By Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen
CLEVELAND, August 16. DAY Two of the USMS Long Course Masters National Championships got underway at the Cleveland State University Natatorium promptly at eight a.m. today (that’s five a.m. to those west coast swimmers still on PST). Despite the early hour, it did not take long before FINA world and USMS records started tumbling right and left.
Reaching the top of your age group usually means mid-pack results amounting to an occasional medal or two. Not for 44 year-old Lisa Van Pelt-Diller who established the first world record of the day in the 100 back with a 1:10.38, a time that just barely squeaked past Beth Baker’s 1:10.45 established in 2001. However, Van Pelt-Diller will have to settle for the WR, since Baker swam a faster time of 1:09.68 at a USA meet and still holds the USMS record.
Teammate Clay Britt, 41, also had an awesome morning swim with a blistering 1:00.91, bettering the previous world best of 1:02.48 set by Bill Specht in 1998. Hugh Wilder knocked seven-tenths off the 55-59 age group USMS and world record with a quick 1:08.55, slipping right past the former mark of 1:09.27 set by Tim Birnie in 2000. In the past week, Birnie has lost three world records to up and coming 55-year old speedsters.
The 200 free saw only one record fall as veteran Margery Meyer, 80, added another notch to her goggle strap. Meyer swam a time of 3:40.42 in the 200 free, taking almost four seconds off Japan’s Ume Wada’s time of 3:44.00 established way back in 1992. Meyer also broke Rita Simonton’s USMS record of 3:44.19.
Judging by the five world records set in this event, it appears that the swimmers at the meet were really starting to wake up! The women’s 40-44 age group record book took another hit as local Ohio swimmer Elizabeth Emory, 41, swam a blazing 28.97. Emory’s time was the fastest for all women in this event, as well as a world and national record by over a half second. Emory thrashed Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen’s record of 29.58 swum in Las Vegas in June.
Joy Ward, 60, of Oregon Masters hacked almost a second off Irish lass Claire O’Dwyer’s time of 36.56 with a very speedy 35.62. Ward also broke Sarah Brougher’s 36.24 USMS record set last year. Hmmm…the USMS is faster than the world. Must have been swum at a USA meet.
On the men’s side, Wade King, 35, a former college All-America swimming unattached, finished his one length of butterfly in 25 seconds flat, taking 77 one-hundredths of Tyler Jourdannais world mark set of 25.77 in 2000.
57-year old Rick Abraham’s of Rocky Mountain Masters is getting older and faster. Abraham’s nicked a few tenths of a second off his own mark in the 5o fly with a 27.43, quicker than the 27.76 he swam in 2001.
Rounding out the 50 fly record spree was Bill Muter, 60, of San Diego Swim Masters. Muter, competing in his first Nationals in quite some years, blazed to a 29.83 less than one tenth faster than the global standard set by Japan’s Chitoshi Konishi’s 29.89 set earlier this year. On the national front, Muter’s time erased Bert Peterson’s USMS record of 30.81 set in 2001.
Only one record fell in this event to German swimmer Jennifer Merrit, 51, who lowered her own world record of 3:04.70 to a 3:04.41. If Merrit possesses a current USMS card (the only requirement to break a USMS record), then she also broke Susan Jones-Roy national record of 3:09.09 established in 2001.
Only one world and one USMS record fell in what must have been a real grueling end-of-a-really-long-day-swim. In the 45-49 age group, Karen Einsidler, 46, from Metro Masters swam a respectable 5:43.59, a time that shaved over a second off Colette Crabbe’s global standard of 5:44.80 done in 2001.
Twenty-six year old Honza Vitazka, swimming for Greater Columbus Masters, missed Nick Granger’s 400-meter medley world record of 4:31.47, but managed to slide right past Alex Kostich’s USMS record of 4:32.90, with a 4:32.19.