By Phillip Whitten
TEMPE, Arizona, December 14. SEVEN Masters world records, ten Masters American records and a USA Swimming American record were shattered at the Southwest Zone Short Course Meters Masters Championships, held December 10-11 at Arizona State University in Tempe. The Arizona sunshine and warm winter weather attracted some 300 competitors from as far away as Hawaii, Canada and Illinois.
Masters World Records
Susan von der Lippe, nee Susan Rapp — a two-time US Olympian and 1984 Olympic silver medalist – accounted for five of the seven Masters world marks. Swimming in the tough women’s 40-44 age group, the Colorado Masters superstar, who already has qualified for the 2008 US Olympic Trials, simply tore up the record book.
The sixth Masters world record was set by Gail Roper, Arizona Masters, in the women’s 75-79 division. Roper also came within hundredths of a second of breaking her own records in two other events as well. Chuck Baldwin was responsible for theseventh record, devastating a very good record by over four seconds.
Von der Lippe, 40, set global marks in the 50, 100 and 200 meter breaststroke, plus the 50 and 100-meter fly. She also just missed setting records in the 100 free, 200 fly and 100 IM.
All three of the breaststroke records von der Lippe set had been owned by San Diego Swim Masters’ Caroline Krattli, who swam brilliantly in their defense. Von der Lippe clocked times of 32.99 for the 50, 1:11.52 for the 100 and 2:35.85 for the 200 meters breaststroke. Krattli’s records, set two to three years ago, had stood at 33.67, 1:12.08 and 2:39.10. She swam close to those times this weekend.
In the 50 fly, von der Lippe’s 28.21 obliterated the five year-old record of 29.45 set by Britain’s Marie Sadler. Her 1:02.37 eclipsed Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen’s 1:03.31 from 2002. Pipes-Neilsen clocked 1:03.93 this weekend.
Von der Lippe, whose new 40-44 records are all faster than the records in the 35-39 age group, almost knocked off two other global marks. In the 200 fly, she was ahead of world record pace through 175 meters, only to falter on the final few strokes. Her 2:21.07 fell just shy of Pipes-Neilsen’s 2002 standard of 2:20.79.
In the 100 IM, von der Lippe and Pipes-Neilsen waged an epic battle, with von der Lippe taking the lead on the fly, Pipes-Neilsen overtaking her on the back, and von der Lippe coming back on the breast. The two then swam stroke-for-stroke for the final 25 meters of freestyle, with Pipes-Neilsen out-touching her rival by the smallest of margins, 1:05.72 to 1:05.73. Pipes-Neilsen’s world record stands at 1:05.56. Third and fourth place in that race were speedy as well, with Krattli touching at 1:09.64, followed by Marika McCue at 1:10.40.
Gail Roper, a 1952 US Olympian accounted for the weekend’s sixth Masters world record as she destroyed June Krauser’s 2001 standard of 3:43.58 for the women’s 200m IM in the 75-79 age group. Roper was more than six seconds faster at 3:37.24.
Roper then just missed breaking her own records set last year in two events. In the 50m free, her 37.31 was a mere 7-hundredths off her record. Her 1:38.27 for the 100 IM was only 16-hundredths slower than her global standard.
Chuck Baldwin, swimming for the Masters of South Texas, posted the seventh world record when he took down the 100 IM standard for men 75-79. Baldwin's 1:20.47 destroyed the previous mark of 1:24.90 held by Frank Piemme.
US National Masters Records
Eight national USMS records were broken and another equaled in Tempe in addition to the six world records (which, of course, were also national records).
US National Team member, Nick Brunelli accounted for four of the new marks. Swimming in the men’s 18-24 age group for Sun Devils Masters, Brunelli turned in times of 21.18 for the 50m freestyle, 48.00 for the 100 free, 1:47.32 for the 200 free and 2:00.32 for the 200 IM. The previous marks, two of which had stood for longer than a decade were 22.84, 51.67, 1:54.23 and 2:08.88.
Brunelli’s 50-meter freestyle time was also a USA Swimming national record (see previous story). This is the first time a US national record has been set in Masters competition, although in August 1983 Kevin De Forrest swam 22.59 for the long course 50m free at the USMS Nationals in Indianapolis, just missing the US national record of 22.54 held by Robin Loamy. De Forrest’s time still stands as the USMS and world Masters record in the men’s 25-29 age group.
Greg Owens, 24, also contributed to the carnage in the men’s 18-24 division by destroying the 50 and 100-meter breaststroke records. The former University of Arizona standout, now representing Tucson Ford Aquatics Masters, stroked times of 28.69 for the 50 and 1:01.75 for the 100. The previous records were 29.76 and 1:05.45, respectively.
Argentina’s Florencia Szigeti, 24, swimming unattached, threw down a swift 26.07 for the 50 free, erasing Alison Terry’s USMS mark of 26.19 from 1998. Szigeti also clocked 58.36 for the 100 free, exactly half a second behind Terry’s record of 57.86 from 1999.
Diane Stowall, 71 and representing Hawaii Masters, overcame jet lag from an overnight flight to post a 3:43.02 for the 200m breaststroke. The time easily bettered the former USMS standard of 3:45.66 set by Ann Hirsch four years ago.
Betty-Ann Barnett Salle, who was a flight attendant on the flight from Hawaii, equaled her own American record in the 50m back for women 55-59 and just missed the US and world records for the 100. Barnett-Salle’s 36.07 tied the time she swam four years ago. Her 100 time of 1:19.51 was just shy of her US record of 1:19.20 from 2001 and the world record of 1:19.17. Not bad for a woman at the top of her age group who hasn’t trained in a pool since 2001. (She swims in the ocean three times a week.)
Evie Lynch, 53, of Tucson Ford Aquatics Masters, just missed setting records for 100 and 200 meters backstroke for women 50-54. Her 1:13.88 for the 100 was less than a second off the world mark of 1:12.95 held by Laura Val, while her 2:41.56 for the 200 was even closer to Val’s national record of 2:41.20.