NORTH BETHESDA, Maryland, March 18. ERIKA Braun and Leslie Livingston didn't want to wait until the fall short course meters season to break Masters world records, as the two sprinters were responsible for three individual marks at the Albatross Open last weekend. Braun helped contribute to a Masters relay world record as well.
Braun, 41 years old and representing North Carolina Masters, set two individual marks in the 50 freestyle and 50 butterfly for the 40-44 age group. Her 50 free time of 26.22 broke the world record of 26.40 held by Sweden's Marika Johansson since 2008. It also lowers her national record of 26.46 that she swam last November. In the 50 fly, she swam a 28.19 to erase Olympian Susan von der Lippe's mark of 28.21.
Braun nearly snagged a third individual world record in the 100 freestyle, coming close to von der Lippe's record of 57.55 with a 57.58.
To top off her weekend, Braun swam 100 meters of butterfly with Frances McEachran (backstroke), Jon Blank (breaststroke) and Jonathan Klein (freestyle) to break the Masters world record in the 400 medley relay for the 200-239 age group with a 4:27.64. Oregon Masters previously held the record with a 4:32.16.
The swims mark the first Masters world records for Braun, who competed at the Olympic Trials in the 50 freestyle last summer, one of three females over 40 at the meet. Though the 26.32 she swam last May to qualify for Trials is faster than the FINA Masters long course world record of 26.44 in the 40-44 age group, Braun needed to swim that time at a sanctioned Masters meet, not the USA Swimming-sanctioned meet that she participated in last year.
Leslie Livingston, however, is no stranger to Masters world records, having set a couple in the 50-54 age group in the past two years. Livingston, 52, continued her record-breaking streak last weekend, lowering her own world record of 29.54 in the 50 butterfly to 29.25. She came close to her record of 30.58 in the 50 backstroke, posting a time of 30.65.