PHOENIX, Arizona, August 17. THE final day at the United States Masters Swimming Long Course Championships capped off an amazing weekend of swimming with more world records and fast times from many of the meet's standout swimmers.
Rita Simonton, 90 years old representing Golden West Swim Club, notched her third world record and fourth national record of the meet in the women's 400 freestyle with a 9:13.63. The lone competitor in the women's 90-94 age group at the meet, Simonton took one minute, 45 seconds off the world record formerly held by Great Britain's Willy van Rysel.
Jackie Marr set yet another national record in the 65-69 age group, swimming a 5:46.65 to remove Lavelle Stoinoff from the record books. And Claudia Poll continues to impress at her first masters nationals. Traveling from Costa Rica to swim in the muggy Oregon air, Poll didn't set any records or give anyone reason to believe the 36-year-old Olympian might make a Dara Torres-like comeback to the sport. But her return to the sport is a joy nonetheless.
With names like Karlyn Pipes-Nielson, Laura Val and June Krauser dominating the world record list in the women's 200 fly, the world record train was bound to screech to a halt at some point. And only Paul Carter was able to pull out a record in the men's event, swimming a national record time of 2:18.57 in the 50-54 age group. Carter is about three seconds off Hugo Bregman's world record.
The women's 100 back made up for the world record drought in the 200 fly event with four world records set. Laura Val set the first one in the 55-59 age group with a 1:14.41 to drop her own world mark by almost two seconds. Bonnie Bilich of Tri Valley Masters and Karen Andrus-Hughes of Oregon Masters both dipped under Karen Humphreys' world record of 1:14.19 in the 50-54 age group, but it was Andrus-Hughes who will be listed in the record books, as she touched first in 1:13.55. Bilich swam a 1:14.09.
The 100 back was one of the few records in the 45-49 age group Pipes-Nielson did not own coming into this meet, but she took Sue Walsh's standard of 1:09.66 off the record board and added the event to her long list of world records with a 1:08.48. And Noriko Inada, a finalist in this event at the 2000 Olympic Games, broke the 30-34 age group world mark with a 1:02.83 to add to the 50 back record she broke on Saturday.
Three of this weekend's top swimmers on the men's side provided the fireworks in the 100 back. Yoshi Oyakawa of Ohio Masters set his second world mark of the meet, swimming a 1:22.78 in the 75-79 age group. Unlike the 50 back, Oyakawa's mark in the 70-74 age group lived through the meet.
Richard Burns of Tamalpais Aquatic Masters set the next mark, swimming a 1:12.92 in the 65-69 age group to lower his own mark from this spring's world championships, which was 1:13.85.
Chris Stevenson of Virginia Masters flirted with the one-minute barrier in the 40-44 age group, breaking 1984 Olympian Rich Saeger's world record in the process with a 1:00.56. Saeger's record had stood at 1:00.64. It should be noted that 40-year-old Mike Ross, who owns the short course yards record in this age group, swam a 1:00.29 at the Santa Clara Invitational earlier this summer. But the meet was not sanctioned by United States Masters Swimming and will only count as a national record, provided the paperwork was submitted to USMS.
With Caroline Krattli, Japanese great Hitomi Matsuda and three-time Olympian Susan con der Lippe setting the bar so high in the womens' 200 breast, no world records were set in the event. Katie McClelland gave Matsuda's record another scare, but fell short again with a still blistering time of 2:41.63 in the 30-34 age group. The time was just .12 slower than Wenke Hansen's national mark.
Gary Marshall came up just short of the world record in the 100 breast in the 25-29 age group, but obliterated the standard in the 200 distance. Marshall, a finalist in the Olympic Trials in 2004 and NCAA champion, swam an impressive 2:16.70 to take four seconds off the world mark formerly held by Australia's Simon Leighfield and almost 10 seconds off the 12-year-old mark of 2:26.32 by Abraham Solano.
David Guthrie broke the world record in the 45-49 age group's 200 breast two months ago with a 2:30.44. He's now the oldest man to break the 2:30 barrier, swimming a 2:27.79.
Timothy Shead swam an impressive 2:41.54 in the 55-59 age group at this year's world championships to set what was then believed to be a tough mark to break. Rick Colella of Pacific Northwest Aquatics didn't think so. He sliced three seconds off Shead's mark with a 2:38.66. Robert Strand, who saw Colella break his national mark in the 55-59 age group, was still able to celebrate his world record in the 60-64 age group. Strand took eight tenths off his two-year-old record down to 2:51.10. Richard Todd of Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters set his second national record of the meet, swimming a 3:02.85 in the 65-69 age group to lower his own mark.
Laura Val provided the only world record in the women's 50 free, swimming a 28.69 to lower her own mark by .15 seconds. Margery Meyer reset her own national standard in the 85-89 age group with a 47.85.
The men's 50 free featured only one national record. Brian Jacobson, a former member of the USA Swimming national team and a participant at the 2008 Olympic Trials, broke James Lilley's 10-year-old mark with a 23.98.
The 72-99 team of Fort Lauderdale Masters set another relay national record of the meet, this time swimming the women's medley relay in 2:11.85.
Oregon Masters' team in the 200-239 women's medley relay provided spectators with the final world record of the meet, as no men's relay could break any world marks. Led by Karen Andrus-Hughes on the backstroke leg, the team swam to a 2:10.98 to obliterate the world record of 2:15.21 set in 2006 by Walnut Creek Masters.