by Phillip Whitten
Long Beach, CA – You may not have seen it on CNN, but a tsunami swept through Long Beach last weekend at the Long Beach Invitational/SPMA Short Course Masters Championships, held December 10-12 at the Belmont Plaza Pool, site of the 1976 Olympic Trials. No fewer than 28 Masters world records, 33 USMS records and one Canadian record were swept away during three days of very fast swimming.
Eighty-year-old Ray Taft, San Mateo Marlins Masters, led the way with no fewer than seven world and eight USMS records. Taft recorded world marks in the men's 80-84 division in the 400m free (6:27.60), 800m free (13:29.27 split en route to 1500); 1500m free (25:35.01), 100m back (1:33.58), 200m back (3:24.06), 100m IM (1:35.31) and 400m IM (7:37.58). He also notched a USMS record in the 50m back at 42.96.
1992 Olympian Roque Santos, 31, set four WRs in the men's 30-34 age group, including an awesome 2:17.56 in the 200m breast–almost five-and-a-half seconds swifter than the 2:22.98 standard he set just last year, and qualifying him for next year's Olympic Trials. In the 400m IM, Santos split an amazing 1:11.79 for the breaststroke leg to touch in 4:26.74, hacking more than six seconds from Jerry Frentos' 1995 mark. In both the 200 breast and 400IM, Santos' times bettered the records in the 25-29 age group. In the 100m breast, the Walnut Creek Masters ace posted a strong 1:03.84, bettering Dutchman Frank Vijer's 1:04.23 from 1994, while his 2:06.32 was fast enough to erase British Olympian Paul Brew from the record book.
Wenke Hansen, who graced the November/December cover of SWIM Magazine, also had four WRs, her's coming in the women's 30-34 division. The former German national team member clocked 1:11.13 and 2:34.09 in the 100 and 200m breaststroke events, beating the US Olympic Trials qualifying standards and breaking the old marks of 1;11.81 and 2:40.08 held by British Olympian, Suki Brownsdon. Hansen, representing Ojai-Santa Barbara, also set world marks in the 50m fly (28.84) and 100m I.M. (1:04.96), the latter breaking the record of 1:05.16 set by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen four years ago.
To days shy of his 49th birthday, Jim McConica, blasted his way into the 45-49 record book with times of 4:14.73 for the 400m free and 16:51.21 for the 1500, making him the oldest person to break 17 minutes for the metric mile. In the 400, the Ojai-Santa Barbara swimmer sliced some four seconds off Tim Broderick's very tough standard, while in the 1500 he hacked 33 seconds off his own mark set two years ago. McConica's 1500 time also betters the 40-44 WR. By FINA rules McConica will be 50 next month. Anticipate his making a shambles of the 50-54 records.
The man who holds most of the 50-54 freestyle records, Tod Spieker, bypassed his stronget events to concentrate on some others. The result: two world marks. Spieker, 51, who swims for The Olympic Club, swam 2:20.42 for the 200m back, almost a second-and-a-half faster than the record he set last year. In the 400m IM, he brought his own mark of 5:16.98, set last year, down to 5:12.31.
Carolyn Krattli, 37, also went home with two WRs to her credit. The San Diego Swim Masters ace stroked 34.58 for the 50 and 1:15.00 for the 100m breaststroke events. In the 50, Krattli lowered her own record by 21-hundredths, while in the 100, it was Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen's mark of 1:15.65 that bit the dust.
Pipes-Neilsen, 37, came through with two WRs of her own. In the 400m free she stroked 4:22.56, bettering her own 4:24.01 from two years ago. She added a second mark in the 50m back, leading off her relay in 30.73.
New Mexico Masters Philipp (Lincoln) Djang set a world mark in the men's 45-49 100m back, his 1:03.39 besting the 1:04.14 set by Britain's Eddie Riach last year.
Brian Alderman, Ojai-Santa Barbara, stroked to a world mark for men 30-34 in the 50m fly with a powerful 24.64. In doing so, Alderman broke Mike Bottom's standard of 25.06 that had stood for 10 years. In the 100m fly, Alderman added a USMS mark of 54.85, just missing the WR of 54.82.
Forty-eight year-old Laura Val, Tamalpais Masters, lowered her own WRs in the 50m back (32.88), 200m fly (2:32.52) and 400m IM (5:33.37).
Liz Hawes, 23, set two USMS records in the 19-24 age group. Hawes stroked 4:43.43 for the 400m free and 9:42.40 for the 800.
Canada's Vinus van Baalen, 57, set a Canadian national record for men 55-59 when he swam 1:04.17 for the 100m free.