By Phillip Whitten
TEMPE, Arizona, October 1. FOUR world and nine US national records fell at the Arizona State Short Course Meters Championships, which also doubled as the Southwest Zone Championships, last weekend at the Mona Plummer Pool on the campus of Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona.
The meet, held in perfect 90-degree fall weather, attracted participants from as far east as Moscow, as far west as Hawaii, and as far north as Washington state.
Several relay records were set as well, but official results are not yet available.
The incomparable Gail Roper, 75, swimming unattached, accounted for two world marks. Roper stroked 1:25.39 for the 100m free and 3:09.71 for the 200 free, erasing the former marks for women 75-79 of 1:26.20 and 3:11.99, both set by Jean Troy two years ago.
Roper also clocked 3:44.61 for the 200 IM, just one second outside June Krauser's global standard for the event.
Paul Smith, 45, representing Rocky Mountain Masters, became the oldest man to crack two minutes for 200 meters freestyle, when he crashed through the barrier with his 1:57.99. Tim Broderick's old record for men 45-49, 2:00.13, had stood for eight years.
Smith also blazed a 24.44 in the 50m free, setting a US record. The previous mark, 24.73, was set last year by Bill Sherman.
In addition, Smith won the 100 free in 54.50 and the 50 fly in 26.29, both the second fastest times ever. Not bad for a guy claiming to be "out of shape"!
The fourth world mark was undoubtedly the most impressive. Eighty-five year-old Max von Isser, representing Ford Aquatics in Tucson, clocked an amazing 43.35 seconds for 50 meters butterfly — and he did it taking only one breath (at the turn). His time devastated the former world record for men 85-89 of 50.51 seconds, set two years ago by Japan's Y. Miyamoto. It also destroyed Walt Pfeiffer's six year-old American record of 52.74.
Carol "Penny" Taylor swept to US records in the three women's 75-79 breaststroke events. A 1948 Olympian, Taylor posted times of 51.32 for the 50, 1:58.91 for the 100 and 4:18.63 for the 200. Gertrud Zint had owned the 50 record at 53.94 for 11 years. June Krauser held the 100 (1:58.91) and 200m (4:23.44) standards.
San Diego Swim Masters' Jackie Marr, 61, nabbed the final American record when she posted a 3:26.57 for the 200m fly. Betsy Jordan's former record, 3:30.11, had stood since 1998.