BRISBANE, Australia, February 25. MASTERS swimmer and Australian swimming legend Shane Gould is planning to compete at the Australian National Championships and Olympic Trials more than 30 years after she won three gold medals at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The story is reported tomorrow by the Australian AP press service.
"The 47-year-old mother of four — and soon to be grandmother — will contest the 50 meters butterfly at the National Championships in Sydney on April 1. The 50 butterfly is not an Olympic event, however, so she has no prospect of going to Athens."
Several American Masters swimmers in their forties are hoping to meet the qualifying standards so they can compete at the US Olympic Trials in July. These include Paul Carter, 46, in the 100 meter butterfly and Dennis Baker, 43, in the 200 meter fly. Both have come within a few tenths of a second of the Trials cuts.
"'I can assure you that even though I'll be swimming on April Fool's Day, this is no joke,' Gould told New Idea magazine. 'When Susie O'Neill was 26 years of age they called her the grandma of the swimming, so imagine what they'll call me.'"
Gould qualified for the Olympic Trials by clocking 30.32 seconds for the 50 fly in winning gold at last year's United States Masters Championships at Rutgers University. The qualifying time is 30.50.
'I could have turned and gone back for another 50,' Gould says on her website of the swim, which was just 0.02 seconds outside the Masters world record for women 45-49, held by Germany's Angela Zingler.
"Gould would have to swim about four seconds faster than her qualifying time to challenge the likes of Petria Thomas. Her time of 30.32 would only have placed her 45th at last year's Aussie Nationals.
G"ould said she had realistic expectations about her comeback but she hoped it would inspire others to be active at any age. 'Some of my competitors are younger than my own children, so there is some anxiety, she said. 'But I have qualified, so I'll give it my best shot.'"