US Masters Long Course Nationals, Day Two: Twelve World Records Fall

PHOENIX, Arizona, August 15. Blistering temperatures in Gresham, Ore., were no match for the bevy of sizzling world records set in the second day of competition at the United States Masters Swimming Long Course Nationals.

Over the course of 12 hours, 12 world records were set in the 11 events contested today.

The award for star swimmer of Friday's session must be shared by Kohei Kawamoto and Arlene Delmage. Representing Arizona Masters, Kawamoto swam a 53.09 in the men's 100 fly, far off the 51.71 he swam at the U.S. Open a couple of weeks ago, but easily the fastest 100 fly at the meet. Kawamoto has swum a couple of 100 flys in the 51-second range this year, but was unable to put together a fast swim at the Japanese Olympic Trials and did not make the final at that meet.

By the way, Kawamoto's time obliterated the world record of 54.29 set by Great Britain's Matthew Bowe earlier this year and the national record of 55.35 by Honza Vitazka.

It's rare to beat a record set by Karlyn Pipes-Nielson, but Delmage, 46 years old from Oregon Masters, was able to take down Pipes-Nielson's world record in the 100 fly in the 45-49 age group with a 1:06.42. The record of 1:06.53 was set by Pipes-Nielson in March of this year.

The second day of swimming started with the women's 400 IM, an event that saw one world record barely fall at the hands of Laura Vaca of Aquatica Nelson Vargas. Vaca swam a 6:07.41 to shave 31-hundredths of a second off Charlotte Davis' two-year-old world record in the 55-59 age group. Jackie Marr set a national record in the 65-69 age group with a 6:54.46. Marr, of San Diego Swim Masters, took advantage of her first year in the age group, swimming faster than the old national record by 15 seconds.

The men were unable to post any new records in the 400 IM. Was it the fact that some of the records held by Masters legends Ron Karnaugh, Dennis Baker and Nicholas Granger seemed Phelpsian by comparison? George Wendt provided a positive aspect to the men's race by posting his second win of the meet after taking the 1500 free on Thursday.

Rita Simonton and Laura Val got the record setting back on track in the women's 200 freestyle. Simonton, 90, likely dropped some jaws when she set her world record in the 90-94 age group. Audrey Etienne's world record of 5:06.38 was a remarkable swim at the 2006 world championships, but Simonton took the record to a new stratosphere with a 4:31.26. Simonton is on a roll. She's likely to rewrite the standards on older swimmers by the time the weekend is over.

Val, who went on a record-breaking tear at the world championships and short course nationals this spring, is still dropping time. She posted a 2:17.67 in the 200 free to lower her own world record from two years ago.

Olympic gold medalist Claudia Poll, who won that medal at the 1996 Games in the 200 free, is now on the Masters scene. She posted a 2:11.95 in the 35-39 age group, which was well off Karlyn Pipes-Nielson's world record of 2:06.94. But it's certain the crowd was excited to see the Olympic champion in the pool nonetheless.

The men posted two world records as well in the 200 free. Tom Landis of Oregon Masters reset his world record in the 65-69 age group by the slimmest of margins. Landis swam a 2:18.53. The former record was 2:18.54. Teammate David Radcliff set the world record in the 70-74 age group by a more comfortable margin, swimming 2:26.20, almost a second faster than the mark he set last year.

Paul Smith was making his last attempt to recapture the world record taken from him by Brazil's Marcus Mattioli in the 45-49 age group at the 2006 world championships. Smith was a second off Mattioli's record of 1:59.56, swimming 2:00.58. Dan Stephenson's 50-54 age group record of 2:00.34 is bound to be a target next year.

Oregon Masters' Willard Lamb rounded out the record breaking in the 200 free with a national record time of 3:16.95.

Kate McClelland provided the crowd with a strong run at the world record in the 50 breast in the 30-34 age group, but could only lower her national mark with a 33.20. McClelland fell just shy Japan's Hitomi Matsuda's world record of 33.12. Matsuda was one of Swimming World Magazine's top 10 Masters swimmers of 2006 and 2007.

The other national record in the event came from Ann Hirsch, who lowered her own national record in the 75-79 age group from 51.68 to 51.55.

After lowering the world records in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes earlier this summer, Guthrie came to nationals attempting to own the breaststroke trifecta in the 45-49 age group. Guthrie came up short of Glen Christiansen's world mark of 30.41 in the 50 breast, swimming a 30.97. That time was slower than the 30.59 he swam in June at the Texas Senior Circuit meet, which stands as the national record.

Robert Strand demolished his own world record in the 60-64 age group with a 33.41. His old record was a 34.20. And James Corbeau took down Wally Dicks' national mark of 30.78 in the 40-44 age group with a 30.41.

Three world records were crushed in the women's 200 back. The first came from Arizona Masters' Evie Lynch, who swam a 2:47.98 to erase BettyAnn Barnett-Sallee's national and world record of 2:51.07 in the 55-59 age group. Bonnie Bilich took down the records held by Patty Landers in the 50-54 age group with a 2:41.88, and Karlyn Pipes-Nielsen took down her own world record set earlier this year with a 2:26.30.

No one under the age of 32 took on the challenge of the 200 back at nationals, leaving the older swimmers to show the young pups how it's done. Richard Burns of Tamalpais Aquatic Masters was the only swimmer to set a record, breaking the national mark in the 65-69 age group with a 2:47.52. Chris Stevenson took a shot at Sean Murphy's world record in the 40-44 age group of 2:13.07. Stevenson, representing Virginia Masters, swam a 2:13.48. Stevenson still owns the 200 back national record in short course yards and the world record in all three backstroke distances over short course meters.

In addition to Kawamoto's fast 100 fly in the 25-29 age group, Paul Carter of Club Assistant Swim Team erased Trip Hedrick's name in the 50-54 age group with a 57.23, a time that made the 51-year-old the second-fastest swimmer in the event. Paul Smith missed a world record for the second time today with a blistering 57.60, missing Carter's world record in the 45-49 age group by eight-tenths of a second.

The mixed 200 free relay ended the long second day of swimming. Maybe it was the late hour, or maybe the records are just too fast, but no world records were set in this event. Only the Fort Lauderdale Aquatics team in the 72-99 age group were able to break a national record, swimming a 1:48.40 to erase the 1:48.50 by University of San Francisco Masters. Unfortunately, swims by those under 25 years old are not recognized for world records, so Fort Lauderdale is settling for a national mark.