By Phillip Whitten
SAN DIEGO, Calif., October 19. TWO Masters world records were ripped from the record book last Saturday, October 15, at a Masters short course meters meet held at the Healdsburg Swim Center in Healdsburg, Calif. The perps responsible for the latet assault are a familiar and notorious Gang of Five.
Gail Roper, still the leader of the destructive five at 76, blasted her own global standard for the 100-meter freetyle for women 75-79 with a swift 1:24.31, eclipsing the 1:24.39 she swam in Tempe in September of 2004. The Arizona Masters standout also zipped through 50 meters of breaststroke in 50.91 seconds to set a US national mark in her age group.
Swimming in the 240+ mixed relay age group, the Tamalpais foursome of Rich Burns (back), Ken Frost (breast), Laura Val (fly) and Nancy Ridout (free) hacked the previous world record of 2:17.68 and former American record of 2:23.08 to bits. Resembling a latter-day aquatic band of marauding Vikings, the quartet touched in a brilliant 2:14.42, leaving the previous marks broken and shattered in their wake.
The same group also torched the national mark for the 400 meter freestyle relay, clocking 4:34.45. The old standard was 4:50.91.