FORTY year-old Beth Baker set a USMS national record at a Maryland long course USA Swimming meet in Rockville, MD last weekend, clocking 29.82 seconds for the 50m butterfly. The time broke the former women's 40-44 mark of 29.89, held by Laura Val.
Val's time is also the Masters world record for the event. However, while Baker's performance will be recognized as the US record, FINA will not certify it as a Masters world record, as it was not done in a Masters meet. So the US record will be faster than the world record.
Seeded tenth, Baker won the USS event, beating all the collegians (including an Olympian from the Czech Republic) and other young speedsters, most of whom were barely half her age.
Baker, however, kept things in perspective: "These kids would cream me in a 100 or 200. God bless Masters swimming and their 50's!!"