Sept. 12, 2008
BEIJING - Yale Junior Deb Gruen took bronze in the women's 100m breaststroke at the Paralympic Games in Beijing on Friday. Gruen finished the race in 1:44.00 only 2.13 seconds behind the world record holder, Elizabeth Johnson of Great Britain, and only 1.61 seconds behind the Paralympic record holder, Sarah Bowen of Australia. Gruen set not only a personal record, but an American record with her time.
Gruen, who went 1:46.7 in the heats, had only the fourth fastest time coming into the night final.
"I wasn't expecting to medal," said Gruen. "While this morning didn't go as well as I wanted, tonight was exactly right. This is the start of my whole Beijing experience. My coaches are at Yale, and I share this with them, with Yale, with my family and with Team USA."
Gruen was not the only American swimmer on the podium tonight. Jessica Long took home gold in the 400m freestyle while smashing her own world record by five seconds. The story of the day, though, was broken records. Elizabeth Stone of Grand Rapids, Mich. dropped 16 seconds from her qualifying time to finish fourth in the 400m freestyle. Kelley Becherer of Sheboygan, Wis. set a personal record in the women's 200m IM, while Tucker Dupree of Raleigh, N.C. set a personal record in the men's 100m freestyle. Stone and Dupree join Gruen in also setting American records.
"Getting the bronze is so exciting," said Gruen. "I'm thrilled. I'm excited. I'm exuberant. I'm any adjective you can think of to describe being on top of the world."
Gruen will continue her time in Beijing, following the Paralympic Games, with a semester at Peking University through Yale's Honors Program.
Report filed by Charles Moore `10, Yale Sports Publicity