By Mel Dyck
IRVINE, Calif., August 12. SWIMMERS representing 36 teams turned out for the Southwest Zone Long Course Championship meet held August 9-11 in Irvine.
For some of us mortal swimmers, the Anteater pool at U.C. Irvine seemed about 5 meters too long!
But not everyone had that opinion. A ton of records were wiped off the books at Lucy Johnson's meet over the weekend of 9-11 August. Record breaking swims were turned in by Jim Belardi, Paul Carter, Greg Dozer, George Watson, Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen and Jane Swagerty-Hill.
In the men's 45-49 age group, Paul Carter's record-shattering performances in the fly, swum at earlier USA Swimming meets, have already been reported in Lane 9 on August 5. Although those USA Swimming times count as records for USMS, FINA only recognizes Masters records established at sanctioned Masters meets. That's not a problem anymore.
On Saturday, Carter swam the 200 fly in a time of 2:10.97, almost 2 seconds faster than his time of 2:12.94 at the Janet Evans Invitational and almost 7 seconds faster than the previous USMS and world record held by James Densmore. To make the event complete, Carter's teammate in the 45-49 age group, Jim Belardi, clocked 2:14.96, also under the record. Belardi still holds the 200 record of 2:06.88 in the 25-29 age group, set back in 1982.
Later in the day, Carter turned in a 26.12 in the 50 fly, 0.85 seconds under the old USMS and world record held by Rick Abbott, to complete a Saturday sweep of the butterfly events.
But his day wasn't over: In the 200 IM, Carter swam a 2:19.69, eclipsing the old USMS and world record of 2:22.06 posted in 1996 by Tim Broderick. Greg Dozer was just a bit slower than the record, his second attempt in a few weeks, touching in 2:22.90. More on Greg's swims below.
Carter finished off Saturday's record-pummeling performance with a 56.85 in the 100 fly on Sunday. This is a shade slower than the 56.42 he turned in August 4 in the USA Swimming Southern California Summer Sectional meet, but well under the 1:00.42 USMS and world record held by Brad Horner. So, his USMS record will be faster than his new world record.
Greg Dozer got his chance in the 400 I.M. Going out really hard on the fly leg, Dozer closed the last 200 strong to turn in a 5:06.78, well under the old USMS and world men's 45-49 record of 5:08.18 set in 2001 by Jamie Hemmerle. Having the family holding up a sign with 'Go Greg' painted on it must have helped.
One of the great names in swimming was stricken from the record book when Erik Hochstein, swimming in the 30-34 division, clocked a stunning 4:02.64. Rowdy Gaines, a triple Olympic gold medalist in 1984, had set the old mark more than a decade ago at 4:05.61.
A week earlier at a USA Swimming meet in Clovis, Hochstein, an Olympic bronze medalist at Seoul in 1988, and a standout for the USC Trojans in 1989-92, came within two-hundredths of the 200 meter mark when he clocked 1:54.06.
In the men's 55-59 age group, all the freestyle records longer than 100 meters were re-written — by a complete newcomer to Masters swimming. George Watson cashed out a new record in the 200 with a time of 2:13.76, 1.24 seconds under the old USMS and world records held by Tim Birnie. In the 400, Birnie's old record of 4:46.92 succumbed to Watson's withering 4:41.12. And, finally, in the 800, Watson turned in a 9:49.03, more than 10 seconds under the old world record set at Worlds this year by Uijtenbogaart of the Netherlands and more than a half minute faster than the old USMS record held by Drury Gallagher since 1996.
The USMS 1500 record of 19:41.49, held by Jim McCleery, wasn't safe either, falling to Bill Darby's swim of 19:27.48. That time is still over the world record of 19:09.48 set in 1997 by Sandy Galletly swimming for Great Britain.
This was George's first Masters meet and the first time he has competed since 1969. He swam and played water polo at USC in 1968-69. He went to the Olympic Trials in 1968 but was fourth in the 400 and failed to qualify for the Olympic Team. George trains with Coach Mike Ruffler and Team TYR in Corona Del Mar, CA.
On the women's side, everything Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen entered seemed to turn to gold as she grabbed six USMS and seven world records in the women's 40-44 age group. If these numbers don't make sense, read on.
In the 1500 meter freestyle on Friday, she split a bruising 4:28.24 for the first 400 meters, a world mark, then continued with an 1100 meter warm down. The previous WR was set by Penny Palfrey in March 2002 at Worlds with a 4:35.74. The US national mark was set by Jill Hernandez in 2000 with a 4:38.89. This was Pipres-Neilsen's fastest time in four years!
The first of her three records on Saturday was Pipes-Neilsen's 2:26.47 in the 200 fly, more than three seconds faster than the previous USMS and world record of 2:29.81 established in 2001 by Beth Baker.
Next came the 200 free, where she clocked 2:09.47, about four-and-one-half seconds faster than the 2:13.10 records held by Jill Hernandez since 2000.
Pipes-Neilsen's final record of the day was her 2:28.19 in the 200 I.M., 1.61 seconds under Caroline Krattli's old USMS and world record of 2:29.80, set in March of this year.
On the final day of the meet, Karlyn destroyed Jill Hernandez' 400 I.M. USMS and world record of 5:21.32, turning in a nifty 5:15.73.
She added the 100 back mark to her collection with a 1:09.38 (lead-off on the a mixed 400 medley relay). The previous WR was Beth Baker's 1:10.45. Baker also held the USMS record with a faster 1:09.88.
In the 100 fly, things are more complicated: Pipes-Neilsen swam a nice 1:06.01 at the Zone meet. The previous world record was 1:06:27, so it's a new world record! But, Beth Baker owns the USMS record of 1:05.61 set at a USA Swimming meet. Complexities of swimming records anyone?
Olympic medalist Jane Swaggerty-Hill also snagged a record to go into her growing bag of records for the year in the women's 50-54 age group. In the 50 Back, she touched out in 33.12, about 7/10 of a second below the old USMS and World record of 33.81 set in 2001 by Laura Val. This time improves on Swagerty-Hill's own pending time of 33.52, already under the old record, and ground out in the Phoenix heat in July at the Arizona Long Course Championships.
Her time of 1:14.83 in the 100 Back is just 0.2 seconds over Val's record but nearly a two-second improvement over her Arizona Champs time of 1:16.35.