SPMS Masters Swimming Championships Tradition Continues With Nine World Records


COMMERCE – The Southern Pacific Masters short course meters championships has long been one of the most popular Masters meets in the fall season, with many well-known names showing up to produce some world records. Many of those names continued that tradition, as nine world marks were either tied or broken at the three-day meet.

Novaquatics celebrated two swimmers who each broke three world records. Steve West, 42, continued his dominance in the breaststroke events for the 40-44 age group by tying the 50 breast record and lowering his own marks in the 100 and 200 distances. His 28.52 in the 50 breast tied the record set in November by Swimming World’s Jeff Commings, so the two will have to share the record for the time being. West’s 1:01.42 in the 100 breast got under his former world record by two hundredths of a second, while his 2:13.72 in the 200 breast shattered his previous mark by six tenths.

Jamie Fowler, 55, entered the 55-59 age group with world records on his mind, and he wrapped up his meet with three to go along with the two he currently has in the 50-54 division. In the 100 back, Fowler took down Tom Barton’s three-year-old record of 1:03.29 with a 1:02.38, and posted a 2:15.79 in the 200 back to beat Barton’s 2:17.04 from 2011. Fowler’s last mark came in the 100 IM with a 1:03.14, beating the 1:03.48 by Timothy Shead from 2009. Fowler nearly got a fourth record, but his 29.09 in the 50 back missed Barton’s record by .08.

Laura Val, a perennial record breaker, improved on one of her world records in the 65-69 age group. She posted a 1:03.48 in the 100 freestyle, beating her record of 1:03.84 from this meet last year.

Ventura County Masters’ foursome of Jim McConica, Hubie Kerns, Mike Shaffer and Glenn Gruber gathered to break four relay records for the 240-279 age group. First, the four collectively posted a 9:00.30 in the 800 free relay to break a two-year-old record of 9:04.01 that had previously been held by a Ventura County Masters team that included Kerns, McConica and Gruber. Later in the meet the 400 medley relay world record of 4:38.68 by Gold Coast Masters from 2009 didn’t stand a chance. McConica (1:12.72), Kerns (1:17.69), Shaffer (59.34) and Gruber (1:01.15) swam a 4:30.90 for a dramatic drop in the record book.

Though he didn’t set any world records, Simon Burnett posted some quick times as he continues to break into Masters swimming. Burnett, a British national who holds the U.S. Open record in the 200-yard freestyle with a 1:31.20, got closest to a world record in the 100 IM. The 30-year-old swam a 55.99 to put a scare into Stefan Herbst’s record of 55.00 from 2008 in the 30-34 age group.