World, US Masters Records Fall at Southwest Zone Champs: Dunbar, Roper, Pipes-Neilsen Lead the Way

13 World Records Washed Away at Southwest Zone Champs in Mission Viejo

MISSION VIEJO, CA. August 1. WHILE many US Mssters swimmers were preparing for the upcoming USMS National Championships in Savannah, GA, local Southern California swimmers were content to stay in their own back yard and swim some super fast times during the Southwest Zone and SPMA Regional Long Course Championships held at the newly renovated Mission Viejo Natadores Aquatics Complex. A total of 13 FINA world and 15 USMS records were swept away during the three-day competition.

Leading the record setting charge was the invincible Barbara Dunbar, 55, from San Diego Swim Masters (SDSM). Dunbar is once again rewriting the record book after amassing a total of four world records and six USMS national records for the 55-59 age group.

Dunbar established new world and national marks in the 200 free (2:29.02), 400 free (5:08.91), 800 free (10:41.10) and 200 fly (2:53.74). Dunbar also set two new national records in the 200 IM (2:59.11) and 100 fly (1:18.97). However, the ink may not even have a chance to dry before Dunbar takes these records down another notch while competing in Savannah later this week.

SDSM teammate Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen, 42, also had an outstanding meet as she set a total of new five world and one USMS records. Pipes-Neilsen, her husband Eric and mother Adrienne, moved to Kona, Hawaii last January. Judging by her fast times, living and training in paradise has not slowed her down one bit.

Competing in the 40-44 age group, Pipes-Neilsen set world marks in both the 200 IM (2:26.83) and 400 IM (5:09.83). Pipes-Neilsen’s time in the 400 IM shaved almost three seconds off the previous best of 5:12.58, a time she established just last year.

Pipes-Neilsen also set world records in the 100 fly (1:04.84), 100 back (1:08.66) and 200 free (2:09.34). Although not a record, Karlyn swam a speedy 59.59 the 100 free, becoming one of three women in the world over the age of 40 to crack 1-minute in this event.

Arizona Masters swimmer Gail Roper, 75, had an awesome meet setting world and national records in the 50 fly (44.95), 100 fly (1:54.14) and 100 free (1:26.90).

On the men’s side, only one world record was bettered during the meet and interestingly it was done in the same heat as Pipes-Neilsen’s. Lincoln Djang, 45, from Mission Viejo Natadores swam to a 5:04.67 erasing the listed world and national mark of 5:06.32 set by Greg Dozer in 2002. Djang, who trains primarily in a local river with no walls or a pace clock, swam a well-paced race and was quite surprised by the time. However Brazilian Djan Madruga swam a 4:59 at the World Championships in June, so Lincoln Djang's swim will be listed only as a US record. ("Only"?)

Relay records also tumbled at the hands of some of masters more seasoned swimmers. San Diego Swim Masters 280+ women’s relay team consisting of Diana Silva, 82, Adrienne Pipes, 70, Betsy Jordan, 67, and Jeanne Little, 67, erased Walnut Creeks name from the record book when they demolished the USMS standards in the 400 free (6:38.60) and 800 free (14:45.02) relay.

In the 800 free, SDSM hacked over a minute and a half off the previous best of 16:17.09 set way back in 1992. SDSM added Lynn Lund, 64, in the 400 medley and swam a 7:53.74, smashing the old standard of 8:32.38, also set by Walnut Creek, by almost 40 seconds.

Not to be outdone by the “younger” ladies, Santa Barbara’s mixed 320+ relay quartet (average age equals 80!) consisting of Ruth Baar, 82, Grace Altus, 80, Frank Piemme, 79, and Jurgen Schmidt, 81, set a new world record in the 200 free relay with an impressive 2:55.56. The time erased Japan’s 2:58.96 set earlier this year. Santa Barbara also established a new USMS record in the 400 free relay with a time of 6:56.05, taking 43 seconds off the old record of 7:39.20 set by Florida Mavericks in 2003.

The meet attracted almost 300 swimmers and was exceptionally well run by meet director Mark Moore and his staff. The facility is in great shape after two years of renovations and we should expect some tough competition and some very fast swimming next summer when the Natadores host their first ever long course Masters Nationals August 10-14, 2005.

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