Palfrey, Vaca, Welbourn Pace the Fields in the 800 Free at World Masters Games

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, Octonber 11. NO world records were broken on Day 5 of the 2002 World Masters Games here this evening, but fast swimming in the 800 free was the order of the day.

On the women's side, Australia's Penny Palfrey, already world record-holder in the 400-800 freestyles from the World Championships earlier this year, added the 800 gold to the 400 she won yesterday with a nice
9:39.50 performance. Her WR is 9:24.90.

In women's 45-49, Mexico's Laura Vaca stroked to her second gold with a fine 10:17.99-10:54.25 victory over Great Britain's Jaye Ball, who was also runner-up in the 400 free. Vaca had earlier won the 200 IM with a solid 2:47.96 clocking and was second in the 100 fly (1:14.93).

Vaca's time was actually the best swim in the entire event — both for women and men. Her 10:17.39 was only nine seconds off the WR of 10:08.23, held by the USA's Laura Val.

Another noteworthy time was in the 75-79 800, where New South Wales' Liz Wallin won in 14:58.78. The world record is 14:10.50 by America's June Krauser from last year.

There were no American winners, though Marion Chadwick (29:16.75) placed second behind Australia's Helen Jackson (28:16.07) in the 80-84 division.

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On the men's side, Western Australia's Simon Martin, competing in the 50-54 age group, raced to his third gold of the competition with a solid 9:56.50 800 free victory. He already had won the 100 free (59.95) and yesterday picked up a No. 1 in the 400 free (4:44.52).

A pair of Americans stroked to a one-two finish in the 80-84 men's 800, with 80-year-old Gilbert Young winning in 15:39.52 and compatriot Herbert Hoepiner
taking the silver (16:39.52). They were Uncle Sam's only men's medalists from Day 5.

Showing that journalists are also athletes despite suggestions to the contrary, Great Britain's Andy Wilson won his third gold tonight when he touched in 10:23.86 for the 800 to take the title in the 55-59 category. He co-edits his country's Masters publication and earlier had won the 200 and 400 free.

Aussie John Mills, the terror of the 75-79 group, picked up his third gold with a 13:25.99 800 free triumph — not too far off the world mark of 12:52.31 by America's Frank Piemme from two years ago. Piemme also holds the 1500 free world record (24:49.56).

Earlier Mills had won the 400 free (6:21.53) and the 100 free (1:16.97).

Canadian Olympian Graham Welbourn in the 40-44 category won his third gold of the competition with a 9:09.53 800 free swim, fastest of the meet. His other wins came in the 200 and 400 free. The United States' Joseph Rhyne (8:48.69) owns the world record from '99 so Welbourn's is a very fine effort.

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