Red-Hot Performances in Sweltering Santa Clara on Day 3 of Masters Short Course Nationals

By Phillip Whitten

SANTA CLARA, May 19. While the weather outside was frightful — an energy-sapping 90+ degrees– the performances in the water were delightful. On Day 3 of the USMS Short Course National Championships, being held at the George F. haines International Swim center in storied Santa Clara, California, the records kept tumbling in profusion.

Here's a rundown on some of today's top swims:

Only two records fell in this event — in the youngest and the oldest age group.

San Diego Swim Masters' Adam Conway nipped Brad Budney's record in the 19-24 age group, clocking 49.88 seconds. Budney's standard was 49.91. As fast as the 22 year-old Conway was, two swimmers in the 25-29 age group were even faster.

In the 90-94 division, Team Texas' Jesse Coon kept on a-rollin, like the tumbleweeds of the Panhandle. Coon became the first man ever to swim a 100 yard fly, establishing a new standard of 3:19.29. There was never a question that he could do it: yesterday he swam a 400 IM.

Michigan Masters' Lawrence Day won the 50-54 age group race in 54.61 seconds. Only Rich Abrahams' 54.48 from '98 is faster.

Bert Petersen, 62, of Oregon Masters, also recorded a number-two all-time swim, finishing in 1:03.26. Dave Costill holds the 60-64 mark at 1:03.09.

Ron Johnson, 69, showed once again he is fully recovered from his freak accident at the Latycar meet in '99. Johnson won the 65-69 event in 1:07.42. Only he has swum faster (1:06.43).

The women's fly was absolutely spectacular, as five very strong records were brushed aside.

Liu Limin, former Chinese star, kept up her record- stomping performance, splitting 25.67 and finishing in a superb 54.03 seconds. Heidi Hannenian's 1999 record was 56.38. Liu was a silver medalist at the 1996 Olympics in this event, one-hundredth of a second behind Amy van Dyken.

Tracy Moll just keeps improving with age. Splitting 26.30, the 37 year-old Gold Coast Masters standout, came storming home to finish in 56.44. The old 35-39 record was 56.90 set by Susan Halfacre way back in 1988. Moll's previous best was 57.10 in 1999. Five 35-39 women finished under one minute.

Until today, Laura Val was the only woman over 40 ever to break a minute in the 100 fly, with her 59.22 standard from 1992 standing invincible. No more.
Virginias's Beth Baker lowered Val's mark to 58.89, leading three women under one minute. Susanne Simpson finished in 59.72, while Jill Hernandez clocked 59.91.

Not to be outdone, Val, 49, re-established herself as the oldest woman under the minute barrier. In her last year in the 45-49 division, the Tamalpais Masters star split 28.33 on her way to a 59.82 performance. She held the old mark at 1:00.37 from 1997.

Finally, Great Britain's Judy wilson crushed the 55-59 mark of 1:09.04 set by Ardeth Mueller last year. Wilson finished in a spectacular 1:05.45. Diana Todd, in second place, just missed Mueller's former record, touching in 1:09.08.

Three men swam their way into the record books in the 200 IM.

Jesse Coon was The Man in the 90-94 age group, touching home in 5:29.55 — more than half a minute faster than Peter Jurczyk did in 1996 when he established the old mark of 6:05.72. Coon's final 50 free was 58.21. Only seven men over 90 ahave ever swum a faster straight 50.

In the 50-54 age group, Jim McConica kep his record-smashing streak alive, utilizing a 27.95-second final 50 to clock 2:06.46 to break Bob Strand's 2:07.80 from 1997. Lawrewnce Day was second, also under the old mark in 2:07.01.

Graham Johnston showed he's more than just a freestyler, becoming the first man over 70 to crack 2:40. Johnston's 2:38.82 erased Bob Miller's record of 2:43.52 from '99.

Three other men swam #2 times on the all-time list: Chris Cavanaugh (1:57.19 in the 35-39 age group); Cam Reid (1:59.23 in the 40-44 age group); and Bob Strand (2:10.57 in the 55-59 age group).

Ron Johnson won in the 65-69 age group in 2:33.49, a time only he has bettered. Ditto for Frank Piemme's 2:56.73 in the 75-79 division.

Three women's IM marks were washed away today.

Liu Limin –you've heard her name before — did it again. The Sierra Nevada Masters ace clocked 2:05.62 to erase Sara Shand's 1993 mark of 2:05.98 for women 25-29. However, two swimmers in the 30-34 age group have faster times.

Jill Hernandez made mince meat out of Sandy Neilson- Bell's record of 2:17.08 in the 40-44 division. Hernandez came storming home in 2:12.06.

Betty Ann Barnett of HUMUHUMUNUKUNUKUAPUA'A (that's HUMU, for short) lowered the 55-59 mark with her 2:36.07, just edging Carolyn Boak at 2:37.82. Ardeth Mueller had held the record at 2:37.45 since 1999. the race was an interesting one with Barnett gaining 5-1/2 seconds on Boak in the backstroke, and Boak taking all but half a second back in the breaststroke.

Arizona's Jonelle Schmidt notched the second-fastest time ever in the 50-54 age group with her 2:34.54. Celeste Miller's record from last year is 2:30.28.

