July 19, 2007
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - Julia Smit captured a pair of gold medals at the long-course meters 2007 Pan American Games on Thursday by winning the 100 back and swimming the opening leg on the United States' victorious 4x100 free relay squad. Smit set new personal-bests during both events, taking the 100 back in 1:02.01 and clocking a 56.22 in her 100 free leadoff leg to start the Americans on their way to a time of 3:41.97 in the event.
"Julia had a tremendous morning starting with a great win in the 100 back," said Stanford women's swimming head coach and Pan American Games assistant coach Lea Maurer. "The conditions were difficult this morning with some cold temperatures and short turnaround times between swims, but Julia was really focused on what she needed to do to be successful in each of her races and had great execution. She has come such a long way in a short time, and we believe there are more good things to come."
"Both medals are important to me, but I am really happy to have been on the relay," said Smit. "I enjoy being part of a team. Relays are fun to be on, and it's great to have the whole team there at the blocks."
Smit also qualified for Friday's 200 individual medley finals by recording the fifth-fastest time overall (2:21.31) during one of the event's two semifinals during her busy Thursday morning session.
In addition, Smit is scheduled to swim in one of three 200 back heats on Friday.
Smit is the only Stanford women's swimmer participating in the 2007 Pan American Games. Her gold medal was the first by a Stanford women's swimming affiliate since Morgan Hentzen captured the 800 free in 2003 prior to her freshman campaign on The Farm in 2003-04.
For results and more information on the 2007 Pan American Games, go to rio2007.org.br.