Maple Ridge’s Stein wins Paralympic silver
Maple Ridge’s Nathan Stein swam his way to a silver medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games on Friday, finishing the 50-metre freestyle final in 23.58 seconds.
Stein’s time was less than a half second behind Brazilian Andre Brasil, who set a world record with a time of 23.16 seconds.
‘’First Paralympics, can’t ask for more,’’ said Stein, 20. ‘’I tried to stick with Andre. He is an amazing swimmer. I went a lot faster than I thought I was going to go. The goal was to go 23.9 at the Games and to go 23.58, nothing but good news.’’
Stein competed in the S10 classification race, which applies to competitors who have minimal weakness affecting the legs, including restrictions in hip joint movement, swimmers with both feet deformed, swimmers with one leg amputated below the knee, or swimmers missing one hand.
At age 12, Stein was diagnosed with osteochondritis dissecans, a condition that has required 11 surgeries on his leg. He started swimming lessons at age nine and quickly became hooked on the racing aspect because of his competitive nature, according to his Paralympic bio.
London 2012 is the first Paralympic Games for Stein, who only started swimming competitively less than three years ago, quickly showing he was on a path that would lead him to the podium.
Stein was a revelation this past spring at the Paralympic trials, where he challenged Canadian star Benoit Huot in several events and took the gold in Canadian record time in the 50-metre freestyle. While he struggled at times last season, Stein put a solid cap on 2011 with a bronze medal performance in the 100-metre breaststroke at the Para Pan Pacific Championships.
Stein, 20, is a coach with the Haney Neptunes swim club in Maple Ridge, and swims with the Surrey Knights Swim Club. Haney Neptunes members and their parents came out to help send Stein to London with a swim meet fundraiser in June that featured the adults swimming in a parents-only relay.
Stein will have another chance to add to his medal haul on Thursday as he competes in the 100-metre freestyle. Stein enters the race with the fifth fastest qualifying time, at 53.41 seconds.
Stein also competed in the 100-metre butterfly event on Saturday, finishing ninth and failing to reach the final.