Maria Lenk-Zigler's 4:54.87 was also a #2 all-time performance, hers coming in the 85-89 age group.

The 50 free records held up remarkably well against a continuous assault, as only two national records bit the dust.

In the 40-44 age group, Paul Smith, Vail Masters, completed his trifecta of the 50-100-200 free, lowering his own mark of 21.46 set last year to 21.40. Clay Brott was right at his shoulder, touching in 21.50 to make him second fastest in the race and second fastest all-time.

Cav Cavanaugh — father of Olympian Chris Cavanaugh — set an impressive mark in the 65-69 age group, becoming the first man ovr 65 to break 25 seconds. Cavanaugh clocked 24.76, lowering don Hill's record of 25.09 set two years ago. Bob Baile was second in 25.11, making him third all-time.

In the 70-74 age group, Chuck Baldwin won in 26.80, second on the all-time list to Frank Piemme's 26.70 from 1998. One age group up, piemme went 27.50. Only he has swum the event faster in the 75-79 age group.

The women's 50 sprint records held up even better than the men's, as only Flo Carr was able to set a USMS record. Swimming in the 75-79 age group, Carr clocked 35.22, erasing the 14 year-old record of 36.17 set by Lenore Wingard.

Two records fell in the men's 200 back, in the 50-54 and 55-59 age groups.

Jim McConica continued his record-breaking spree, just eclipsing Tod Spieker's 2000 time of 2:04.82 with his 2:04.64.

The Olympic Club's Tim Birnie notched his second USMS record, taking down Rich Burns' 55-59 standard 0f 2:13.89 with his 2:09/26. Burns was second here in 2:16.11.

In the 40-44 age group, Clay Britt posted a swift 1:54.97, second only to Bill Specht's 1:54.01 from three years ago.

Ray Taft went 3:10.46 to win the 80-84 division, a time only he hs beaten. Ditto for Ed Shea and his 3:44.33 in the 85-89 age group.

Team Texas's Joe Irvine swam 5:45.66 to win the 90-94 event, moving him to fourth on the all-time list.

Patty Landers' 40-44 record of 2:16.98 stood for three years. Today, Landers just missed breaking her own record…and finished fourth. Virginia Masters' Beth Baker led a parade of three women under the old record. Baker touched in 2:13.58, followed by Zena Courtney (2:13.58) and Lisa Van Pelt-Diller (2:15.73).

In the 50-54 age group, Betty Bennett's 2:37.14 had been unbeatable for seven years. Today, Arizona Masters' Jonelle Schmidt negative-split her race, going 1:17.04-1:16.19 to finish in 2:33.23, four seconds faster than Bennett. Jan Miller finished second in 2:35.75, also under the old mark.

Betty Ann Barnett was almost as fast as Schmidt in winning the 55-59 age group. Her 2:33.59 erased Betsy Jordan's 2:34.80 set nine years ago.

Only one record fell in the men's 50 breast. Bob Strand, who aged up only three months ago, completed part two ofd his three-part mission to dismantle the 55-59 breaststroke records. Today he zipped to a 29.09 clocking, erasing Pete Andersen's 29.85 from last year. The two are the only men over 55 who have broken 30 seconds.

Two other winners recorded the second fastest times ever swum in their age groups. Chuck Baldwin went 5.42 to win the 70-74 division, just off Bart Greenberg's 35.35 from 1995. In the 45-49 division, Lee Rider hit the pads in 27.90, a quarter second behind Jack Groselle's record time of 27.66 set last year.

Susan Roy-Jones, who rcently graced the cover of SWIM Magazine, set the only USMS mark in the women's 50 breast, lowering her own standard of 34.66 set last year to 34.45.

Ann Hirsch of Walnut Creek Masters missed breaking th e record in the 70-74 division by as small a margin as possible. Her 43.23 was .01 slower thaan the record set by Sylvia Eisele last year.

Dea Ann Joslin won the 40-44 age group in 32.10. The only faster time is her own 31.19 last year.

In the 25-29 age group, NEM's Andrea Packard won in 30.41, third all-time. Another winner swimming the third fastest time ever in her age group was Carolyn Boak, who took the 55-59 division in 35.90.

Three USMS records were broken in the women's 500, with the results in the 40-44 age group absolutely spectacular. Coming into today, Suzanne Heim-Bowen held the USMS mark at 5:13.06 from 1999. No other woman had ever swum under 5:20.

Heim-Bowen still holds her age group mark — at a stunning 5:07.76 — followed to the wall by the second, third and fourth fastest women in history: Jill Hernandez (5:13.43), Susanne Simpson (5:14.62) and Margie Curran (5:19.97).

Laura Val continued her banner meet in her final year in the 45-49 division, taking her own mark of 5:27.02, set two years ago, to 5:22.93.

Likewise, Celeste Miller eased her own record down a bit, dropping it from 5:43.51 last year to 5:42.48.

Two swimmers posted winning times that ranked them third all-time: Laureen Welting in the 35-39 age group, in 5:03.02; and Suzanne Dills in the 55-59 age group, in 6:19.47.

For full results and splits visit the
real time results
section of the United States Masters Swimming web site or click the events below. Remember to keep checking back here for the latest stories from our reporters at the meet.

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