~By Sheryl Watkins
Almost 2000 athletes, ages 18 and over, competed over the course of the four day Championship at the 2010 US Masters Short Course Nationals at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center (GTAC) in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. This year marked the 40th anniversary of the Masters Nationals with 1,977 swimmers ranging from 18 to 93 years swimming over the course of the four-day event that took place May 20-23, 2010. The GTAC facility was the site of all swimming, diving and synchronized swimming competition as well as the swimming portion of the modern pentathlon during the Centennial Olympic Games in the summer of 1996. For the masters competition, the 50-meter pool was divided into 2, 10-lane competition pools and the diving well served as the warm-up pool. Odd and even heats were run for each event simultaneously. This was a must, with almost 2,000 swimmers and a total of 46 events (individual and relay). The most popular event, the men's 100 yd freestyle, contained 59 heats. That's almost 600 swimmers' in one event!
A total of 47 states and 8 countries were represented at the meet, so it was a true national and international event. Included were over 150 Florida swimmers making the pilgrimage, including 3 swimmers from Palm Coast's masters swim team, Dynoswim Masters and 7 swimmers from the Daytona Beach Masters Team. Dynoswimmers Glenn Partelow (62), Kate Sussman (52) and Sheryl Watkins (45) competed in a total of 12 events and brought home a total of 4 metals: Glenn took 7th place in the 200 yd Butterfly, 7th place in the 1,650 yd Freestyle (yes, that is 1 mile!), and 9th place in the 500 yd Freestyle. Sheryl brought home a 7th place in the 200 yd Backstroke. Metals were given out for the top 10 swimmers for each event and each age group. Age groups are, in general, defined by 5 year increments (i.e. 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, starting at 18 and ending at 90 and above). Glenn and Sheryl coach Dynoswim Masters, which practices at the Frieda Zamba Pool year round. Dynoswim member ages have ranged from 15 to 84, with ranging goals: fitness, triathlon training, and competitive swimming. Practices focus on technique and endurance building and are held Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Frieda Zamba from 6-7:45 pm.
Among the entrants were a number of Olympians, including Rowdy Gaines, Cullen Jones, Mark Gangloff, Josh Davis, Roque Santos, David Sims, Sue Walsh, Chris Stevenson, Jeff Farrell, David Wharton, Ryan Papa and Bumpy Jones. In addition, Swimming World's 2009 World Masters Swimmers of the Year Rich Burns, Laura Val, Michael Mann, and Mike Ross also competed. There were an amazing 103 individual and 19 relay record-breaking performances at the meet.
This meet was so exciting and inspirational! There were so many adult swimmers defying age boundaries, or those who have overcome serious illness or injury and are back in the pool competing and serving as role models for other adults. Swimmers in their 80s and 90s stepping on the blocks, diving in, and even swimming grueling events like the 1,650 yd Freestyle and the 200 yd Butterfly!
Here are just a few of the highlights and most amazing swims:
University of Pittsburgh Assistant Swim Coach Tanica Jamison, 28, shattered six national records and won every event she competed in, in her age group 25-29. Here are a few of these records: 50.14 in 100 free, 25.26 in the 50 back, 55.26 in the 100 IM, and 54.06 in the 100 back.
Richard Abrahams, just hitting retirement at age 65, celebrated by shattering records in the 50 free with a 22.10 (the old record was 23.66); the 100 free with a 49.42 (52.76); the 200 free with a 1:57.54 (2:00.61); the 50 fly with a 24.94 (25.99); the 100 fly with a 56.36 (1:00.91); and the 100 IM with a 1:00.32 (1:02.26). Abrahams' 50 free time would even stand up against today's college swimmers! Abrahams' performance sends an inspirational message to young people to keep swimming!
A trio of swimmers broke the women's 50-54 100 breast national record of 1:12.85 set by Lisa Bennett last year. Cokie Lepinski, 51, earned the close victory and the final standard with a 1:12.45. Bennett, 54, finished second in 1:12.46, while Brigitte Heuer, 50, took third in 1:12.50. Lo Knapp, 55, followed with a 1:14.67 in the women's 55-59 100 breast. That swim eclipsed the 1:16.47 set by Deb Walker a year ago.
Other seemingly significant barriers were breached as well: Jon Blank, 50, became the first guy to reach the half century mark and break a minute in the 100 breast, with a 59.94. Charlotte Davis, became the first 60 year old to break a minute in the 100 free, with a 59.41. Zsolt Gaspar, 33, posted a 21.65 to break the record in the men's 30-34 50 fly. That swim erased the long-standing time of 22.22 set by Brian Alderman back in 1999. Charlotte Davis demolished another record, this time stopping the clock in 2:31.84 in the women's 60-64 200 IM. That effort cut more than 10 seconds off Carolyn Boak's 2005 record of 2:43.09.
Nick Brunelli, 28, beat the men's 25-29 100 free national record with a 42.62. He beat SwimMAC teammate Cullen Jones (43.17) to the wall and cleared the national record of 42.91 set by Sabir Muhammad back in 2004. David Sims, 47, won the men's 45-49 100 free in record time with a 46.46. That swim beat Rich Saeger's 46.72 from 2009, while Richard Hughey took second today in 46.65, also under the former mark.
Sheri Hart, 39, and Erika Braun, 38, both beat the women's 35-39 100 IM national record of 58.31 set by Susan Von Der Lippe in 2004. Hart came in at 57.67 with braun a close second at 58.13. Another pair of swimmers surpassed a national mark, this time in the women's 60-64 100 IM. Charlotte Davis, 60, defeated Diann Uustal, 63, 1:08.64 to 1:11.61, as the duo cleared Carolyn Boak's 2007 mark of 1:12.31.
Brad Horner, 56, clocked a 2:03.18 in the men's 55-59 200 fly, breaking the 2007 national mark of 2:05.59 set by Greg Shaw.
Ellen Reynolds, 45, turned in a 57.83 in the women's 45-49 100 back. That time beat the 58.29 set by Karlyn Pipes-Neilsen back in 2008. Chris Stevenson, 45, touched in 52.21 in the men's 45-49 100 back. That effort wiped out the 52.33 set by Clay Britt in 2008.
In the 50 frees: Steve Scheren, 23, turned in a 19.69 in the men's 18-24 group. That swim beat the long-standing 20.25 set by Eric Mauer way back in 1994. SwimMAC training partners Cullen Jones, 26, and Nick Brunelli, 28, rocked the men's 25-29 sprint free event. Jones posted a remarkable time of 19.14, while Brunelli took second in 19.40 as both cleared Sabir Muhammad's 2004 mark of 19.44. Lance Asti, 30, touched in 19.85 in the men's 30-34 division, beating Muhammad's 2009 time of 20.08 that stood as the record.