Former WKU swimmer Donahue wins gold at Pan American Games

Mercedes Trent

Former WKU swimmer Claire Donahue won the gold medal in the 100-meter butterfly Saturday night at the XVI Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. 

Donahue’s winning time was 58.73. She is believed to be the first swimmer from WKU to win a medal at the Pan American Games.

“For her, this is just a confidence booster going into the final preparations for the Olympic Trials in June,” said WKU Head Coach Bruce Marchionda. “And just the whole experience that she gets with international competition hopefully will pay dividends come the Olympic Trials and hopefully into the Olympics.

“This is just a great moment for USA swimming as well as Western Kentucky.”

Donahue qualified first for the A final with a Pan American Games record time of 58.59 in the preliminaries of the 100 butterfly earlier Saturday. She beat the previous record of 59.21 by almost half a second.

Donahue will compete next as a part of the United States 4×100 medley relay team by swimming the butterfly portion of the event on Friday.

“That is every swimmer’s dream to represent your country in a relay-type fashion, which is just phenomenal,” Marchionda said. “She is an extremely good relay swimmer, simply from the standpoint that she won’t let her teammates down. We’re pretty excited that she gets another shot at that 100 butterfly and gets some experience in the relay format.”