Smith, Bowersock, Dunbar and Simonton Lead the Way on Day Three of the USMS Short Course Nationals

By Phillip Whitten

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana, April 24. ROBERT Smith, Wood Bowersock, Barbara Dunbar and Rita Simonton won two events each in national record time to pace a record-breaking spree on the third day of competition at the USMS Short Course National Championships at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis. In all, some 25 US Masters national records were swept away this day.

Robert and Woody
Robert Smith, of Oregon Masters, blasted Jeff Farrell’s seven year-old standard of 1:02.52 in the 100 IM for men 60-64. Smith, who touched in 1:01.51 was pushed all the way by Rich Burns, who also bettered Farrell’s time with a 1:02.37.

It was much the same story in the 50 back, with both Smith and Burns bettering Vinus van Baalen’s 60-64 record of 29.37 set last year. Smith destroyed the old record with a 27.62, with Burns following in 28.27. Smith is the consummate sprinter, but look for Burns, who already has broken the 100 backstroke mark, to shine in the 200 back.

Bowersock demonstrated his versatility by taking the 100 IM for men 90-94 in 2:09.23, erasing Jesse Coon’s four year-old standard of 2:17.22 by almost precisely eight seconds.

He followed by blasting the 100 yard freestyle mark when he touched in 1:32.89, splitting 45.85 – 47.04. The previous record was 1:40.64 by Gerson Sobel in 2000.

Barbara and Rita
Barbara Dunbar continued her record run with two new marks in the 55-59 age group. In the 200 fly, she knocked almost five seconds off Ardeth Mueller’s 2:37.42 from 2000 with her 2:32.60.

Mueller was Dunbar’s victim once again in the 500 free, as she carved more than 16 seconds off Mueller’s 2000 standard of 6:00.95. Dunbar now holds the mark now at 5:44.22.

Rita Simonton victimized Marjorie Sharpe twice, taking her 85-89 records from 2002 in both the 100 and 500 free. In the four-lapper, Simonton touched in 1:41.38, three-quarters of a second under Sharpe’s old standard. In the 500 she swam 9:41.04, eight-plus seconds better than Sharpe’s 9:49.71, though Simonton has two pending marks a little faster than her Indy swim.

Sabir and the Race Club
Former Stanford star Sabir Muhammad, 28, put on an awesome display of swimming speed and skill, as he led the Florida Keys-based Race Club in the 100 free. Swimming next to teammates Gary Hall, Jr., an eight-time Olympic medalist and the Race Club co-founder, and Aaron Ciarla, former NCAA champion from Auburn, Muhammad blazed a 42.91 for the 100 free after splitting 20.10 at the 50.

His time, which shattered Robert Peel’s 13 year-old USMS standard of 44.39 for men 25-29, was a lifetime best. Making it even more remarkable was the fact that it was swum unshaved and untapered. Also breaking the old mark was Hall, who touched in 44.27.

The race delighted the 1,000 or so assembled competitors who all gathered to watch several of our sport’s most accomplished athletes and ambassadors. When the race was over, there was a spontaneous, prolonged ovation for what all agreed was a virtuoso performance. Look for Muhammad and Hall to make a serious bid to make the 2004 US Olympic team.

Other Women’s Records
There were seven other women who broke records this day.

In a rare happening, Susan von der Lippe, RMM, took down Karlyn Pipes Neilsen’s 35-39 record for the 100 IM. The 1992 Olympian touched in 58.31 seconds to erase Pipes-Neilsen’s 58.54 from 2000.

Stanford Masters’ Daniela Barnea destroyed the 60-64 record for 200 yards fly in only the third time she has ever swum the event. Barnea’s 3:01.31 shattered Nancy Brown’s 3:06.97 that had stood for eight years.

In the 100 yard freestyle for women 19-24, Caroline Kilian, 23, touched in 51.66, erasing Rachel Komisarz’s 51.91 from 2001. Komisarz is a current member of the US National Team.

Joann Leilich added the 200 yard breaststroke to her records collection, clocking 3:03.68, more than 12 full seconds faster than Diane Stowell’s 3:15.83 standard for women 65-69 from 2002.

The incredible Suzanne Heim-Bowen lopped nine seconds off the 45-49 standard in the 500 yard freestyle, touching in 5:13.89. Laura Val was the former owner of that record with her 5:22.93 from 2001.

Jackie Marr, San Diego Swim Masters, scored a 60-64 record in the same event, as her 6:19.07 bettered Lavelle Stoinoff’s 6:22.62 set 11 years ago.

Well, lose one, win one. Unaffected by the loss of her 60-64 record, Multnomah’s Stoinoff notched a new 500 yard freestyle standard for women70-74 with her 6:46.78. The time destroys her own 7:01.93 from last year as well as her 6:56.12 from earlier this season.

Other Men’s Records
Eight additional men’s marks were established this day.

Tim Shead lowered his own men’s 50-54 record for 100 yards IM from 56.59 to 56.04. Also under the old standard set last year was Trip Hedrick, at 56.53.

Also lowering a record he already held was Hugh Wilder, who took his 50 yard backstroke mark for men 55-59 , set just last year, from 26.78 to 26.63.

Yoshi Oyakawa, the 1952 Olympic champion in the 100 back, took out a carving knife and proceeded to cut up Paul Hutinger’s 70-74 record of 31.84 for 50 yards backstroke set in 1995. Oyakawa’s 30.25 also devastated his own pending mark of 31.20.

Paul Smith, RMM, continues to prove that your last year in an age group needn’t be a slow year. Smith, 44, essentially even-split his 100 free to reduce the men’s 40-44 record to an amazing 45.95 seconds. His splits: 22.72 – 23.23. His Rocky Mountain teammate, John Smith (no relation), had held the old mark at 46.25. Today, John was out faster than Paul, 22.64 to 22.72, but could not maintain the torrid pace and “slipped” to 46.94. George and Ringo were non-factors in the race.

In the 50-54 age group, Trip Hedrick smoked a 48.16 for the 100 free, splitting 23.34 – 24.82. The old mark of 48.63 was set last year by Paul Trevisan, who finished second today in 48.87.

Dave Gray, another Rocky Mountains denizen, clocked 2:14.64 to take the 200 yard breaststroke mark for men 45-49 away from Stu Corliss, who had owned the previous standard of 2:15.24.

Dave Gildea chopped almost two seconds off Dru Gallagher’s 200 yard breaststroke record of 2:36.27 for men 60-64. The Stanford Masters ace touched in 2:34.36.

Fittingly, the Rocky Mountain Masters men’s 35+ team ended the day’s orgy of record-breaking, by taking the 200 yard medley relay record down to 1:35.04.

Susan von der Lippe at 2004 USMS Nationals, Indy

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