By Phillip Whitten
April 18. MASTERS records fell on both sides of the Atlantic in recent meets. In England, the incomparable Jane Asher wiped no fewer than seven Masters world records from the books in one meet while in the USA, Mike Shelby took down a U.S. national mark.
Shelby, 23, competing in the Ohio Splash Aquaphenia meet on April 1, won three events in the men’s 18-24 age group. He took the 100-yard individual medley in 55.76 and the 100 fly in a very fast 51.37. But he was saving the best for last.
In the meet’s final event, the 50-yard fly, Shelby, swimming unattached, uncorked a 22.16 second effort, destroying the previous Masters record for the age group, a 22.42 set three years ago by Adam Conway.
Asher was a one-woman wrecking crew, taking an ax, Lizzie Borden style, to the Masters short course world record book at the 15th Guernsey Masters Open, March 24-26.
Asher swam eight events in Guernsey and came away with eight gold medals and seven new world records for women 75-79, her new age group. She didn’t just break the records, previously held by some of the most illustrious names in Masters swimming, she gave them an old-fashioned, back of the barn, whuppin’.
Asher began by clocking 6:11.38 for the 400-meter freestyle, almost 33 seconds faster than the old mark of 6:44.09, set by Jean Troy (USA) four years ago. She then followed by slicing almost six seconds from Gail Roper’s 100-meter free mark of 1:24.31, set last year, with a sparkling 1:18.59.
Roper’s 44.18 for the 50-meter fly, swum two years ago, was no match for Asher who touched in 40.71. Then she sped to a 3:31.20 for the 200 IM, comfortably under June Krauser’s record of 3:43.58 from 2001.
In the 100 fly, Asher’s 1:45.10 was some five seconds faster than Austrian Sylvia Neuhauser swam in ’04. But in the 200 fly, Asher stumbled, not even approaching Neuhauser’s WR with her 4:06.06.
The next day, the British phenom was back to her old tricks, blasting Roper’s 100m IM standard of 1:38.11 from 2004 with a 1:32.92. Roper was on the receiving end again in Asher’s final swim, as the speedy Brit stroked through 50 meters of freestyle in 35.58 seconds, easily under the American’s two year-old standard of 37.24.