By Phillip Whitten
INDIANAPOLIS, April 22. WHILE the rain was falling outside, records were falling inside the majestic IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, where the USMS Short Course National Championships got underway today.
Today was distance day — only the 1000 and 1650 yard freestyle events were contested. Eight USMS national records were wiped out this day, four in the 1000 and four in the 1650.
1000 yard freestyle
Lavelle Stoinoff, of the Multonomah (Oregon) AC lowered her own record in the 40-lap event for women 70-74, set just last year. Stoinoff, 71, sliced almost 10 seconds off her 2003 standard of 14:08.02 when she touched in 13:58.55.
In the women's 85-89 division, Rita Simonton, 86, continued to rip it up, slashing Marjorie Sharpe's record of 22:06.79 by over two minutes with her 20:04.17. Simonton, however, has a pending sub-20-minute effort — 19:55.44 — swum in March.
Tod Spieker took the men's 55-59 record down to 10:36.93, breaking the 2001 standard of 10:52.60 by his Olympic Club teammate, Tim Birnie.
In the 90-94 age group, Woody Bowersock negative split his race, going out in 11:38.01 and coming back in 11:28.52 to stop the clock at 23:06.54. In doing so, he broke Gus Langner's 24:18.33 from 1995. Woody even had a sprint left at the end, as he raced to a 52.59 second effort for the final 50 yards.
1650 yard freestyle
In 1999, Laura Val set the record in the "mile" at 19:09.33 for women 45-49. Very fast! Today, Walnut Creek Masters' Suzanne Heim-Bowen, not only smashed Val's record, but she crashed through both the 19- and 18-minute barriers along the way. The new standard: 17:49.94.
In the 55-59 age group, Barbara Dunbar did much the same to Ardeth Mueller's 21:12.19 mark from 1998. Dunbar touched in 19:33.02, slashing Mueller's old mark as well as her own pending 19:36.20 from earlier in the year.
Dunbar's San Diego Swim Masters teammate, Jackie Marr, wrote her name in the record book in the 60-64 division. Marr's time of 21:19.25 was almost a minute faster than Lavelle Stoinoff's 11 year-old mark of 22:13.13. It also toppled her own pending 21:50.12 from March.
Dallas Area Masters' Bobby Patten, 41, was the only man to break a record in the mile. It took a superb effort to erase Hess Yntema's time of 16:18.14 from 1994 but Patten, a DAM coach as well as swimmer, touched in 16:13.92.