Graham Johnston Destroys 1500m Free Record on Day One of US Masters Nationals

By Scott Rabalais

FEDERAL WAY, Wash., aug. 16. GRAHAM Johnston, swimming for Team Texas, took almost 2½ minutes off of the 1500-meter free world and USMS Record in the men's
70-74 age group at the first day of the USMS Long Course Nationals.

Johnston, 70, swam a 20:36.56 to lower the previous record of 22:59.14 by Roger Franks. His 800-meter split of 10:51.33 also beat the previous world
record, which was 12:03.73.

"I was pleased with my swim," said Johnston minutes afterward. "I haven't been that time in two years." In winning, Johnston did not show any ill effects of a hip injury that has hampered his training efforts

Earlier in the day, Jim McConica, 51, of Ventura County Masters, continued his assault on the record books with a world and USMS record in the 800-meter free for men ages 50-54. His time of 9:03.84 broke his own record set last year at 9:05.69.

"I was hoping to be under nine minutes, but obviously I missed by a couple of seconds" commented McConica.

His time was the second fastest overall time in the meet. McConica will face stiff competition later in
the meet in the 400 IM and 200 fly from Rick Colella. Though typically a freestyle swimmer, McConica is trying different events in this year's Nationals.

On the women's side, Suzanne Heim-Bowen showed her distance prowess by overwhelming the entire field in the 800 free. Heim-Bowen, 43, who swims for Walnut Creek Masters, posted a world and USMS record time of
9:25.64, eclipsing six seconds from the previous mark held by Jill Hernandez.

Julie Dolce, Garden State Masters, was the first 90 and over Masters female to break 30 minutes in the 800 free. Dolce, 92, recorded 28:07.33 in setting a world and USMS mark in the event.

In the women's 1500 free, the "Mother of Masters Swimming," June Krauser, Gold Coast Masters, showed her swimming superiority by setting a world and USMS mark in the 75-79 category. Her time of 27:40.67 lowered the previous record of 28:38.34.

"It's late, and I'm tired," said Krauser after the race, which concluded at 7:30 p.m. However, Krauser was quick to note that it was three hours later in her native Florida.

A USMS record was also set by James McCleery, PNA, who swam a 19:41.49 in the men's 55-59 age group.

Complete results of the meet can be viewed at

Competition at the Weyerhauser King County Aquatic Center continues on Friday.

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