Updated: Janet Evans Downs Pair of FINA Masters World Records in Eponymous Comeback Meet Rules Say She’s 40

FULLERTON, California, June 11. JANET Evans, who originally was reported by Swimming World to be coming back to competition, began her bid a bit later than the originally planned U.S. Masters Swimming National Championships.

Today, at the Janet Evans Invitational at the Janet Evans Swim Complex, Evans clocked in at 4:23.82 in the women's 400-meter free. Later, Evans stopped the clock in 8:59.06 in the women's 800-meter freestyle event.

Though Evans is 39 years old, FINA Masters rules say that a swimmer's age at any meet swum in short course meters or long course meters is as of December 31 of that year. That means Evans, who turns 40 on August 28, was 40 years old for Masters competition purposes. Should she swim at the USA Swimming nationals, to be held August 2-6, she would be listed as 39 years old. Swimming World originally reported that Evans had broken Masters world records in the 35-39 age group, but in fact her world records are now confirmed to be in the 40-44 age group. The meet results incorrectly list Evans as 39 years old.

In an email obtained by Swimming World, Walt Reid, FINA's Masters records recorder, said he had not yet received the documentation for Evans' record swims, but confirmed that "FINA uses age as of Dec. 31, so if she turns 40 during 2011 then she is 40 from Jan. 1, 2011 to Dec 31, 2011."

Both of Evans' times demolished the world records set by Masters legend Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen in 2002 in the 40-44 age group. Pipes-Neilsen's world records had stood at 4:28.24 in the 400 and 9:24.77 in the 800.

With her swim in the 800, Evans becomes the first Masters swimmer to clear nine minutes in any age group. The fastest Masters world record after hers now stands at 9:09.12 in the 35-39 age group by Kirsten Cameron.

Evans has been on record as looking towards a run at the 2012 London Olympics. For the sake of context, the 25th-ranked time in the world right now in the women's 400 free is a 4:09.42 from Melissa Gorman. Boglarka Kapas holds the 25th-ranked effort in the women's 800 free with an 8:33.14. Chloe Sutton is the top American in the pair of events with season-best times of 4:06.04 (9th ranked) and 8:29.20 (11th ranked).

Below are the splits for Evans' swims. Note that the swims should have been recorded for the 40-44 age group:

Women 35-39 400 LC Meter Freestyle
1 Evans, Janet B 39 Golden West Swim Club-CA 5:00.00 4:23.82
30.75 1:03.53 (32.78) 1:36.94 (33.41) 2:10.32 (33.38)
2:43.98 (33.66) 3:17.44 (33.46) 3:51.25 (33.81) 4:23.82 (32.57)

Women 35-39 800 LC Meter Freestyle
1 Evans, Janet B 39 Golden West Swim Club-CA 10:00.00 8:59.06
30.77 1:03.93 (33.16) 1:37.54 (33.61) 2:11.06 (33.52)
2:45.14 (34.08) 3:18.99 (33.85) 3:53.17 (34.18) 4:27.20 (34.03)
5:01.37 (34.17) 5:35.34 (33.97) 6:09.68 (34.34) 6:43.76 (34.08)
7:18.17 (34.41) 7:52.37 (34.20) 8:26.55 (34.18) 8:59.06 (32.51)