By Phillip Whitten
FEDERAL WAY, Washington, April 13. FRANK Piemme and Gail Roper led the way last weekend, as 11 US Masters national records bit the dust at the Pacific Northwest Zone Championships, held April 9-10 in Federal Way, Washington.
Piemme came away with five national marks in the men's 80-84 age group, including an unorthodox freestyle double and a sweep of the medleys.
Piemme won the 50 and 1650-yard freestyle. In the 50, he became the oldest person ever to break 30 seconds for the two-lap sprint as he touched in 29.25, erasing Woody Bowersock's standard of 31.09 set in 1999. In the "mile," his 26:01.94 was four seconds under the former mark of 26:05.99 set by his training partner, Jurgen Schmidt, two years ago.
In the 100 and 200-yard IMs, Piemme also just managed to brush aside the previous records of 1:24.24 and 3:11.79, both set by Ray Taft. Piemme clocked 1:23.16 and 3:10.28. In the 400 IM, however, he blasted the old mark of 7:03.09 by Aldo da Rosa in 1998.
Gail Roper, who set five national records in the women's 75-79 age group the prior weekend in Arizona, added four more to her collection in Washington. Roper, 75, swept the breaststroke marks, clocking 44.78 for the 50, 1:38.87 for the 100 and 3:34.10 for the 200. Her Olympic teammate, Carol "Penny" Taylor, had pending marks of 47.01, 1:45.71 and 3:48.86, all swum earlier this season.
In the 400 IM, Roper hacked more than 21 seconds off June Krauser's 7:24.64, set in 2002, when she lit up the scoreboard with her 7:03.61.
Andrew Holden accounted for the remaining two marks, setting his in the men's 85-89 division. Holden clocked 41.99 for the 50 fly and 1:51.14 for the 100. The former standards belonged to Paul Krup (2002) and Walt Pfeiffer (1999) at 46.95 and 1:52.80, respectively.