TUCSON, Arizona, July 27. A few days after earning U.S. citizenship, Darian Townsend visited the Arizona Masters long course championships for some pre-nationals preparation, and set a Masters world record in the process.
Townsend swam a 53.65 in the 100 butterfly to take down the four-year-old world record of 54.19 by Romanian Stefan Gherghel in the 30-34 age group. Gherghel was a multiple NCAA All-American in butterfly and had served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama and Arizona State University.
For Townsend, it is not far off his best of the season, a 53.24 from the Phoenix Summer Invitational last month. That time ranks him seventh among Americans for 2014. Townsend intends to race the 100 butterfly at U.S. nationals in 10 days, one of five events he’ll swim in his bid to qualify for his first Team USA roster spot for the Pan Pacific championships.
Townsend also posted a 24.84 in the 50 fly and worked just the backstroke and breaststroke legs of the 200 IM, posting a 2:13.44. Though Townsend does not officially turn 30 until August 28, FINA rules for Masters swimming dictate that a person’s age in long course and short course meters meets is their age on December 31 of that calendar year.
Also at the meet was Swimming World’s Jeff Commings, who posted a U.S. Masters Swimming national record in the 50 breaststroke for the 40-44 age group. The 40-year-old swam a 29.02 to beat Steve West’s 29.38 from 2012, and fell just 18 hundredths of a second shy of the world record of 28.84, set in 2009 by Italy’s Alberto Montini. Commings also just missed the USMS record in the 200 IM by .16, as his 2:14.29 missed Erik Hochstein’s five-year-old record of 2:14.13.
Townsend’s 100 fly world record race video, courtesy Takahisa Ide:
Commings’ 50 breast national record race video: