Val, Commings Set Masters World Marks in Arizona

By Phil Whitten

TEMPE, Arizona, November 30. LAURA Val and Jeff Commings each set a world Masters record to highlight competition on the second day of the Southwest Zone Short Course Meters Championships, held at Arizona State University on November 19.

On a perfect, 80-degree, late-autumn day, Val, 55, smashed the 800-meter freestyle mark for women 55-59 with a blistering10:08.33, more than nine seconds under Barbara Dunbar's world and American standard of 10:17.86 set in 2004.

Val picked up a second American record with her 32.48-second effort in the 50-meter fly, more than a sec0nd faster than Ardeth Mueller's 33.66 from 1997. The world record of 31.92 was set in 2000 by Britain's Judy Wilson.

The Tamalpais (Calif.) ace also devastated the listed world and American records in the 100 free – Dunbar's 1:07.59 and Holland's Conny Boer-Buy's 1:06.51 – with a blistering 1:03.43, but she has a faster time — 1:03.30 – pending.

Former Texas standout Jeff Commings, 32, set a world record in the 50-meter breaststroke for men 30-34, giving him two for the weekend. Commings' 28.30 obliterated the domestic standard of 29.21 set by another Texan, Dean Putterman, 10 years go. It also just pipped the world mark of 28.31 set by Japan's Hideaki Togo three years ago.

One day earlier, Commings zipped through the 100-meter breast in 1:01.62, easily beating the American standard of 1:03.64 held by 1992 Olympian Roque Santos and the global mark of 1:02.85 by Britain's Nick Gillingham, a three-time Olympian.

San Diego's Mike Freshley set an American record for men 65-69 to go with his world mark the previous day. Freshley glided past Bob Patten's meter breaststroke mark of 3:08.98 with a strong 3:08.28. One day earlier, he had erased Graham Johnston's 10 year-old global standard in the 400m IM.

Several other swimmers just missed setting records:

Among a fistful of fast swims, Dale Webster, 80, clocked 42.11 for the 50-m backstroke, just shy of the world (41.42) and American (41.56) records for men 80-84.

Susan von der Lippe,41, TYR, blazed a 33.20 for the 50-m breaststroke. She holds the gklobal standard forwomen 40-44 – 32.99 seconds.

Paul Smith, 47, TYR, always swims fast. In Tempe he clocked 24.82and 54.50 for the sprint freestyle events, adding a 26.28 for the 50 fly.

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