Luma Lanes Performance of the Week: U.S. Masters Spring Nationals: Zach Fong Returns to Swimming; 11 Records Fall on Final Day

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Photo Courtesy: Laura M. Hamel

U.S. Masters Spring Nationals: Zach Fong Retuns to Swimming; 11 Records Fall on Final Day

Performance of the Week, Sponsored by Luma Lanes

By Daniel Paulling

Zach Fong’s return to swimming went well.

After taking a three-year break following his swimming career at the University of Virginia, Fong won all six of his races at the 2022 U.S. Masters Swimming Spring National Championship, his first meet back. The New York Athletic Club member also set a USMS record in the men’s 18-24 200 butterfly with a time of 1:44.08.

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“It’s really cool,” Fong says. “I did my last [200 butterfly] a little over three years ago in college, and I was not sure I was ever going to do another. I really surprised myself in a lot of ways.”

Fong’s record was one of 57 set during the four-day Spring Nationals. Puget Sound Masters member Rick Colella, Sarasota Sharks member Diann Uustal, and Tamalpais Aquatic Masters member Laura Val were the top record-setters with six apiece.

Other swimmers who set multiple records include New England Masters Swim Club’s Chuck Barnes, North Carolina Masters Swimming’s Erika Braun, Off Piste Aquatics’ Katie Glenn, Lone Star Masters’ David Guthrie, Sarasota Sharks’ Susan Meyers, Sarasota Sharks’ Arnaldo Perez, and Novaquatics Masters’ Steve West.

Colorado Masters Swimming won the regional club competition with 1,728 points, ahead of runner-up North Carolina Masters Swimming’s 760 points and third-place finisher Wisconsin Masters’ 718. Lone Star Masters won the local club competition with 1,944 points, ahead of New York Athletic Club’s 1,281 points and Swim Fort Lauderdale’s 1,231 points.

Meyers’ three records at Spring Nationals, combined with the two she set earlier this year, were the first five she’s broken. She admits to being surprised by her success.

“It’s not anything I ever expected to do because I’m not that good a swimmer,” Meyers says. “It’s been an unexpected pleasure.”

Meyers, 80, is downplaying her abilities. After starting swimming 25 years ago, she’s recorded 703 individual USMS Top 10s and is a 10-time individual pool USMS All-American.

The U.S. Masters meet drew seven Olympians, including Josh Prenot, who won a silver medal in the 200 breaststroke at the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics. The Olympic Club member, who says he doesn’t think he’ll attempt to swim again in a professional capacity, won all three of his races, which included a 53.93 in the men’s 25-29 100 breaststroke, despite just swimming once a week.

“It’s been great to be out here competing with old friends, getting to be on relays with guys from Stanford [University],” says Prenot, 28, who swam at the University of California – Berkeley, a bitter rival of Stanford’s. “I didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to do that. It’s really nice to have this as an option to get that competitive fire going again. It’s really cool to see that it’s a lifelong sport for everyone. Everyone here just loves competing. That’s why we’re all here.”

Competition is what drew Fong back into swimming.

After the last race of his college career, a 200 butterfly that made him an NCAA All-American, he wasn’t sure whether he would compete again. But after taking what he describes as a much-needed break, he realized he wanted to compete again, which brought him to Spring Nationals.

Fong, 24, plans to keep going for more records when he ages up next year.

“I’ve got to try,” he says. “I went through the traditional college and high school circuit—a lot of stress and angst. But I think the attitude here, everyone’s really enjoying themselves, and it’s a very supportive community. I think that’s really cool. I’m always a believer that a happy swimmer is a fast swimmer, and that’s just the culture at a meet like this.

“There’s so many amazing people. Watching some 90-year-olds doing 100 IMs, it’s so impressive. It motivates you in different ways.”

Results

More meet coverage

US Masters Records Broken”

Thursday, April 28

  • Arnaldo Perez, Sarasota Shark Masters: men’s 60-64 1650 freestyle (17:44.05)
  • Erika Braun, North Carolina Masters Swimming: women’s 50-54 100 freestyle (53.52)
  • Lone Star: mixed 55+ 400 freestyle relay (3:45.72)
  • Lone Star: mixed 65+ 400 freestyle relay (3:56.07)

