LONDON - Mallory Weggemann wasn't happy with the decision to reclassify her and force her to swim against more able-bodied swimmers.
She apparently funneled her angst into positive energy.
The Minnesota native led the U.S. efforts in the pool Sunday night with her first gold medal of the 2012 London Paralympic Games.
Weggemann, who had been qualified as an S7 previously, was reclassified as an S8 athlete by the International Paralympic Committee this week, a move that left her unsure of how she stacked up against the competition.
"It's been really tough," Weggemann told teamusa.org. "I'll be honest, the process and just being put through that so last minute and right before competition was really hard."
With a time of 31.13, Weggemann set a new Paralympic record in the 50 meter freestyle (S8) and also broke the American record. Jessica Long, who won gold in each of her three previous finals in London, finished fifth in the event.
Weggemann's next event is Tuesday, when she'll swim qualifying heats for the 100 meter backstroke.
Team USA's total medal count in swimming is now 16, the most of any sport.
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