"SPECHTACULAR" BILL SPECT LEADS THE WAY AT MASTERS NATIONALS
By Phillip Whitten
Minneapolis, MN – Bill Specht of St. Petersburg (Florida) Masters led the way with two world records on the opening day of the U.S.M.S. National Long Course Championships, held at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, the same site where the USA Swimming Nationals were held last week.
Specht's records were just two of 14 world and 20 Americans set today at the annual long course meet, which attracted some 950 of the top Masters swimmers in the USA, plus a handful of competitors from Canada plus one each from Mexico, Argentina and Kazakhstan.
The 41-year-old Specht lowered his own world and US mark in the men's 40-44 50m backstroke from 28.90 to 28.88, then obliterated his own 100m butterfly mark of 58.13, clocking 57.79. That time is almost a second faster than Mark Spitz's best time during his 1991-92 Olympic comeback, when he was the same age as Specht is now.
Three more world records were set in the 50m backstroke. Tom Wolfe (PCAT) took Dix Ozier's time for men 45-49 from 30.24 to 30.16, while 1952 Olympic 100m backstroke champion Yoshi Oyakawa (Greater Ohio) destroyed the 65-69 mark held by Japan's S. Sewkikawa, clocking 33.54 to Sekikawa's 35.13. Doris Steadman (GSM) celebrated her graduation to the women's 75-79 division by blasting the 8-year-old record with her 44.43. Britain's Willy Van Rysel held the old mark of 46.64.
The 100m butterfly saw three more global marks set in addition to Specht's. Thirty-five year-old Tracie Moll (GOLD) swam 1:03.79, breaking her own women's 35-39 mark of 1:03.93. Lois Nochman (MICH) destroyed Kay Schimpf's listed record for women 75-79 (2:19.44) with her 1:56.92, though she has a 2:01+ time pending. In the women's 85-89 division, Jean Durston (Walnut Creek Masters) swam 2:40.11, five seconds better than Dorothy Weston's 1998 mark of 2:45.28.
The 800m freestyle was the scene of more record-breaking carnage, as four global marks bit the dust. Joseph Rhyne (North Carolina Masters) took Hess Yntema's men's 40-44 mark (8:57.66) all the way down to 8:48.69. It was a good thing, because in the 45-49 age group, Jim McConica (Ojai-Santa Barabara), 49, chopped almost 15 seconds off Todd Bryan's 1995 mark (9:13.29) when his 8:58.84 made him the oldest man ever to break 9 minutes.
In the men's 60-64 age group, Drury Gallagher (Empire Masters) erased Graham Jonnston's 10:34.02 with his 10:29.40.
Suzanne Heim-Bowen had the only women's 800m record. Her 9:32.18 was five seconds faster than her record swim last year (9:37.13) for women 40-44.
There were two very fast women in the 200m breaststroke. Wenke Hansen (Ojai-Santa Barbara), 30, wiped out the women's 30-34 global mark of 2:46.81 set by Japan's Hideka Koshimizu when she recorded a swift 2:41.51. In the next age group up, Caroline Krattli, 37 chopped three seconds off Dagmar Hilbig (Germany's) 35-39 mark with her 2:47.55.
In addition to the world records set, six additional American records were recorded:
Men 55-59 200 meter breaststroke. Ken Frost (TAM) – 2:52.94 old record – Tegze Haraszti – 2:54.08
Men 60-64 200 meter breaststroke. Drury Gallagher (EMP) – 2:58.78 old record – Bob Patten – 3:06.87
Men 70-74 200 meter breaststroke. Bob MacDonald (FMM) – 3:29.06 old record – Frank Piemme – 3:30.82
Women 75-79 200 meter breaststroke. Regan Kenner (FMM) – 4:28.51 old record – Betty Christian – 4:29.87
Men 80-84 50 meter backstroke. Ray Taft (SMMM) – 42.49 old record – Aldo DaRosa – 44.76
Men 85-89 50 meter backstroke. Dave Malbrough (FMM) – 52.48 old record – Dave Malbrough – 53.42