October 3, 2023

Brush with the Bronze

UMW assistant swim coach Dalton Herendeen missed out – but just barely – on a medal yesterday in the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Falling short of the bronze by just hundredths of a second, Herendeen finished fourth, with a post time of 1:14.71, in the 100-meter breaststroke, the event for which he and his coach, Abby Brethauer, had held out the most hope.

“Not an easy one to swallow, for sure,” Herendeen posted last night on social media, “especially when you miss medaling by .27!”

Born with a blood clot that led to the loss of his lower left leg, he excelled throughout high school and college against able-bodied athletes. The Paralympics, however, have marked the pinnacle of his swimming career. After failing to bring home a medal from the 2012 competition in London, he set his sights on Rio.

Making the team was a feat in itself for Herendeen, who blew out his right knee in a world championship competition last summer and underwent  reconstructive surgery just months before this year’s Paralympic Games trials.

“Watching him [last night] was the proudest moment of a coaching career filled with some pretty amazing memories,” said Brethauer, head coach of the Eagles swim team. “There was, of course, disappointment … but as I told him, I would choose Dalton a hundred times over anyone else in that pool.”

Slated to swim the 400-meter freestyle on Saturday, Herendeen isn’t done yet. Catch the live-streamed Paralympic Games swimming events at go.teamusa.org/2cyOasO.