Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

Fort Carson Mountaineer

WCAP Soldier helps break world record

By Sgt. Michael Hunnisett | U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP)

MADEIRA, Portugal — A new world record has been set. Sgt. 1st Class Elizabeth Marks, a paralympic swimmer with the U.S. Army World Class Athlete Program, competed in and helped break a world record at the 2022 World Para Swimming Championships in Madeira, June 12-18, 2022.

The previous world record for the Mixed 4×50 meter Medley Relay 20pts was held by China with 2:32.59 back in September 2019. Team USA athletes Elizabeth Marks, Abbas Karimi, Leanne Smith and Rudy Garcia-Tolson broke that record with 2:32.49.

“I was most concerned about the mixed medley,” said Marks. “I felt so much positive pressure that I really wanted to pour as much as I had into our relay, and we did.”

For Marks, the experience was just as much about watching her teammates succeed, too. Karimi, formerly a refugee, earned his American citizenship this year, competing for Team USA for the first time. Teammate Garcia-Tolson has also been a supporter of Marks and helped her learn strokes and navigate becoming an athlete.

“It was incredibly encouraging and heart healing for me to watch my teammates represent Team USA,” she explained. “I almost cried when I saw Karimi wearing an American flag cap that morning.”

During the 2022 championships, Marks also earned a gold medal in the Women’s 50-meter Butterfly Final with a 36.98 seconds and a bronze medal in the Women’s 50-meter Freestyle Final with 33.91 seconds. Marks currently holds the American record for both these events.

Due to contracting COVID prior to the championships, Marks had to drop from two races due to being in quarantine for the start of the week.

“Getting to still compete at worlds after having COVID was more than I had expected,” said Marks. “It was rough, but my coach, Nathan Manley, is an expert at coaching me through ‘rough’.”

Marks is a two-time Paralympian, earning five Paralympic medals and over a dozen world medals, making her the most decorated athlete in the history of the World Class Athlete Program.

WCAP Soldier helps break world record
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