 100 meter freestyle events. He swam on the winning 4×100 mixed relay team.

“I don’t know what I expected (from competing here),” Adrian said. “I probably put the least amount of expectation on this than any other meet ever.

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 40 years. He was inducted into the New England High School Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2018.

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