Olympians Erika Stebbins and Matt Biondi Help Teams Break Masters Relay World Records

MISSION VIEJO, California, July 7. WITH the help of Olympians Erika Stebbins and Matt Biondi, two long course relay Masters world records fell on Sunday at the Patrick Moore Memorial Relay Meet.

Stebbins (44), Christie Ciraulo (61), Veronia Hibben (58) and Laurie Dodd (42) combined for a 9:37.01 to break the world record of 10:00.03 swum by Arizona Masters last year in the women’s 200-239 age group. Age groups for relays in short course meters and long course meters Masters competitions are determined by the cumulative ages of the four swimmers, so at a combined age of 205, the four just barely qualified for this age group.

Erika Stebbins, known in her elite swimming days by her maiden name Erika Hansen as a 1998 and 1992 Olympian, led off the record-setting UCLA Masters team with a 2:16.87. Ciraulo followed with a 2:33.67, while Hibben posted a 2:26.75 on the third leg. Dodd put up a 2:19.72 anchor leg to smash the world record.

The four also went after the world record of 4:20.68 in the 400 free relay, but fell short with a 4:26.53.

Notably, three of the four already own a Masters relay world record in the 200-239 age group. Stebbins, Ciraulo and Hibben swam on the 400 medley relay with Jenny Cook last year for a 5:02.61. Also, Stebbins pulled double duty at the meet as the head coach of UCLA Masters.

Biondi, who is putting a full effort into Masters swimming after a few years in and out of the sport, was the key leg in helping Conejo Valley Multisport Masters shatter the world record of 4:15.53 in the mixed 400 free relay for the 200-239 age group. Biondi, the 11-time Olympic medalist now 48 years old, led off the relay with an impressive 54.10. That put him in striking distance of the 100 free world record of 53.77 in the 45-49 age group set in 2005 by Italy’s Marco Colombo.

With Biondi’s amazing swim, the relay world record was never in doubt. Michael Boosin, 48, followed Biondi with a 1:06.13 split, then Becky Cleavenger (51) was third with a 1:05.88 and Lisa Schoenneman (52) was the anchor with a 57.85.

Because FINA rules determine a swimmer’s age as of December 31 of that year, Biondi was actually 49 years old for swimming purposes, as his birthday falls on October 8. That made a big difference to Conejo Valley Masters, as the ages for the world record-setting relay for the 200-239 age group added up to 200 years old.

Full meet results available on Meet Mobile.