Digest: Medal-winners Snyder, Coan break records at Rio Paralympics

Brad Snyder, a former Navy swim team captain who was blinded in Afghanistan in 2011, set an American record in the S11 100 backstroke and shared the silver medal on the second day of competition at the Paralympics on Friday in Rio de Janeiro. Snyder, who lives in Canton and trains with coach Brian Loeffler at Loyola Maryland, finished in 1 minute, 8.28 seconds, tying Poland's Wojciech Makowski. Ukraine's Dmytro Zalevskyi won in 1:06.66. The previous American record of 1:09.23 was set by John Morgan 24 years earlier to the day. Snyder, a freestyle specialist, will compete today in the 400 free, where he's the defending gold medalist. The 100 backstroke "is evidence my work is paying off. Same basic race strategy, same distance, same stroke as London [in 2012] and that is three seconds faster. I'm very happy to come away with a medal in that event, an 'off event.'" Snyder shaved off his bushy red beard just before the first race, indicating that he meant business at the games. "In the U.S. our NHL players grow them as their playoff beards, their warrior beards, like 'we're getting together as a team, working towards the Stanley Cup'. For me that beard was 'I'm working towards Rio' and every day I felt that beard it was like 'I'm a warrior today' in practice. "Well no more warrior in practice, I am here to race."

Women: Loyola Maryland junior McKenzie Coan claimed her first gold medal for Team USA, setting a Paralympic record in the S7 50-meter freestyle. Coan, from Clarksville, Ga., finished in a Paralympic-record 32.57 seconds in the morning preliminary, then bettered that time in the final, touching first in 32.42. "I am so excited for my first major medal to be gold. It is absolutely insane," she said. "Me and my coach have been working on sprints all the time. Every single day we do something off the blocks fast and that really gave me the confidence to go out there knowing I could do that. My body goes on autopilot and I don't have to think about it."


Snyder credited Coan indirectly for providing him with some extra motivation. "I had to thank my teammate McKenzie Coan for winning her race because my pump-up music in the call room was the national anthem. ... I am really excited and jazzed." Germany's Denise Grahl won silver in the 50 freestyle in 33.16, and Great Britain's Susannah Rodgers took bronze in 33.26. Cortney Jordan, who graduated from Loyola with a master's degree in 2016 and trains under Loeffler, finished fourth in 33.33.

... Jessica Long of Baltimore earned her 19th overall Paralympic individual medal with a bronze in the S8 100m butterfly, tying her with Erin Popovich for second all-time in U.S. women's history. Trischa Zorn is the U.S. and all-time Paralympic Games medal leader with 46 total, including 32 gold, nine silver and five bronze medals. Long finished in 1:10.53. Ukraine's Kateryna Istomina won in 1:09.04, and Great Britain's Stephanie Slater was second in 1:10.32.


Et cetera

T. McFadden second in 100 wheelchair; sister fourth

U.S. wheelchair racer Tatyana McFadden was aiming to win seven gold medals in Rio, in every event from the 100 meters to the marathon. Her bid for the unprecedented feat didn't make it past her first final, in the 100. Liu Wenjun of China broke ahead at the start and won Friday in 16 seconds. McFadden, an Atholton alumnus from Clarksville, closed hard over the final 40 meters, but finished second in 16.13. Li Yingjie, also of China, took the bronze. Hannah McFadden, Tatyana's sister, was fourth in 16:34. "This is one of my hardest races because I'm going from the 100 to the marathon, and so to really focus on this race is quite difficult because I'm going against girls who just do the [100 meters] and the [400 meters] and I knew it was going to be tough because you have team China, who is amazing at the 1 and the 4," Tatyana McFadden said. "I had a bad start, but my execution was amazing and I really just raced with my heart and took in emotions from the crowd." Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, with spina bifida that left her paralyzed below the waist, McFadden started using a wheelchair at age 6, after being adopted by an American woman, Deborah McFadden. The 27-year-old McFadden graduated from Illinois, where she joined the wheelchair basketball and wheelchair track teams, making her Paralympic debut in 2004. With this silver, McFadden is a 12-time medalist. Since winning three golds at the 2012 London Paralympics, McFadden had won every race in which she had competed until Friday. Her 20-win streak included three consecutive wheelchair marathon grand slams, and a sweep of the International Paralympic Committee world championship in all six of her individual events, becoming the first woman to accomplish the feat. McFadden won bronze in the 100 in London and silver in Athens in 2004. "With this silver I'm still happy, because in London I got bronze. I'm moving up in the ranks," she said. "I know I can do the next couple races, so I just have to stay relaxed stay calm and really just believe in myself."

Lacrosse: US Lacrosse will celebrate the opening of its national headquarters in Sparks today and Sunday. The festivities include the National Lacrosse Hall of Fame induction ceremony today and a lacrosse tripleheader Sunday at William G. Tierney Field featuring the U.S. men's national team, the women's national team and a matchup between the Fire Department of the City of New York and the New York City Police Department. Before the FDNY-NYPD game, the 9/11 Memorial next to Tierney Field will be dedicated. More than 60 individuals connected to the sport of lacrosse died in the terrorist attacks. For times, ticket information and more details, go to

Laurel Park: Boppin Rocket rallied from off the pace to capture the featured eighth race Friday on opening day of Laurel Park's fall meet. Making her 10th career start and first outside her native West Virginia, the 4-year-old Officer Rocket filly gained the lead after turning for home and held off Scip's Sonata approaching the wire to win the $45,000 optional claiming allowance by a neck. The winning time was 1:11.89 over a fast main track. Andalusite ranged up on Dattt Melody in midstretch and surged past in the final sixteenth to capture Friday's co-featured sixth race, a $42,000 allowance for 3-year-olds and up on the All Along Turf Course. ... There will be carryovers in the 20-cent Rainbow 6, 50-cent Late Pick 5 and $1 Super Hi-5 wagers to go along with six stakes worth $575,000 in purses that highlights today's 11-race Laurel Turf Festival program. First race post time is 1:10 p.m.

WNBA: Breanna Stewart and Sue Bird scored 17 points apiece and the visiting Seattle Storm beat the Washington Mystics, 81-76, in a showdown between teams battling for the final playoff spot. The Storm (14-17) won its third straight on the road to move into a tie for seventh place with the Phoenix Mercury, 1 1/2 games in front of the Mystics (12-18) in the chase for the final playoff spot. Ramu Tokashiki, who had 13 points, scored Seattle's first seven points of the fourth quarter to close a 16-1 run that put the Storm up 70-61. The Mystics scored the next eight, the first six by Natasha Cloud, who started her college career at Maryland, to make it a one-point game. Jewell Loyd's step-back 20-footer with 2:05 left made it 79-76 for the Storm and both teams missed several chances before Loyd's two free throws with less than a second remaining iced it. Stewart had 10 rebounds, and the Storm had a 36-26 advantage on the boards. Bird had nine assists and seven rebounds. Emma Messeman led Washington, which scored 118 points in a win over the Chicago Sky on Wednesday night, with 15 points.

Men's college soccer: Senior defender Alex Crognale scored in the 87th minute to give No. 5 Maryland (3-0-2) a 1-1 draw at No. 4 Indiana (3-0-2) in the Big Ten Conference opener.

Men's college basketball: Stephen Stewart, who played at Coppin State from 2001 to 2004, was named an assistant coach at his alma mater. Stewart last coached at Delaware from 2006 to 2010 and previously was at Loyola College in 2005-06 and Albany in 2004-05. His coaching career began at Coppin State in 2001.


From Sun staff and news services