Josh Prenot gave his fans watching at the Abel Maldonado Community Youth Center plenty to cheer about Wednesday night. Prenot is bringing home a silver medal.
He finished second in the 200-meter breaststroke, .07 of a second behind Kazakhstan’s Dmitriy Balandin, who swam a 2:07.46.
“It means a whole lot,” Prenot said. “I got a medal. I can’t be more happy with that.”
While it was the first swimming medal in history for Kazakhstan, it gave the Americans a fourth medal this Olympics in a stroke in which they traditionally don’t excel, with the women’s 200-meter breaststroke yet to come. It’s the first medal for the U.S. in the event since 2004.
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On Monday, Lilly King and Katie Meili became the first U.S. women to win medals in the 100-meter breaststroke in the same Olympics.
Prenot, 23, began his swimming career at the Santa Maria Swim Club under Mike Ashmore. His career took off from there.
Prenot set a U.S. Olympic Trials record in winning the 200 breast last month to qualify for his first Olympics.
The Olympics, Prenot, said, weren’t a lot different.
“I’ve been to a lot of swim meets before; I’ll go to a lot of swim meets in the future,” Prenot said. “This one, in theory, is no different.”
Prenot said his feelings were the same, too, when he looked at the scoreboard and saw his name in lights.
“Pretty much the same emotions as trials, looking up and seeing a ‘1’ or ‘2’ on the scoreboard,” Prenot said. “Same thing here, but seeing ‘1,’ ‘2’ or ‘3,’ and that’s absolutely a dream come true.”
Prenot, a senior physics major at Cal, finished third in the semifinals Tuesday with a 2:07.78. He went 2:07.53 a day later in the finals, holding off Russian Anton Chupkov, who swam a 2:07.70.
“I could only see [the swimmers on either side],” Pernot said. “I had no idea what was going on, so I just started sprinting with 80 meters to go.
“I’m so stoked.”