Led by Olympic medalist Paige Madden, the United States confirmed its dominance in continental swimming by winning four gold medals on Saturday on the first day of the sport at the Pan American Games.
Within the logic of this competition, other continental powers Brazil and Canada escorted the Americans with two gold medals each in the recently inaugurated Aquatic Center of the National Stadium, where the Venezuelan Alfonso Mestre, the Mexicans María Mata Cocco and Miguel Lara and Argentina. Macarena Ceballos also climbed the podium.
Madden, a silver medalist at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics in the 4×200 freestyle relay, won the 400-meter freestyle in 4:06.45 to break the Pan American record. His compatriot Dakota Luther was crowned in the 200 meter butterfly by defeating Mexican María Mata Cocco by 28 tenths.
Mata Cocco’s medal stands amid conflict between the National Commission of Physical Culture and Sports (CONADE) and World Aquatics – the world governing body – which ignored Kiril Todorov as president of the Mexican swimming federation and appointed a commission to hold the bag election. This dispute has an impact on financial support for water athletes.
His compatriot Lara won bronze in the 100 meters breaststroke — his second Pan American medal — a race where American Jacob Foster was crowned. Mason Laur won the fourth gold for the US delegation in the men’s 200-meter butterfly.
The United States is the top medalist in Pan American swimming with 44 golds.
Brazil started the dispute with Guilherme Costa’s gold in the 400 meters, followed by Venezuelan Alfonso Mestre — son of Alberto, a four-time Pan American medalist — and the victory in the 4×100 free relay.
Canadians Rachel Nicol and Sophie Angus went 1-2 in the 100 breast. In her third Pan American Games, Argentina’s Macarena Ceballos won her first medal at the age of 28, bronze in the 100 breaststroke.
Canada also claimed victory in the women’s 4×100 freestyle relay, in which Olympic champion Maggie Mac Neil played a key role. Mac Neil, the winner of the 100 butterfly at the Tokyo Olympic event, pushed the Canadian team from third to first place by registering a time of 3 minutes and 37.75 seconds, beating the United States team by 67 hundredths. Brazil took the bronze with a time of 3:39.94