Competing for Team USA Swimming, Jamal Hill has secured his first Paralympic medal. The 26-year-old won bronze in the men’s 50-meter freestyle with a final time of 25.19, beating his previous personal best.
“It feels pretty surreal. I’m really excited to watch the playback, that was a personal best for me. I just knew I had to come and leave it all in the pool, and it feels good,” said Hill.
The race was a nail biter, and it was Hill’s exceptionally strong finish that pushed him through to victory. Afterwards, he spoke to media about his thoughts toward the very end of the race.
“Just fricking go. Just go, move the arms as fast as I can, kick the legs as fast as I can, keep my butt and my core tight, head down. Oh, shoot, I’ve got to take a breath, I’m running out of air. Take that real quick, get the head back down, finish strong,” Hill reflected. He did indeed finish strong.
Hill’s previous 50-meter freestyle personal best time was 26.10. His Paralympic debut was the perfect stage to top it.
“When I touched the wall, I was scared to turn around. I knew it was tight. I could hear the people celebrating next to me and I heard one of the coaches yell out my name, and I knew it was safe to turn around then,” said Hill.