ELKHART — Focus brought a medal and an American record to Elkhart's Dalton Herendeen.
Competing in the 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming Championships Aug. 6-10 in Pasadena, Calif., Heredeen broke his own American mark in the 100 breastroke. He set the new mark at 1:16.28 in the preliminaries and lowered it again with a 1:16.11 in the finals. The latter time was good for a silver medal in the SB8 event, second only to Australia's Timothy Disken at 1:15.23.
"I was training hard and hard work pays off," says Herendeen, 21. "I had focused on the breaststroke all summer. That's probably my best choice of making Rio."
The Concord High School graduate who took part in the 2012 Paralympics in London is working toward the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro.
But before that, Herendeen will focus on his senior season at the University of Indianapolis. He was voted as the Greyhounds' co-captain along with roommate and best friend Justin Rossillo.
Herendeen tends to excel in the 1,600 and 1,000 freestyle events in college, but the 400 freestyle is the longest event offered in the Paralympics.
Besides U of I meets, Herendeen will also preparing for the 2015 International Paralympic Committee Swimming World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. Performance in Scotland can earn slots for countries at the Rio games.
Also at the Para Pan Pacs in Pasadena, Herendeen competed in a number of other events. He swam the butterfly leg of the 400 medley relay, helping the Americans to a time of 4:27.22 and a second-place finish.
The 6-foot-4 athlete also medaled in the S10 400 freestyle with a third-place finish (4:20.75), while also finishing sixth in the SM10 200 individual medley (2:18.53) and seventh in the S10 100 backstroke (1:18.61).
The U.S. led all nations at the Para Pan Pacs with 115 total medals.
Herendeen has spent this summer training and serving as a camp counselor in Maine with several coaches as well as a several weeks in Elkhart with Concord Swim Club and Concord High School coach Tom Johnson.
"We were working toward all the events," said Johnson. "He's really has great technique in the breaststroke. He's worked hard at it. It's not something he did a lot in high school at all.
"He also has a chance to be world class in the butterfly events. His butterfly technique is tremendous."