Laura Val, Ann Hirsch and Alameda Aquatic Masters Set World Records At Pacific Masters Championships

SANTA CRUZ, California, July 11. LAURA Val continued her record-breaking ways in 2011 with an incredible 10 Masters long course world records in the 60-64 age group at the Pacific Swimming championships last weekend.

Just as she did in January, Val, 60 years old and representing Tamalpais Masters, erased world records in almost all the freestyle events while swimming the 1500 freestyle. She started things off with a 1:06.21 split at 100 meters, breaking South Africa's Sanderina Kruger's record of 1:06.63 at that distance. At 200 meters, she clocked a 2:23.34, taking down Kruger's 2:29.54.

The record smashing continued at 400 meters, when Val touched at 5:03.88, well ahead of BettyAnn Barnett-Sallee's record of 5:21.79 that had stood since 2006. The 800-meter mark saw a split time of 10:27.71, obliterating the world record of 11:16.81 set by Barbara Dunbar in 2009. Val finished the 1500 race with a time of 19:52.85, smashing Dunbar's mark of 21:16.05.

Val also nearly became the oldest woman to break 30 seconds in the 50 freestyle with a 30.00. She erased Kruger's mark of 30.19, set earlier this year. She also won the 400 IM with a 5:56.27 to break Charlotte Davis' record of 6:08.99.

Val completed the meet with a world record sweep of the butterfly events, with new marks in the 50 (33.28, old mark 33.47), 100 (1:14.51, old mark 1:17.34) and 200 (2:43.64, old mark 3:05.07).

Val was not alone in the record breaking. Walnut Creek's Ann Hirsch, 80, broke the world record in three events in the 80-84 age division. In the 200 IM, she swam a 4:18.27 to nip Austria's Sylvia Neuhauser's mark of 4:18.33. She barely got under two more Neuhauser records, in the 100 breast with a time of 1:59.30 that took down Neuhauser's time of 1:59.20 and in the 200 breast with a 4:17.64 that just clipped Neuhauser's record of 4:17.76.

The Alameda Aquatics Masters team of Pierre Hathaway, August Motmans, Ashley Jones and Harry Goldsmith took down the world record in the men's 400 medley relay for the 320-339 age group with a stunning time of 7:56.60, obliterating the former record of 10:34.72 set by Oregon Masters in 2010. Since FINA began recognizing world records in the 400 and 800 relays last year, some United States Masters Swimming national records are faster than the existing world records. That is the case in this event, as the USMS record stands at 7:34.79, by Coast Masters in 1998.

The Tri Valley Masters team of Davis Wuolle, Vicki Espiritu, Luaney Rowe and Adam Conway swam faster than the world record in the mixed 200 medley relay for the 100-119 age group, but the time will not count because FINA rules stipulate that all swimmers must be at least 25 years old to break Masters world records. Wuolle is listed in the meet results as 21 years old, while Rowe is 22.