By Stephen Thomas
CANBERRA, Nov. 1. AUSTRALIA'S Pam Hutchings broke three Masters backstroke world records in the women's 65-69 age group recently at the New South Wales AUSSI Masters Short Course Championships, held in Canberra. All three records had stood for twelve years, set back in October 1989 by American Doris Steadman.
The 65-year-old Australian dorsal champ lowered Steadman's 200 meter record by almost seven seconds to record 3:08.61. Over the 100 meter distance, Hutchings went nearly five seconds under the previous mark with her 1:25.53. Then she cleaned-up in the two lap distance with a swift 38.25, easily breaking the 40.48 set by the American. Hutchings also added a new Australian record for the 100m free (1:17.02) to her excellent meet.
Her performance here was not unexpected given she had broken Steadman's world marks for the 100 and 200 meter backstroke at the Australian Long Course Championships here in April.
One other world record went down to veteran Betty Stern. The 81-year-old stroked 52.13 in the 50m back to break her own old mark for women 80-84 set in April 2000 by just 0.02 seconds. Stern also set new national records in the 200m backstroke (2:02.50) and 100m free (1:47.21) for the 80-84 age group.