MELBOURNE, Australia, October 10. A "few" moons ago, Australia's then 14-year-old "little" Shane Gould capitvated the hearts of the world's sporting public by her spectacular showing at the Munich Olympics.
She won golds in the 200-400 frees, 200 IM, took a silver in the 800 free, a bronze in the 100 free and displayed Spitzian-like dominance.
Well, 30 years have passed and now Ms. Gold — er, Gould — is back in the water here, tearing up the 45-49 age group events at the World Masters Games.
This evening she won the 200 free in 2:19.98 and handily won her age group. Her time is just off the world record of 2:17.12 by America's Laura Val from last year's U.S. Masters Nationals.
The event's most impressive time belonged to local star Penny Palfry, who yesterday won the 400 free in 4:42, about four seconds off the WR. Tonight the Queensland resident's time (2:16.97) was nearly nine seconds faster than second-place American Laura Winslow's 2:25.88.
The world record for women 40-44 belongs to American Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen, whose blazing 2:09.97 from a meet in Southern California a couple of months
ago in makes her the only woman 40+ ever to swim under 2:10.0.
In the 65-69 age group, Aussie Pam Hutchings won with an NR 2:53.38, not too far off the global standard of 2:48.51 by American Clara Walker. Hutchings holds the world-record in the 100 free with her 1:14.93 from this year's World Championships in Christchurch, New Zealand last March.
Two Americans women were winners in the 200 free: Trish Buswell, who took the 30-34 age group in 2:17.54, and Marion Chadwick who edged Australia's Helen Jackson in the 80-84 division, 6;28.72 to 6:30.11.
Those were the youngsters. The meet's oldest competitor, 92 year-old Margo Bates of Australia, actually swam faster than those octagenarian striplings, jamming the pads in 6:25.08 to take the 90-94 age group.
On the men's side, Canadian Olympian Graham Welbourne kept up his winning ways, taking the men's 200 free in 2:03.54. He was pushed by Brazil's Ricardo Santos, who went an NR 2:04.65.
In the 75-79 race, Great Britain's John Mills went a fast 2:53.87, not far off America's Frank Piemme's 2:50.01 global standard from two years ago.
Australia's Tony Strahan took the 60-64 division in a swift 2:21.80, only 4+ seconds from the WR owned by the USA's Tom Landis.
Herb Hoeptner was the only American man to strike gold in the 200 free, winning the 80-84 division in 3:42.33. Igor Vazhenin took the 35-39 race (2:06.52), but he represented his native Russia rather than his adopted land.
Great Britain's Andy Wilson, co-editor of Britain's Masters magazine, Watermarks, won the 55-59 age group in 2:21.07. Aussie Jared Clarke posted the fastest time — 1:57.29 — in winning the 25-29 age group.
Men's 50m Backstroke
The mnost successful country in the men's 50m backstroke was — are you ready?? — Egypt! That's right: Egyptian men won three age groups, more than Australia, Hungary, or the USA, which was shut out. More than any other country!
Gharib Attia took the 50-54 age group in 32.36. Ahmed Bassit was tops in the 60-64 division with his 35.87. And Dorry Sayed was fastest in the 75-79 group, clocking 47.74.
The event's best performance was turned in by Mexico's Oscar Gutierrez, who won the 45-49 division in 30.49 seconds, just 64-hundredths slower than the USA's Tom Wolf's WR.
THe Czech Republic's Jiri Mikula won the 30-34 age group in 29.26 while Hungary's Jozsef Csikany, a 1960 Olympian, took the 55-59 age group in 33.12.
Guatemala got into the win column when Guillermo Gomar clocked 43.17 to top all comers in the 65-69 age group, and Ken Clutton of Australia wrapped up the 90-94 division witrh a 1:58.70 swim.
Women's 50m Backstroke
In contrast to the men, the US women made it atop the podium three times in the 50 back.
Jane Swaggerty-Hill, a 1968 Olympic bronze medalist, bettered the listed record of 33.81 in the 50-54 age group with her 33.60, but she has a pending mark of 32.87.
Speaking of 32.87, that's exactly the time Sunny Smiley swam to take the 30-34 age group. Near the other end of the age spectrum, Asako Maningo touched first in the 75-70 division in 52.16.
Denmark's Grethe Bendsten threw down a speedy 44.00 to win the 70-74 age group, less than two seconds off Doris Steadman's WR of 42.29.