RIO de JANIERO, Brazil – The 2016 Paralympics are scheduled to begin on Wednesday, September 7th and one the athletes set to compete is Carson-Newman sophomore swimmer Robert Griswold (Freehold, NJ).
Griswold, who holds the world record in the S8 200M backstroke and also won a bronze medal in the 400m freestyle at the 2015 world championships, will be competing in three events in Rio over the course of the next two weeks. The S8 or SM8 event designation is for swimmers who have lost either both hands or one arm as well as athletes with severe restrictions in the joints of the lower limbs.
"He's had this goal since I met him," Carson-Newman Head Swimming Coach Jordan Taylor said. "He's been working every single day in every way to make this goal become a reality."
Griswold's first event will the S8 400m freestyle which will take place on Thursday, September 8th. There will be two heats on Thursday morning, scheduled for 8:46am and 8:54am. If he swims one of the eight fastest times among competitors in those two heats, he'll advance to final, which will be later that day at 4:44pm.
His next event will be the S8 100m backstroke on Tuesday, the 13th. The two heats for that event will be at 10:04am and 10:08am, followed by the final at 6:14pm.
The last event on the docket for Griswold is the SM8 200m individual medley on Saturday, the 17th, which is also the final day of competition. The medley is an event that requires each competitor to swim freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly, each for 50m. The heats are scheduled for 8:52am and 8:57am and the final will take place at 4:43pm.
"He's been training well," Taylor said. "He's excited about finally living his dream and getting the chance to live his first Olympic Games. For us as a program its great to have someone like Robert show that you can dream big and if you put the work in daily, you can achieve whatever you want."
Robert Griswold came to Carson-Newman from Freehold Township High School in New Jersey and is currently majoring in Political Science.