By Phillip Whitten
PISCATAWAY, NJ, August 16. SIX more world records were blown away on Day Four of the USMS National Long Course Championships at Rutgers University. That brings the four-day total to 19, with one day of competition remaining.
The most exciting race of the meet – by far – was the 200 meter backstroke for men 45-49. As the field in the fastest heat took its mark, four men had a legitimate shot at breaking the global standard of 2:20.37 held by Canada's Wieslaw Musial, swimming in lane four.
North Carolina's Fritz Lehman took the race out hardest, splitting 32.26 at the 50, with St. Pete's Bill Specht right behind at 32.42. At the 100, Lehman had widened his lead with a 1:07.19 split. Specht followed at 1:08.32 with Musial turning in 1:08.64 and Arizona's Scott Shake seemingly out of contention at 1:09.38.
Lehman held his lead on the third lap, turning exactly one second ahead of Specht and Musial with Shake another second in arrears.
But Musial and Shake were biding their time, and they made their move on the final lap. At the touch, it was Musial in 2:18.61, followed by Lehman at 2:19.07, Shake at 2:19.18 and Specht at 2:20.14. All four men had broken the world record. But when all was said and done, the same man who held the record before the race still owned it afterwards.
Lehman's time, of course, is the new USMS national record.
In the 55-59 age group, resilient Tod Spieker, representing The Olympic Club, notched his second world mark of the meet with a 2:30.82 second effort. Not bad for a guy who was carried off in a stretcher three days ago.
In the women's 200 back, Canada's Bonnie Pronk set a Canadian mark of 3:04.51 in grabbbing the gold.
The 100 free saw three world records and five US national records swept away, all by women.
Metro's Maria Doelger, 40, set her first-ever world record with a super 58.43. The old mark of 59.13 for women 40-44 was set just last year by Beth Emery.
Just one age group up the ladder, Suzanne Heim-Bowen added the 100 free to her sweep of all the 45-49 records from 100 to 1500 meters. The Walnut Creek
Masters master clocked 1:02.19, just under the old mark of 1:02.34 by France's Berger-Tolochino from 2002.
In the 85-89 division, Golden West's Rita Simonton notched her third world mark here at Rutgers with a 1:48.75 second effort – four seconds better than Eric the Eel in Sydney three years ago.
USMS national records were set by Francine Williamson, GAJA, with a 1:09.55 in the 55-59 age group, and Jackie Marr, whose 1:14.16 ws the fastest-ever swim by an American woman in the 60-64 division. The national records were the second for Williamson and fourth for Marr here at Rutgers.
The men's 50 meter breaststroke saw one world and one additional national mark tumble. In the 60-64 age group, San Diego's Pete Andersen swam to a world record 34.42. Two days ago he set a US national record in the 100 of 1:18.63.
Connectiut's Charles Urstadt zipped to a US national record 41.69 for men 75-79.
With one day to go, the team battle remains very close and still up for grabs. Host Garden State Masters leads with 1,777.5 points. Colonials 1776 follows with 1,709.5, while New England is third with 1288.