SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, July 15. THREE backstroke Masters world records and a 100 free mark fell at the hands of two Olympians last weekend at the Heatstroker Masters long course meet in Scottsdale.
Two of the backstroke records were broken by Darian Townsend, who is not normally known for his backstroke prowess. As a semifinalist in the 200 IM at the 2008 Olympics and former short course meter world record holder in the 200 IM, Townsend is obviously strong in all four strokes.
He posted a 25.98 in the 50 back to dip under Stefan Herbst’s record of 26.02 from 2011 in the 30-34 age group. Herbst’s name was erased by Townsend a second time in the 100 back when Townsend posted a 55.93 to beat Herbst’s 56.55.
Not content with setting just backstroke records, Townsend took down Stephan Kunzelmann’s five-year-old world record of 50.84 in the 100 free with a 50.23. That’s not too far off his best time of the season, which is a 49.88 from the Arena Grand Prix in Mesa.
Though Townsend does not turn 30 until August 28, he is able to compete in the 30-34 age group under FINA Masters rules that dictate a person’s age for long course and short course meters meets as their age on December 31 of that year. Many swimmers take advantage of this rule, breaking records before they officially enter a new age group.
Noriko Inada, who just recently won the 50 back at the Japan Open with a 28.56, didn’t need to go that fast to break Sheri Hart’s Masters world record of 30.17 in the 35-39 age group. Inada, who will be 36 on July 27, swam a 29.45 to officially become the oldest Masters swimmer under the 30-second barrier. (Inada’s 28.56 from Japan Open does not count as a Masters world record because it was not swum in a sanctioned Masters meet.)
Townsend and Inada 50 back race footage:
Townsend 100 back race footage:
Special thanks to Takahisa Ide for providing race footage.