RIO DE JANEIRO - A Carson-Newman sophomore swimmer is among 4,300 athletes set to partake in Wednesday's opening ceremony of the 2016 Paralympics.
Robert Griswold, who was born with cerebral palsy, will represent the U.S. in three events in Rio over the course of two weeks, according to a Carson-Newman release.
The 19-year-old swimmer holds the world record in the S8 200-meter backstroke with a time of 2:22.04, and also won a bronze medal in the 400-meter freestyle at the 2015 World Championships.
“He's excited about finally living his dream and getting the chance to live his first Olympic Games,” said Carson-Newman swimming head coach Jordan Taylor. “For us as a program it’s 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."
Griswold’s first event is in the S8 400-meter freestyle on Thursday morning, which has two heats at 8:46 a.m. and 8:54 a.m. Griswold will advance to the final if he has one of the eight fastest times among the competitors in the two Thursday morning heats. The final is scheduled for 4:44 p.m. Thursday.
The next event for Griswold is the S8 100-meter backstroke on Tuesday with heats set for 10:04 a.m. and 10:08 a.m., followed by the final at 6:14 p.m.
Griswold’s last event is the SM8 200-meter individual medley on Sept. 17, which is also the final day of competition. The heats are scheduled for 8:52 a.m. and 8:57 a.m., and the final is scheduled for 4:43 p.m.
Athletes are grouped in IPC Swimming by the degree of activity limitation from impairment. The groups are called sport classes. The process of classification determines which athletes are eligible to compete in IPC Swimming and how athletes are grouped together for competition.
The prefixes stand for:
• S: freestyle, butterfly and backstroke events
• SM: individual medley. The prefix “SM” is given to athletes competing in individual medley events. It is not a sports class, but an entry index and calculated as (3xS + SB)/4; for classes S1-4 who have a 3-discipline medley, the formula is (2S + SB)/3).
The S8 class, which is the class Griswold is competing in, is designated for “swimmers who have an amputation of one arm are eligible to compete in this sport class. Also, athletes with significant restrictions across hip, knee and ankle joints could compete in this sport class,” according to the official website of the Paralympic Movement and International Paralympic Committee.
Griswold came to Carson-Newman from Freehold Township High School in Freehold, N.J. The sophomore is currently a political science major.
The 2016 Paralympics feature athletes from 161 nations, and one refugee team.
(© 2016 WBIR)