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Masters World Championships Open Tomorrow -- June 1, 2004

RICCIONE, Italy, June 1. OPENING Ceremonies for the 10th FINA Masters World Swimming Championships are set for tomorrow in the eastern Italian coastal town of Riccione

The meet has attracted a record 8,128 athletes: 6,349 (pool) swimmers; 1,089 open water swimmers; 303 synchronized swimmers; 227 divers; and 1,017 water polo players.

SwimInfo will be covering the meet with daily stories from our on-the-spot reporter (and competitor) Pete Andersen. We also plan to post full results daily.

Copmpetition begins on Thursday, June 3 with the 800 meter freestyle. There are 48 men’s and 42 women’s heats in the 10-lane pool.

The oldest swimmer competing in the 800 free is Spain’s Bernadette Angula de Cordova, 92. The woman with the fastest entered time is Belgium’s Mieke Smet, 30, at 9:28.00, followed closely by the USA’s Suzanne Heim-Bowen, 46, entered at 9:29.00. Among the big names in the event is Japan’s Yoshiko Osaki, 66, a recent inductee in the International Masters Swimming Hall of Fame and the top seed in the women’s 65-69 age group at 12:55.0.

At 91, Cuba’s Ramon Cordoves de Leon is the oldest man entered in the event. The fastest seed is Jean-David Duhaeidt, 28, of France, entered at 8:33.64. The men’s race features such distance luminaries as Brazil’s Djan Madruga, 45. Among the top match-ups is the 55-59 race, which pits world record-holder Tod Spieker, USA, vs. Britain’s Duncan McCreadie. McCreadie is seeded at 10:32.0, three-and-a-half seconds faster than Spieker’s world record (10:35.51).