By Phillip Whitten
PALMA DE MALLORCA, Spain. July 4. SEVEN women's Masters world records were shattered – five in the 50 meter breaststroke – to highlight competition on Day Two of the European Masters Swimming Championships in Palma on the sunny island paradise of Mallorca, Spain. Seventeen European marks bit the dust, one more than the 16 that fell yesterday.
By far, the most prolific event for today's record-breakers was the 50m breaststroke, where five European marks weree destroyed – all in world-record time.
Perhaps the most impressive performance was turned in by Great Britain's Maggie Kelly. The former British national champion, now 45, clocked 34.74 seconds for the one-lap sprint, smashing the listed world 45-49 mark of 36.97 by US Olympian Susan Roy back in 1994 by more than two-and-a-half seconds.
The old European mark was 38.37 seconds by Switzerland's Regula Steiger in 1998. Steiger was second today in 38.24, under her old mark but a distant second to Kelly.
In the 80-84 division, France's Michele Guillais touched in 56.99, erasing the world and European standard of 59.60 by Britain's Dorothy Weston set in 1993. Germany's Ingeborg Fritze was second in 58.63, also well under the old mark.
One age group down, Russia's Olga Kokorina became the first woman over 75 to crack 50 seconds. The Neva Stars star clocked 49.52 seconds, destroying the European standard of 52.29 she set at these Championships two years ago. The old world record was 50.65 by Japan's Satoko Suzuki in 1999.
Germany's Monica Senftleben just doesn't slow down. Now 59, Sentfleben lowered her own 55-59 world and European standard from 39.43, set three years ago, to 39.01. Senftleben still holds the Euro mark for women 50-54 at 39.52, a time she recorded nine years ago.
Finally, Russia's Olga Alexeeva, 34, took down the USA's Wenke Hansen's 30-34 mark of 33.84, set in '99, with a 33.71 swim. The old Euro mark was 34.46 by former East German Wundermadchen, Silke Horner-Schuck, in 1995. Horner-Schuck was the 1988 Olympic champion in the 200m breast.
Second place tonight went to France's Elena Volkova in 35.21. Volkova represented the USSR at the 1991 World Championships in Perth, where she won gold in the 200m breast.
The men's 50m breast saw some outstanding performances, but among the 596 men competing in the event, not one was able to lower a European record.
One world record was set in both the women's 100 fly and 200 free. In the 100m fly for women 75-79, Austria's Sylvia Neuhauser scraped two-hundredths of a second off her own world mark set last year, as she hit the pads in 1:48.17.
Britain's Jane Asher notched her second global standard of the meet, this time becoming the first woman over 70 to crack three minutes for the 200m free.
Asher, 70, finished in 2:57.43, breaking the USA's Gail Roper's 3:01.28 from 1999.
Asher dominated a race that saw the top three finishers all swim under the old European record of 3:22.83 by Sweden's Britt Grilli. Denmark's Grethe Bendsten was second in 3:18.07 while Grilli touched in 3:18.60, more than four seconds faster than in 1998 when she set the former European mark.
100 meter Butterfly
Four European records fell in the 100m fly in addition to Neuhausser's world mark.
In the men's 35-39 age group, Italy's Andrea Toja split 28.06 on his way to a 59.31 final time. Ukraine's Sergei Fesenko, the 1980 Olympic champion in the 200m fly, owned the old continental mark of 59.60 set seven years ago. For the second time in two days, Holland's Edwin Van Norden broke the Euro mark only to finish second. Leading at the 50 (27.70), the Dutchman faded slightly to finish in 59.40.
Germany's Peter Nocke, 46, a West German Olympian, was only third at the 50 meter mark (30.55), but he came roaring back to win the 45-49 event in a Euro record time of 1:03.07. The old mark was 1:03.73 by Britain's Eric Henderson in 1996.
Britain's Marie Sadler broke her own continental standard of 1:08.11 for women 40-44 with her 1:07.59. She needed all of that effort as Germany's Barbara Gellrich was only three-hundredths behind, and also well under the old mark.
In the 45-49 age group, another swimmer lowered her own European mark. In 1999, Germany's Angela Zimmer had established Europe's best swim with her 1:13.17. Now, two years older and wiser, she was also almost two seconds faster, touching in 1:11.31.
200 meter Freestyle
In addition to Asher's world record swim, six other European records in the 200m free were thrown into the trash bin of history.
Germany's Jochen Bruha split 55.52 and finished in 1:56.02 to break the 30-34 record. The old mark of 1:57.54 was set by countryman Kai Ditzel in 1994.
Britain's Stewphen Mellor had a swift four-lapper in the 25-29 division. Splitting 55.40 at the 100, the 28 year-old Brit came back strong to touch in 1:53.86, one second under the Euro record of 1:54.87 set in 1996 by his countryman, Neil Tate.
Germany's Christel Schulz, 61, took the women's 60-64 continental standard under 2:50. Her 2:43.46 wiped out Jane Asher's 2:51.82 from 1992.
In the 55-59 division, Britain's Carol Fellows was the first of three swimmers to touch under Spain's Susana Barkley's European record of 2:39.41 from last year. Fellows finished in 2:37.12, followed by Barkley (2:38.38) and Germany's Brigitte Merten (2:39.15).
Holland's Atie Pijtak-Radersma notched her second European record for women 45-49. Splitting her race beautifully, she went out in 1:09.20 and finished in 2:21.86, five seconds faster than the old record of 2:26.83 by another Dutch swimmer, Conny Boers-Buy in 1997.
Finally, Barbara Gellrich, who broke the 100 fly standard for women 40-44 but finished three-hundredths behind the winner, got the record she was looking for. The German ace clocked 2:16.19, more than three seconds faster than the listed Euro mark of 2:19.55 set in 1998 by France's Guylaine Berger.