Canada’s Pronk Sets World Mark on Day 3 of Masters Games

MELBOURNE, Australia, October 9. CANADA'S Bonnie Pronk set the only world record on Day 3 of the swimming competition at the 2002 World Masters Games in Melbourne.

The Games here are the largest sporting event in history, with some 24,800 competitors. Swimming has the largest number of competitors, with the swimming competition being held at the state-of-the-art Victoria Aquatic Centre in Melbourne.

Pronk, from British Columbia, lowered the world mark in the 100 meter breaststroke for women 60-64 to 1:31.12. The old record, 1:32.37, was held by the USA's Joanne Leilich.

Gold medals were divided up among swimmers from 11 countries today, with the 40-44 age group easily the strongest for both men and women.

Here are some of today's highlights:

Women's 400m Freestyle
Penny Palfrey, from Queensland, Australia, had the top performance, winning the 40-44 age group in a swift 4:42.66, less than four seconds from the WR held by the USA's Jill Hernandez (4:38.89).

Marion Chadwick was the only American to strike gold, as swimmers from only four countries emerged as winners: Australia, Mexico, Russia and the USA. Chadwick won the 80-84 division in 13:4.29.

Men's 400m freestyle
Canadian Olympian Graham Welbourne had ther top performance in the men's 400 free, winning the 40-44 age group in 4:22.55, the second fastest overall time.

Two Americans were winners: Don Hill, whose 5:48.29 in the 70-74 division lopped 20 seconds off the Games record; and Gilbert Young, who set a Games mark of 7:22.57 in winning the 80-84 age group.

John Mills, from New South Wales in Australia, had an outstanding swim in the 75-79 division, setting a Games mark of 6:21.53, just four seconds off Frank Piemme's global standard of 6:17.36.

Great Britain's Andy Wilson, co-editor of the British Masters magazine, Watermarks, won the 55-59 age group in 5:00.99.

Women's 100m Breaststroke
The women's 100m breaststroke had the most diverse group of winners, with seven countries represented atop the podium.

Germany's Dagmar Hilbig, in the 40-44 age group, had the second best swim after Pronk's record effort. Hilbig, 44, sped to a 1:17.13 time, just fractions of a second off her own global standard.

Livia Walker, in the 80-84 age group, was the only US winner. She clocked 3:31.21.

Men's 100m Breaststroke
Australia's Simon Leighfield, who set a 25-29 world mark in the 200m breaststroke on Day One, just missed the 100m record. Leighfield hit the pads in 1:04.49, just off Briton James Parrack's world record of 1:04.11.

Plamen Alexandrov, a 1980 Bulgarian Olympian, was the only American winner. Swimming in the 40-44 division, Alexandrov clocked 1:09.97. The world mark of 1:08.01 belongs to the USA's David Guthrie.

Australia's Tony Goodwin challenged the world record of 1:24.16 for the 65-69 age group, but had to settle for a national and Games mark of 1:25.32.

Egon Henninger, an East German Olympian, won the 60-64 division in 1:22.60, a Games mark. Russia's Nikolai Koulakov took the 55-59 age group in a solid 1:19.80.

–Phillip Whitten

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