INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, May 8. OLYMPIC and NCAA champions will mingle with first-time competitors this week at the famed IU Natatorium for the U.S. Masters Swimming short course yards national championships.
More than 1,600 athletes are scheduled to race in Indianapolis, keeping the annual spring nationals one of the most-attended swimming meets in the United States. Swimmers as young as 18 and as “mature” as 91 will take to the pool in the four-day meet.
Among the notable names on the meet roster is Dave Wharton, one of the legendary names in the annals of the Olympics and NCAA championships. He returns to the national championships after last racing at the 2010 meet. Wharton won four straight 400 IM titles at the NCAAs for the University of Southern California and won a silver medal in the 400 IM at the 1988 Olympics. Watch for an interview with Wharton on the May 8 edition of The Morning Swim Show on swimmingworld.com and swimmingworld.tv!
Jim McConica, whose long list of accomplishments include multiple NCAA championships at the University of Southern California and a world record in the 800 free relay, will be another one to watch. In Masters, many would regard his participation in the Ventura Deep Six 202-mile swim as his crowning achievement, though numerous pool world records will rank up there as well. McConica was one of the World Masters Swimmers of the Year honored in last month's Swimming World Magazine.
Rick Colella, a two-time Olympian who earned a bronze medal in the 200 breast at the 1976 Olympics, rarely leaves a meet with breaking records, and should be counted on to do so this week. Like McConica, Colella was one of the 12 World Masters Swimmers of the Year honored in the April issue of Swimming World Magazine.
Adam Ritter, who won the 200 IM at the 2007 NCAA championships representing the University of Arizona, will represent the Columbus Sharks Masters and will attend the meet with younger brother Kyle and parents James and Susan. Adam Ritter could put a scare into a few of the national records in the 25-29 age group.
Tamas Kerekjarto, a three-time Olympian for Hungary, is making a return to Masters swimming after breaking numerous Masters national and world records in 2008 and 2009. Another foreign Olympian, Jeremy Knowles, competed for the Bahamas at three Olympics and will be joined at nationals by his father Andy, who now coaches the Bahamas national team.
Though she never raced for Olympic gold, Bev Montrella holds the distinction as the first female manager of the U.S. Olympic team, and is the wife of Olympic coach Jim Montrella. Bobby Patten has been the head coach of Dallas Aquatic Masters since the early 1990s, and before that was an American record holder in the 400 medley relay and part of numerous national teams.
Olympic gold medalist Misty Hyman, who stunned the world by winning the 200 fly at the Sydney Games, was scheduled to race in the meet, but will be sidelined after injuring her knee during a skiing incident last month.
Two other swimmers on the list of Swimming World Magazine's World Masters Swimmers of the Year for 2012, Laura Val and Robert Strand, also will race in Indianapolis. Also look for many other national record holders at the meet, including Steve West, who reigns as the oldest male to ever compete at the U.S. Olympic Swimming Trials, having done so last year at 40 years old.
Leslie Livingston and David Sims will be looking to lower the national records they set a couple of weeks ago. For Sims, that could include lowering his barrier-busting time of 1:59.26 in the 200 butterfly from the Illinois Masters championships, when he became the oldest man under two minutes in the event. Livingston has made a career out of breaking records in the 50 butterfly, backstroke and freestyle events, and could continue that streak this week in Indianapolis.
The meet will be streamed live on U.S. Masters Swimming's website beginning at 8 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time.
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Click here to see the list of 1,633 swimmers racing in Indianapolis.