By Michael Collins
MUNICH, Germany. THE largest-ever World Masters Swimming Championships began with the Women's 200 IM. The fastest time came from Cornelia Bleul-Gohlke of Germany with a time of 02:30.52 posted in the 30-34 age group. The rumor of Shane Gould doing a 2:31 was not supported by the results.
Top performances from the USA included: June Krauser, 70-74, who was nipped out by Karen Margrethe Bendtsen (3:47.21-3:47.41). Betsy Jordan from San Diego finished second in the 60-64 with a 3:29.38. Nancy Kirkpatrick – Reno, swimming with the Daland Swim School Masters (coached by Peter Daland who was one of the Olympic Coaches for the USA in 1972), was second in the 45-49 with a 2:52.21.
In the Men's 200 IM the fastest time of the meet went to Nicolas Granger of France with a time of 2:08.89 to win the 30-34 age group. The time broke the WR of 2:09.69 set by David Lundberg (USA) in 1991. Granger also holds the 25-29 record for 200m I.M. at 2:07.00, set in 1994.
Top Americans included Jesse Coon, who got a standing ovation from the crowd when he finished the 200 IM in 06:49.23 to win the 90-94 age group. The time sliced 10 seconds off the WR of 6:59.87, set by the USA's Peter Jurczyk in 1995.
Ray Taft and Aldo De Rosa, both from Northern California served up an epic battle in the 80-84 age group with Taft coming out the victor (3:49.28-3:51.37). Robert MacDonald from Florida won the 70-74 division in 3:26.97. Graham Johnson of Texas came up a little short to finish second in the 65-69 division to Gerhard Hole of Germany (2:56.54-2:56.73). Finally, Mike Keck was the youngest American to break into the top 3, taking second in the 40-44 with a 2:21.75.
Note: The 200 IM's took over 8 hours to complete.
Top female time went to Christiane Sievert, 28, from Germany, the only woman to break 30, with a time of 28.30. Americans were outstanding in the older age groups but couldn't break into the top three in any age group under 70 in the women's competition.
Hilda Buel won the 85-89 age group in 2:12.99 to huge roar of the crowd. Jean Zulich of Sun City Masters was second in the 80-84 with a 1:15.26. Lois Kivi Nochman destroyed her nearest competitor in the 75-79 winning by over 10 seconds in 50.96. Finally, Jill Coleman of Maryland Masters finished second in the 70-74 with a 55.98
The fastest men's time was 25.07 posted by Vlastimil Havlicek from the Czech Republic in the 25-29 age group, just off the WR of24.88 held by New Zealnd's Jon Winter. American men fared a little better in the younger age groups than the women did. Still, the USA dominated the older groups with Jesse Coon winning the 90-94 in 1:26.81, just missing the USMS and WR of 1:26.07 held by Jim Penfield; Paul Hutinger taking the 75-79 in 39.82; Dick Webber, second in 70-74 (39.29), and Cav Cavanaugh, first in 65-69 (32.53).
Americans showed great depth in the 55-59 placing 3rd, 4th, 5th, and 6th with William Muter (30.20), Robert Olson (30.35), James Elder (30.36), and Richard Bassi (30.54). Dave Tanner was second in the 50-54 (28.95).
One of the more exciting races was between Rick Abbott and James Montgomery in the 45-49 with Abbott pulling away in the final meters to take it (26.97-27.75). Abbott's time erased the USMS and world mark of 27.12, set by Dan Thompson in 1992.
Robert Placak finished third in the 40-44 age group (27.28), although he is listed in the results as being from Hong Kong along with several other Americans from the Olympic Club–a minor detail the meet organizers still haven't corrected.
Konstantin Petrov of Empire State Masters finished in 26.21 to take 3rd in the 30-35 age group.
The final event of the first day was the 100 Free. No women broke the one minute barrier. Top female time went to Manuela Schubert, 30 of Germany with a 1:00.63. Quite impressive was 1972 Australian Olympian, Shane Gould, with the fourth fastest time in the meet, winning the 40-44 in 1:01.62. The time was still a second slower than the WR held by fellow 1972 Olympic champion, Sandy Neilson-Bell.
Older American ladies led the way again with Margot Lenigk taking third in the 85-89 (4:17.22), Rita Simonton, first in 80-84 (1:49.82), Florence Carr and Petey Smith, 1-2 in the 75-79 (1:35.20-1:37.99).
United States Masters Swimming President, Nancy Ridout, showed some outstanding national spirit taking third in the 55-59 (1:16.10). Julie Wynn-Hoffman was third in the 45-49 (1:10.02). Kathy Garnier and Cathy Shonkwiler were third and fourth in the 40-44 (1:03.43-1:03.63), and Laureen Welting and Charlotte Petersen did the 2-3 punch in the 35-39 (1:01.40, 1:02.07).
In the men's 100 Free Michael Fibbens from Great Britan needed the fastest time of the meet (52.05) to win the 30-34 age group over USA Olympic Club team-mates, Kirk Everist and John Keppeler, who had the second and third fastest overall times (53.31-53.51).
Other Americans to do well included Frank Star, fourth in the 90-94 (2:48.89), Louis Frank Rosenaur and Larry Hart, third and fourth in the 85-89 (4:15.38-4:22.27). Frank Piemme, first in 75-79 (1:14.42). Peter Van Dijk and Dick Webber, first and third in 70-74 (1:12.33-1:16.92).
Cav Cavanaugh destroyed the 65-69 age group winning by nearly 6 seconds (1:04.21). James Krueger and David Harison finished 3-4 in the 60-64 (1:07.33-1:07.37). Tim Birnie took it out strong and held on to win the 55-59 age group over Olympic Club team-mate James Elder (1:00.78-1:01.28). Bill Barthold and Dave Tanner took 2-3 in the 50-54 age group(59.47-59.52).
James Montgomery and Rick Abbott changed positions from the 50 Fly with Montgomery, the 1976 Olympic champion, coming out the champ in Munich in the 45-49 division (54.87-56.03). Russell Frazier of St. Pete's Masters completed the first 1-2-3 sweep for the USA. Finally Malcolm Tyler and Michael Halfast placed 2-3 in the 35-39 age group (54.18-54.22).
The first day ended at 10:35pm.