By Jason M. Parker and Phillip Whitten
SAVANNAH, Georgia, August 14. THE rainbow that formed over the Chatham County Aquatic Center on Friday afternoon seemed to be a good omen. Despite fears throughout the day, Hurricane Charley bypassed Savannah early Saturday morning and allowed the USMS Long Course Nationals meet to continue.
The threat of the hurricane did not deter the swimmers, though, as eight world and 11 US Masters marks were swept away. Once again, San Diego's Barbara Dunbar led the way.
Dunbar, 55, set two new world records in the 55-59 age group. In the 200 free, she faced the world record-holder, Fran Williamson. Williamson gave it all she had, actually lowering her record of 2:33.60 set last year, touching in 2:33.18. But Dunbar was an irrestible force, jamming the pads in 2:28.56.
Earlier, she had clocked 6:16.14 in the 400m IM, slicing precisely one second from the previous mark set last year by Germany's Brigette Merten. Her time also destroyed the American standard of 6:39.88 by teammate Jackie Marr three years ago.
Thirty-seven year-old Wade King, TCM, flew through 50 meters butterfly in 25.46 seconds. The previous men's 35-39 standard of 25.77 by Tyler Jourdonnais had stood for four years.
In the same event, but in the 50-54 division, Trip Hedrick swam an outstanding 26.25, chopping nearly a second from Rich Abrahams' 27.13 set six years ago.
Who's afraid of Tom Wolfe? If they're smart, every other backstroker in the 50-54 age group. Wolfe chewed up the 100-meter dorsal standard of 1:06.36 by France's Victor galavtine with his 1:04.83. The old American record was 1:07.16 by Hugh Wilder back in 1997.
Two men broke the world record in the 200m breaststroke in their respective age groups. Bob Patten, RMM, celebrated his 70th birthday by clocking 3:18.20 to erase the previous mark set of 3:19.82 set only last year by Japan's Tstomu Kajihara. Ron Johnson had owned the American record at 3:25.09.
One age group up, in the 75-79 division, Robert MacDonald stroked3:32.60, smashing his own domestic standard of 3:36.45 from last year and dipping under the previous world record of 3:33.08 by Germany's Karl Hauter.
The final world record fell to Illinois Masters' women's 200m free relay in the 120+ division. Illinois touched in 1:52.60, squeezing under the old US mark of 1:53.05 set by Lone star 17 years ago, and the global standard of 1:53.02 set by Team Dash of Japan last year.
Lois Kivi Nochman accounted for two American records in the 80-84 women's division. Nochman swaam 58.31 seconds for the 50m fly, four seconds faster than doris Russell's American record of 1:02.26 from 2000. The world record stands at 57.90 by japan's Yone Murata from 2002.
Showing she can do more than just sprint, Nochman followed with a 9:55.58 for the 400 IM, almost 10 seconds better than Maxine Merlino's USMS standard of 10:10.13 that hd lasted for 12 years. The world record remains 8:45.48 by Germany's Gertrud Meerwald from 2000.
Joanne Leilich set the day's final USMS record with a 3:32.51 for 200 meters breaststroke. The previous maark for women 65-69 was Margit Jebe's 3:34.03 set last year. Japan's Masumi Azumo holds the world record at 3:28.43.
Under clearing skies, Saturday's events promise more great swimming and
some time to relax at the riverboat social on the Savannah River in the