Former Fairfield University swimmer Colleen Young wins silver in the 200-meter Individual Medley at the 2020 Paralympics

Colleen Young, a 2020 Fairfield graduate, won the silver medal in the 200-meter SM13 Individual Medley with a time of 2:26.80 seconds on Monday, earning her second career Paralympic medal. She previously won the bronze in 2016 in the 100 backstroke.

“I feel so ecstatic,” Young told US Swimming following the final. “I really worked on the individual medley over the past year, and I am really happy it paid off.”

Despite reaching the first 50-meter mark in fourth place during Monday’s final in Tokyo, Young quickly found momentum and placed herself third at the halfway point (in 1:10.31) to begin the breaststroke leg, her strongest of the four swims, in position to medal.

Young, in lane five, then passed Uzbekistan’s Shokhsanamkhon Toshpulatova just a few meters before the 150-meter turn to get into second place, which she kept through the final 50 meters to finish five seconds behind gold medalist Carlotta Gilli from Italy. Gilli set a world record with her first-place time of 2:21.44.

Prior to Tokyo, the 23-year-old swam with the Stags from 2016-2020 and holds eight school records, along with being a seven-time MAAC Champion. At age 14, Young became the youngest U.S. athlete to compete in the Paralympics during the 2012 London Games.

The St. Louis, Mo. native advanced to the 200m SM13 Individual Medley final by placing second overall across the two prelim heats of the event with a time of 2:29.61 on Aug. 29

Swimming in lane five of heat two, Young started the race in third place at both the 50 and 100-meter marks. However, Young found a surge of momentum during the breaststroke leg of the race and passed Ireland’s Roisin Ni Riain to get into second place, reaching the 150-meter mark less than two seconds behind first-place finisher Gilli. Young kept pace during the final 50 meters and finished the race in 2:29.21 for the second-best time of the prelims to advance to the final.

The 200m SM13 Individual Medley was Young’s third out of her four scheduled events in Tokyo.

Young finished in 20th overall during the 50m freestyle S13 prelims on Aug. 28 with a time of 29.21 seconds. However, despite placing sixth in heat one, Young’s time was not one of the overall eight fastest times across the three prelim heats and therefore did not qualify for the event’s final.

In lane one of the women’s 100 S13 backstroke final on Aug. 26, Young finished the final in eighth place in 1:09.89. With Team USA teammate Gia Pergolini setting the pace in the pool with a world record speed from the start of the race to the final meters, Young, wasn’t able to catch up and held her eighth-place spot throughout the majority of the race. Young was the last swimmer to reach the 50-meter mark at 34.30, while Pergolini won gold by breaking her world record, which she set earlier in the day during the prelims, with a time of 1:04.64.

Young began her time in Tokyo finishing fourth in heat two of the women’s 100m S13 backstroke prelims on Aug. 25. Racing in lane two, the 23-year-old was the fifth swimmer to reach the 50-meter turn before finishing the race in fourth place in 1:09.39 to advance on time to the event’s final. Pergolini, who won heat two, set a world record for the event in 1:05.05 and also advanced.

Young will compete in her final event in Tokyo, the 100m SB13 breaststroke prelims, on Tuesday at 9:23 p.m.

maggie.vanoni@hearstmediact.com