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(STMW) – West suburban Naperville resident Alyssa Gialamas was planning to attend today’s closing ceremonies in London, after wrapping up a successful debut in the Paralympics.
On Saturday, in her final event of the Games, the Waubonsie Valley High School junior placed fifth in her 100-meter freestyle semifinal heat. She finished in one minute, 40.23 seconds — four seconds out of fourth place. The top four in each heat advanced to the finals.
“Even though I didn’t make finals, I’m proud of all that I have accomplished here!” she wrote on her Facebook page. “I’m honored to be on Team USA!”
In total, Gialamas, 17, placed fifth in the 200-meter freestyle, and had the ninth-best time among all swimmers in both the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle heats. In all her events, she was the only American to compete. According to her Twitter account, she even got to meet Prince Edward during the Games.
Gialamas said she was looking forward to the closing ceremonies, scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. Sunday in London, which is 1:30 p.m. in Gialamas’ hometown. The closing ceremony was scheduled to feature British band Coldplay.
Gialamas was born with a congenital condition that affects the joints and muscles. She walks using knee-ankle-foot braces.
Fans can follow Gialamas on Twitter at @AlyssaGialamas. A live stream and schedule of events is at the Paralympic’s website: http://www.paralympic.org.
The other local Paralympian — Oswego paracyclist Joe Berenyi — completed his final race on Thursday, placing sixth out of 40 racers.
Berenyi, 43, took silver in the men’s individual time trial. He took a gold medal in the 3-kilometer individual pursuit, and on earned a bronze in the track cycling mixed sprint competition as part of a three-member U.S. team.
Berenyi lost his right arm in a construction accident 18 years ago. He competes on a modified two-wheel racing bike.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)