U.S. Swimmer Madden Wins Gold in 400 Free at Pan American Games

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SANTIAGO, Chile — Paige Madden, the 23-year-old Olympic swimmer from Alabama, broke the 400-meter freestyle record of the Pan American Games to win the gold medal on Saturday and boost the United States to the top of the medal chart in Chile on the first day of competition.

Near the end of the day, the U.S. had nine gold medals out of the 20 medals its athletes had won. Mexico had five gold medals, with Brazil and Canada next with four each.

Madden’s new record in the biggest multi-sports event of the Americas is 4 minutes, 06.45 seconds, topping the mark set by Canada’s Emily Overholt at the games in Toronto in 2015 by almost two seconds.

Madden, a silver medalist in the 4×200 freestyle relay at the Tokyo Olympics, is expected to earn more medals for the U.S next year in Paris.

The U.S. won four gold medals in the pool on Saturday, and it could have been more if it weren’t for Brazil’s and Canada’s 4×100 meter freestyle relay teams, men’s and women’s, respectively.

Canada’s victory gave swimmer Maggie Mac Neil, one of the stars of the games in Chile, her first gold, with more likely to come in her remaining six events. The Canadians beat the U.S. team by 0.67 seconds.

The 23-year-old China-born Mac Neil earned a gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics.

Mexican divers and Olympic medalists Gabriela Agúndez and Alejandra Orozco made a 1-2 in the 10-meter platform to confirm their regional dominance in the sport.

Mexico had a special celebration for the gold medal of shooter Edson Ramirez. He also secured a spot at the Paris Olympics in the men’s 10-meter air rifle event. Four years ago in Lima, he took the Pan American Games’ silver medal.

Brazil won two of its gold medals of the first day in skateboarding, men’s and women’s event. The 15-year-old sensation Rayssa Leal dominated her rivals in the morning and 24-year-old Lucas Rabelo, returning from an ACL injury in his left knee, reached the top in Santiago. It was the sport’s debut in the games.

Once a sports powerhouse, Cuba only secured one medal on Saturday. Weightlifter Arley Calderón lifted 154 kilograms (339 pounds) in his first attempt to beat his rivals in the 61kg division.

Source : ESPN