Friday, April 29

  • Rick Colella, Puget Sound Masters: men’s 70-74 400 IM (4:43.56)
  • Katie Glenn, Off Piste Aquatics: women’s 45-49 50 breaststroke (29.42)
  • Steve West, Novaquatics: men’s 50-54 50 breaststroke (26.20)
  • Rick Colella, Puget Sound: men’s 70-74 50 breaststroke (29.84)
  • Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatics Masters: women’s 70-74 100 butterfly (1:09.20)
  • Susan Meyers, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 80-84 100 butterfly (1:45.24)
  • Chuck Barnes, New England Masters Swim Club: men’s 45-49 100 butterfly (50.20)
  • Richard Abrahams, Colorado Masters: men’s 75-79 100 butterfly (1:06.01)
  • Diann Uustal, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 75-79 200 freestyle (2:32.99)
  • Rick Colella, Puget Sound: men’s 70-74 200 freestyle (1:56.50)
  • Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic Masters: women’s 70-74 100 backstroke (1:05.60)
  • Diann Uustal, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 75-79 100 backstroke (1:19.99)
  • Chuck Barnes, New England Swim Club: men’s 45-49 100 backstroke (51.49)
  • Erika Braun, North Carolina Swimming: women’s 50-54 50 freestyle (24.33)
  • New York Athletic Club: women’s 18+ 200 medley relay (1:44.29)
  • Lone Star Masters: women’s 65+ 200 medley relay (2:18.00)
  • Lone Star: men’s 55+ 200 medley relay (1:45.05)
  • Lone Star: men’s 65+ 200 medley relay (1:49.55)
  • Lone Star: mixed 65+ 200 freestyle relay (1:45.58)

Saturday, April 30

  • Erika Braun, North Carolina Masters Swimming: women’s 50-54 100 IM (1:00.21)
  • Karlyn Pipes, Palm Beach Masters: women’s 60-64 100 IM (1:05.01)
  • Susan Meyers, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 80-84 100 IM (1:41.47)
  • James Fike, Lone Star: men’s 40-44 100 IM (50.65)
  • Rick Colella, Puget Sound: men’s 70-74 100 IM (59.97)
  • Andrew McPherson, Davis Aquatic Masters: men’s 75-79 100 IM (1:08.23)
  • Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic Club: women’s 70-74 200 backstroke (2:26.53)
  • Diann Uustal, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 75-79 200 backstroke (2:53.97)
  • Kevin Nead, Rice Aquatic Masters: men’s 35-39 200 backstroke (1:47.68)
  • Chuck Barnes, New England Masters Swim Club: men’s 45-49 200 backstroke (1:51.82)
  • Dan Stephenson, Rose Bowl: men’s 65-69 200 backstroke (2:11.06)
  • Marty Mennen, Indy Aquatic Masters: men’s 85-89 200 backstroke (3:16.44)
  • Katie Glenn, Off Piste Aquatics: women’s 45-49 100 breaststroke (1:04.45)
  • Steve West, Novaquatics: men’s 50-54 100 breaststroke (56.25)
  • David Guthrie, Lone Star: men’s 60-64 100 breaststroke (1:00.64)
  • Rick Colella, Puget Sound: men’s 70-74 100 breaststroke (1:04.95)
  • Douglas Springer, Arizona Masters Swim Club Inc: men’s 75-79 100 breaststroke (1:15.25)
  • Erika Braun, North Carolina Masters: women’s 50-54 50 freestyle (24.19)
  • Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic: women’s 70-74 50 freestyle (27.10)
  • Diann Uustal, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 75-79 50 freestyle (30.53)
  • Zachary Fong, New York Athletic Club: men’s 18-24 200 butterfly (1:44.08)
  • Lone Star Masters: 65+ 200 mixed medley relay (1:58.70)
  • The Olympic Club: 25+ 200 mixed medley relay (1:34.12)

Sunday, May 1

  • Arnaldo Perez, Sarasota Sharks Masters: men’s 60-64 500 freestyle (5:09.95)
  • Susan Meyers, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 80-84 200 IM (3:46.16)
  • Rick Colella, Puget Sound: men’s 70-74 200 IM (2:10.59)
  • Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic: women’s 70-74 50 backstroke (30.49)
  • Diann Uustal, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 75-79 50 backstroke (36.73)
  • Erika Braun, North Carolina Swimming: women’s 50-54 100 freestyle (52.77)
  • Laura Val, Tamalpais Aquatic Masters: women’s 70-74 100 freestyle (59.11)
  • Diann Uustal, Sarasota Sharks: women’s 75-79 100 freestyle (1:09.34)
  • Steve West, Novaquatics: men’s 50-54 200 breaststroke (2:03.67)
  • David Guthrie, Lone Star Masters: men’s 60-64 200 breaststroke (2:16.25)
  • Lone Star Masters: 65+ men’s 200 freestyle relay (1:37.90)

Note: All records are subject to change pending verification.

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Jackie Ore
21 days ago

Jonny Pierce from Golden Road Aquatics broke several American S14 Para Swimming records at this meet.

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