Masters World Marks Tumble at Long Beach Invitational; Hernandez, Hansen, McConica Shine

By Phillip Whitten

AN astounding 55 Masters world records were swept away at the 8th Annual Holiday Invitational and 2000 Southwest Zone Short Course Meters Championships, held last Dec. 8-10 at the Belmont Plaza Pool in Long Beach, California.

Thirty-three records were set by men, while women accounted for 22 new global marks. Even more impressive than the number of records was the quality of the new standards. Some–in the 40-44 and under age groups–were genuine world class times in elite competition.

Jill Hernandez led all swimmers with no fewer than seven new world records for women 40-44. Hernandez set marks in the 100m free (58.81), 200m free (2:06.81), 400m free (4:24.22), 50m fly (30.15), 100m fly (1:05.84), 200m IM (2:22.51) and 400m IM (5:02.17). Some of her records chopped huge chunks of time off the old standards.

Ojai-Santa Barbara's Wenke Hansen was right behind Hernandez with six new Masters records in the women's 30-34 age group. Hansen, 31, clocked 32.82 for the 50m breast, 1:10.00 for the 100m breast; 2:30.65 for the 200m breast; 28.34 for the 50m fly; 1:02.70 for the 100m fly; and 2:18.89 for the 200m IM. Hansen's breaststroke times–swum unshaved–would place her high up in the current FINA World Cup competition.

Jim McConica set awe-inspiring records in the men's 50-54 division, again hacking huge margins off very respectable former global marks. McConica, 50, swept to times of 56.32 for the 100m free; 1:58.37 for the 200m free; 4:07.99 for the 400m free; 8:44.51s for the 800 free; and 16:33.02 for the 1500.

Four swimmers notched four world records apiece:
Karlyn Pipes-Nielsen, 38, set women's 35-39 records in the 100m free (57.65); 50m fly (29.04); 100m IM (1:05.40); and 200m IM (2:19.08).
Tim Birnie, 55, set men's 55-59 standards in the 200m free (2:06.94); 400m free (4:32.83); 100m back (1:04.89) and 200m back (2:24.72).
Frank Piemme set his records in the men's 75-79 age group: 100m free (1:11.55); 50m fly (34.83); 100m IM (1:24.90); and 400m IM (6:59.68).
Jim Eubank was the terror of the 85-89 set, netting records in the 50m free (36.61); 400m free (7:19.94); 800m free (16:00.80s); and 1500m free (29:55.47), becoming, at 85, the oldest person ever to break 30 minutes for the metric mile.

Four swimmers scored with three world records each:
Caroline Krattli, 38, obliterated her own WRs in the women's 35-39 breaststroke events, going 33.03 for the 50, 1:11.97 for the 100 and 2:36.04 for the 200m.
Alex Kostich had three men's 30-34 marks: 3:58.40 for the 400m free; 8:17.06s for the 800 and 15:51.07 for the 1500. Interestingly, Kostich owns the WR for men 25-29 at 3:58.23.
Mike Ahern was a triple record-setter in the men's 55-59 age group, clocking 26.50 for 50m free, 57.85 for the 100m free, and 1:08.00 for the 100m IM.
Chuck Baldwin swam to men's 70-74 records in the 50m free (29.77); 100m free (1:06.70) and 100m IM (1:19.43).

Other world records set:
Women 40-44: Sandy Neilsen-Bell, 100m IM, 1:11.13

Women 55-59: Jackie Marr, 200m back, 2:58.14

Men 30-34: Derek Robinson, 50m back, 25.95

Men 35-39: Mike Shaffer, 400m free, 4:02.52

Men 50-54: Roger Hawkins, 50m free, 25.29

Men 60-64: Jeff Farrell, 50m free, 26.31; 100m free, 1:00.24

Men 65-69: Everett Smethurst, 200m back, 2:42.20

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