Sept. 15, 2008
BEIJING, China - Former Auburn swimmer Dave Denniston nearly picked up his first Paralympic medal Monday as he swam as part of the fourth-place 4x50-meter medley relay in Beijing, China.
Denniston, who was a 15-time All-American for the Auburn swimming and diving team and a three-time NCAA individual champion from 1997-2001, swam the breaststroke leg for the United States in the relay. He clocked a 50.81 split in the 50m breast to keep the U.S. in first place at the half-way point.
The Americans slipped to eighth after the butterfly leg, but were able to catch up to fourth after the freestyle to clock a total time of 2:43.00.
Also swimming on the relay were Lantz Lamback (freestyle, 36.13), Roy Perkins (butterfly, 56.41) and Joe McCarthy (freestyle, 19.65).
China took the gold medal in the relay, setting a new world record with a time of 2:33.15. Brazil followed in second with a time of 2:39.31 while Spain rounded out the medal winners in third with a time of 2:40.38.
The United States was the top seed entering the final after taking first in the preliminary with a time of 2:46.20. Denniston also swam the breaststroke in the prelim, putting the U.S. in first place following his split time of 49.74. Lamback, Perkins and McCarthy also made up the relay team with Denniston in the prelim.
Taking place at the National Aquatics Center in Beijing, China, the 2008 Paralympics started on Sept. 6 and runs through Sept. 17.
Paralympians are classified in 10 different levels for athletes with physical disabilities, ranging from S1 (severely disabled) to S10 (minimally disabled). Denniston competes at the S5 level in the backstroke and butterfly, and the S4 level in the breaststroke.
The 4x50m relay was the fourth and final event for Denniston at the 2008 Paralympics. Denniston started the week in the 50m backstroke, finishing 14th overall with a time of 53.07. He also swam in the 50m butterfly and 100m breaststroke, taking ninth in both with times of 45.89 and 1:53.23, respectively.
For more information on the Paralympic Games, check out the official Web site at http://en.paralympic.beijing2008.cn/.