What would draw a group of men to travel halfway across the United States to participate in roughly a half-hour of physical activity? Mike Freshley, Laurence Walker, Tony Ralphs and Peter Andersen have swum together in San Diego for several years and enjoy the competition of US Masters Swimming. A couple of the men recently celebrated birthdays making this their first attempt to set records in the 75 to 79 year-old division. Their quest to beat national records in the relay events quickly became the story line for the Ozark Short Course Championship at the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center in Edwardsville, IL March 30 and 31.
In their first event, the quartet swam the 800-Yard Freestyle Relay in 10:17.84, crushing the record from 2008 by more than 45 seconds. That is more than a full lap faster in the 16-lap race. They followed that by shaving 27 seconds off the 400-Yard Freestyle Relay a few races later. To finish the first day, the San Diego swimmers beat the national record in the 400-Yard Medley Relay by more than 28 seconds. In a sport where winners are determined by hundredths of a second, these are impressive margins of victory.
Coming back for the second day, the San Diego Swim Masters finished the 200-Yard Medley Relay in 2:15.38, besting a five-year old record for that event. In the final race of the day, the men from California had their smallest margin of victory beating the 200-Yard Freestyle Relay record by three-quarters of a second. It was fun to share the pool with these men as they swam their way to perfection, setting national records in each of the five relay events they entered. Congratulations to Mike, Larry, Tony and Peter on a tremendous weekend of swimming!