Switching the Master Plan in Edmonton

The master plan was to have Cheryl Gibson as the hometown hero of the   
Nationals at Edmonton (LC, May 15-17), and it nearly worked out.
Cheryl was of course a second-placer at the 1976 OG 400 IM in 4:48.10. She
still holds NR's from a 1985 foray into Masters.

But some seniors had a Plan B in place and they succeeded in stealing the 
spotlight. The supporting cast included Dorothy Bullen of BC, second oldest
person by 10 years. Dorothy, 85, broke several additional records, adding 
to her collection, and actually originated the expression: " faster than a 
speeding Bullen".

Jack McBride also gained an Oscar nomination with his 100 breast that left 
us tense all over: an hesitancy at the start then quick recovery of the 
proper stroke, a long pause at the 50 while ruminating his strategy for        
the second 50, and a rousing finish for the 92 yr-old Calgarian, the oldest
ever male master in Canada, usurping that title from 89 yr-young Jaring
Timmerman of Winnipeg.

Mary Henning,77 of EMSC was swimming the 50 free. She stopped at 40 meters
for a few seconds, then signalled some possible distress with a motion 
of her hand. As 50 people along the pool deck spent maybe 20 seconds pondering
the situation, it was left for Danielle Tremblay, 30 yr-old of St-Laurent, QC
to dive in and finally give assistance. Mary had had an asthma attack.

In the 100 free, Jean Ross an 82 yr-old newcomer swam effortlessly to a time
of 2'49 with an impeccable time. Behind her however Marge Anderson of BC
clinched the Oscar with not only one of her 4 World Records but also an
honest-to-goodness acceleration tantamount to an outright sprint ! Everybody 
was cheering and clapping of course. Marge was born in 1903. To calculate her
age, a reminder is in order: this is 1998.

Some actors-to-be did try their best: Mike Morrow did break the NR in both
the 200 breast and 200 IM. In the same age group (45-49) Jim Ducharme of
NB went well under 1 minute for the 100 free (58.10), and Chris Nicol swam
a rather stupefying 2:39.7 for 200 breast at age 44 ! As his occupation
does not leave him much time, Chris trains in hard sets of 12 100 brst
broken as 1'25" swim, 35" rest. Chris is from Regina. Readers may try the
same sometime; free is OK.

However he missed his own 1:13.13 100 br record narrowly, and so did Peter Bell
 1:25.88 leaving the 1:25.85 by Templeman standing for one more year. 
Peter,62 is from BC.

Judy Woodward of BC swam 2:41.01 for 200 IM. This is not surprisingly a NR
for 40-44. It brings back sweet memories. Ten years ago, BC sent in
a claim for a NR of 2'40" for a 40-44 female. As it was all a glorious 
mistake, the claim was rejected at the time, rightly so.
Here we are 10 years later, with a legitimate 2'41 !
The day before, Judy had also swam a NR 100 breast.

In the 50 free, Cathy Merritt lost her NR 30.66 50 free record to no less
than Jill Quirk. Jill had a Quick sub-30 time. Two heats before, Cathy was
swimming 30.58 for a NR 45-49. This girl has merit after all.

As I was giving Cathy her NR certificate for her 200 IM LC swum in Nepean
in February she averred that another Ontario swimmer was probably the 
rightful owner of that record, having swum a faster time as a 40-44.
This was masked by the Ontario custom of sticking to the ancient age as
time of swim age, as opposed to the MSC, FINA-induced age as of Dec 31.
Anyway, Cathy broke the record again and will get another certificate soon.

It was not possible to get another quote off Cathy as she well remembered
last year ! Experience is a great teacher.

Cliodna Johnston won her 30-34 age group with a fast 29.60 while Debbie
Gaudin had the fastest 25-29 time, but was exhibitioned away by Carolyn
Chartier due to a deck entry situation.

Earlier in a tight 65-69 race, Pat Niblett was trailing Loreen McKellar
by half a body length at the 25, but started kicking and flailing away,
winning by a nail in 40.25. Linda McPherson of BC broke the 60-64 record
that had been set by Catherine Kerr in 1981. Linda swam 36.17. Catherine
had swam 36.24.

World famous George Park swam the 50 fly in what is believed to be his
first ever masters meet, placing second to Mike Torsney. George Park was
famous for his lake-crossing swims in the 50's and 60's.

Dianne Foster was close to her 400 free WR set in March.

Among non-Canadians, Cecil Benfold was present as usual, winning the 200
back but complaining about the water (too cold by 6 degrees !).  
The Ukrainians were no-shows, but Keith Bell of the USA was all over the 
50-54 age group, winning most convincingly especially over 1500 free and 
200 fly. Frank Warner, backstroking ace of the late 50's was present.

Speaking of backstroke, Aart Looye, meet manager, won the 200 back in 3'08,
ahead of Steve Gosse. Both are 50-54 from Edmonton.

Some other great swimmers from Calgary were Jani Dorken 30-34, winning her
4 events (breast and IM), and John Grave now 65, winning 5. Just like Chris
Nicol, John is originally from Scotland. Jeff Welechuk 25-29 was the fastest
swimmer overall in several events, under 55.0 for 100 free, and 2:15 for
200 back.

At the time of writing, full results were still held back due to corrections
(deftly handled by Karen Fradette of EMSC even under pressure). So this ar-
ticle probably does not do full justice to everybody present. However some
more Calgary people come to mind: Rene Starrat was second SIX times, and
Dave Dickson 45-49 won the 50 fly with an Alberta record. This is Dave's
first year as a Master having last swum more than 20 years ago !

From Ottawa Tech we have Pat Davis training extremely hard and having the
results to go for it, while Dominique Champeau is recovering from a dry-land
accident. Roy Howard Smith, 45 yr old policeman from Ontario mentions his
experience from the past few years: work-related accidents ranging from the
very tragic to the lucky escapes, daily pressure, and very cyclic training
methods. What he went thru the past few years could fill up a book.        

Finally Edie Fisher from Kenora did her usual stuff: fast and faster. We now
know from a Winnipeg tape sent in by Bob Groff that Edie was a Pan-Am cyclist.
Family-raising does not leave her much traing time. Teammate Janice McAslan
is doing some tremendous times in her 35-39 age group.

(These tapes done by a Winnipeg TV station are quite interesting. The 1996
Natl meet had also been taped. Maybe Nepean will do something in that regard).

Stephane Gizdic 30, of Val Cartier, Quebec has his own training routine.
Right before his 1500, he did several power squats with 600 lbs. Let us be
reasonable: MSC does not recommend anything over 500 lbs.

There are no draft picks in Masters yet. However Peter Hepburn of BC is
moving to Montreal in the fall. At the same time, Clement Barrette is moving
to Victoria, BC. We will see next year which coach had the best trade.

Also saw Grant Jeffrey, of Scarborough, Ont. He said he now had trouble with
breaking 3:00.0 for 200 free. Join the club ! Does the rule of 67 apply ?

As for me I swam 200 fly, but had a light touch. Concerned, I asked an
official about my time. He picked up a phone, listened for a moment, hung
up and said: "Two minutes". This is Mark Spitz-class time, so I said it was
a bit too fast. He called again, listened, hung up and said: "Three minutes".
I said that was still too fast. So he did his routine again, and said: "Four
minutes". At that time, I thought it may be wise to shut up.

All in all, a very interesting national championship, and a good show by
Edmonton, meet-wise and swim-wise.