By Phillip Whitten
FEDERAL WAY, Aug. 15. As always, swiminfo will be covering the U.S. Masters Swimming National Long Course Swimming Championships, in Federal way, Washington. The four-day meet runs from Aug. 16-19.
Masters Nationals is usually a ten-ring circus, with so many extraordinary performances being posted, a spectator could get dizzy just trying to pay attention.
Such is the case this year, where some of the world's top Masters swimmers have aged-up and are ready to inflict mayhem on the already impressive world and national marks in their new age groups. Laura Val (now 50) and Ron Johnson (now 70) are just two of the Masters stalwarts who fall in this category.
But perhaps the most intriguing match-ups of this summer's meet will take place in the men's 40-44 age group, where Masters newcomer Paul Carter (SCAQ), a former NCAA All-America at the University of Tennessee, has thrown down the guantlet, announcing that his goal this summer is to set six Masters world marks, in the 50, 100 and 200 meter freestyle and butterfly.
Longer term, his goal is to become the oldest qualifier ever for the US Olympic Trials in 2004. Carter will be 46 at that meet. Carter has already bettered two of those records while swimming in USA Swimming meets. But walking away from Federal Way with six world marks – or even one or two – will not be easy, as Carter has plenty of competition.
Here's a rundown of his events:
50m freestyle (WR: 24.25, Brent Barnes)
Vail's Paul Smith, the short course champion, is seeded first at 25.00. Carter is second at 25.20. Both have a long way to go to reach Barnes' record.
100m freestyle (WR: 53.78, Jack Groselle)
Carter, Smith and Scott Steinbrinck are seeded in a tie for first at 55.00. Smith is the record holder at 100 yards (46.00).
200m freestyle (WR: 2:01.07, Joseph Rhyne)
Carter swam a 2:00.90 at the Janet Evans meet, faster than the Masters WR. This race will probably see the first sub 2-minute swim for a swimmer over 40. Carter has entered a 2:02.0, followed by former Arizona star Dennis Baker at 2:02.5. Smith the short course record-holder is third at 2:03.0, with Brett Phillips, a distance ace, right behind at 2:03.17.
50m butterfly (WR: 26.33, Bill Specht)
Two swimmers have entered at times under Specht's global mark: Smith at 25.80 and Carter at 26.20.
100m butterfly (WR: 57.79, Bill Specht)
Bill Specht's world record is one of the best in Masters swimming, but Carter has aalready beaten it. He swam 57.3 at a USA Swimming meet. Carter has entered at 58.40, followed by Smith (58.60), Baker (59.00, though he swam 58.90 at a USA Swimming meet) and Specht, who is still recovering from shoulder surgery (59.50).
200m butterfly (WR: 2:09.47, Bill Specht)
Though this was Carter's best event in college, it should be his toughest race here. Dennis Baker has already lowered Specht's mark twice at USA Swimming meets, with time of 2:07.84 and 2:08.14. Entered at 2:09.0, he's shooting for a 2:06 in Federal Way. Carter has entered at 2:12.0
Vail's Paul Smith, the short course champion, is