CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia, July 15. FOR Brad Phillips, the second Saturday in July turned out to be very good timing. The University of Virginia swimmer recently competed in three events at the U.S. Olympic Trials in Omaha, finishing as high as 40th in the men's 400 IM. The second-year student recently returned to Charlottesville to get a taste of open water, swimming beside the ? mile straightaway cable in the 82 degree water at Chris Greene Lake. Phillips stormed out to a commanding lead and held on to record the fourth-fastest swim in the 35-year history of the 2-mile cable event. His time of 39:17.27 was a new national record for men 18-24 by more than two minutes.
In the women's 2-mile event, Abby Nunn, still recovering from her outstanding effort in winning the 28.5 circumnavigation of Manhattan Island on June 23, claimed her fourth consecutive title, winning in 41:48.27. In the 1-mile event, Maura Smith took the women's crown in 21:59.03, while Chris LaBianco was the male winner in 20:13.79.
Charlottesville resident Dick Selden became the oldest person to complete a 2-mile cable swim, finishing in 1:33:53.21 to earn the national record for men 90-94. His time was 3 minutes faster than last year. At the awards ceremony, the Carter Glass Professor of Economics Emeritus from UVA told the crowd that after many years of swimming and never winning anything, “I think I have finally found my niche.” Selden swims 3 to 4 times per week, and will be busy teaching a summer course at Harvard later this month.
Shirley Loftus-Charley, a 60-year old from Afton, claimed two national records on the day, competing in both the 1-mile and 2-mile events. Loftus-Charley, who hasn't missed a race since 1982, was third overall among the women in the 2-mile event, breaking the national record for women 60-64 by almost two minutes (45:38.08). In the 1-mile event, she was the second finisher overall among women, knocking four minutes off the previous national record with her time of 23:07.96.
In the 1-mile event, other national records were recorded by Chris LaBianco, 41, and Adam Barley, 31, who finished 1-2 overall. LaBianco broke the existing national record for men 40-44 by three seconds, finishing in 20:13.79, while Barley finished a body length behind in 20:15.05, a new national record for men 30-34.
The record-breaking swims took place at Chris Greene Lake in Charlottesville at the 36th annual event hosted by Virginia Masters Swim Team. Athletes of all ages have been competing in the 2-mile cable swim on the second Saturday in July every year since 1977. Participants swim beside a “cable”, a series of nylon ropes that are installed each year by staff from Albemarle County Parks and Recreation. The ? mile distance runs in a straight line between two permanent wooden pylons and was found to be within an inch of 440 yards when surveyed a few years ago, allowing the races to be eligible for national records.
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