By Stephen J. Thomas
PERTH, Western Australia, May 7. BACK in 1972 as a 15-year-old, Shane Gould set a world record in the 200m IM in a time of 2:23.56 when she took one of her three gold medals at the Munich Olympics. Gould retired from competitive swimming the following year, but her outstanding individual performance in winning medals in all freestyle events 100-200-400-800 for a total of three gold, one silver and one bronze will remain one of the great Olympic swimming achievements.
Two weeks ago at the National AUSSI Masters National Long Course Championships held in Perth 23-27 April, Gould set a new world record in the women's 45-49 years 200m IM in a time of 2:38.13. In doing so, she broke American Colette Crabbe's August 2001 mark of 2:38.84 and the Aussie record of 2:40.35 set in January by her main rival Down Under, Jenny Whitely (45).
The two women are well acquainted as Whitely, who is two years younger that Gould, used to swim in Forbes Carlile's amateur squad at the Ryde Swimming Club in Sydney, but has told SwimInfo that she used to get too nervous in competition and gave the sport up. Whitely has already set several world records since moving into the 45-49 age group, but along with several other leading Masters swimmers from the East coast, did not make the long journey across the continent for the meet. Gould, who now resides in the Margaret River south of Perth, also set three new national records and was crowned female swimmer of the meet.
The male swimmer of the meet award went to West Aussie Graham Croft, who set a world record in the 55-59 years 200 meter freestyle of 2:12.76. He broke American George Watson's mark set just last November of 2:13.76 and smashed the Aussie record of 2:18.68 set in 1996 by Olympic legend Murray Rose. Croft also set another five national records during the meet.
In all two individual world records, 40 individual and two relay national records were set by the 604 competitors.
For full results click here: Meet Results