AUSTIN, Texas, July 5. LAST weekend at two special time trials held during the Texas Open, members of the Longhorn Aquatics Masters team set two long course meters relay world records.
On Saturday, the team of Chris Eckerman, Todd Bartee, Tyler Blessing and Mike Varozza swam a 4:10.99 in the 400 medley relay, breaking the world record of 4:11.57 in the 160-199 age group that had been held by the CWC Maebashi team in Japan since June 2010. The swim also broke the U.S. Masters Swimming national record of 4:11.72, set in 2006 by Arizona Masters.
Eckerman (backstroke) 1:01.53
Bartee (breaststroke) 1:14.45
Blessing (butterfly) 59.09
Varozza (freestyle) 55.92
Watch a video of the world record swim:
The following day, Ande Rasmussen joined with Eckerman, Blessing and Varozza to obliterate the world record in the 400 freestyle relay for the 160-199 age group with a 3:38.60. The former world record was 3:49.37, and belonged to the Lahden Kaleva team from Finland. The USMS national record stood at 3:41.49, set by Southern California Aquatics in 2009. Because FINA did not begin recognizing Masters world records in the 400 and 800 relays until January 2010, some USMS national records swum before then are faster than the world records.
Blessing, Varozza, Rasmussen and Bartee regularly team up to set relay world records in short course meters, currently laying claim to four of the five short course world records in the 160-199 age group. While this is Eckerman's first foray into the Masters world record books, he is no stranger to breaking records. He was part of the American record-setting 400-yard freestyle relay team for the University of Texas in 1994. That record time of 2:51.07 lasted until 1999.
Special thanks to Ande Rasmussen for contributing to this report.