Nine things we noted from FINA World Masters Champs
The 2014 FINA World Masters Championships came to a close on Sunday 10 August after a week of stunning competition at the Parc Jean-Drapeau complex, which also hosted the 2009 elite world championships.
Holding the championships in North America meant the meet attracted many of the best USA & Canadian swimmers, but they by no means had an easy run at the medals with winners coming from all over the world including New Zealand and Australia as well as Europe, South America and Asia. As well as the hugely friendly competition, here's a few things we noted from poolside:
Younger does not necessarily mean faster! 41 year-old Brian Jacobson's 23.61 in the 50m freestyle would have won the 30-34 and the 35-39 age groups and 49 year-old Marie Therese Fuzzati (FRA) swam 60.07 in the 100m freestyle, the third fastest time overall across all age groups. Jacobson (USA) improved to 23.43 for a world record leading off the relay.
On a similar theme, 47 year old Nicolas Granger's 1:57.75 world record 200m freestyle was the fastest time in the meet. The Frenchman, who swam at the FINA World Championships in Montreal 20 years ago, won the 100m breast stroke in 1:06.66 and the 100m freestyle on the same day in 54.16. He also won the 200IM (2:11.35) and 400m IM in a world record 4:43.83. He's a father of seven and has come through two bouts of cancer.
There were a few complaints about the lack of enough changing facilities but us masters don't actually seem to need them. We've had more practice at deck changes over the years than any other swimmers on the planet!
When 1996 Olympic Champion, Claudia Poll won the 200m freestyle in 2:11.05 (40-44yrs) she punched the air with delight. Her Costa Rican fans were some of the loudest and proudest there.
1991 World Champion breaststroker Lindley Frame (AUS) won all three breaststroke golds in the 40-44 age group. Her starts and turns made the difference in a very fast and competitive category that also included former European Champion Svitlana Bondarenko (UKR).
Never trust iPhone weather forecasts for Montreal! Despite the constant threat of thunder, only one day (the relays) was actually distrusted by bad weather.
90 year old Anton Biedermann from Brazil won the men's 100m free in 1:43.50. In the women's 100m free the oldest competitor was 97 year old Kathherine Johnstone from New Zealand, and in the diving a 90+ competitor dived in the 10m platform event, proving that you are never too old to take part in masters! The
Parc Jean-Drapeau venue was fantastic with two outdoor competition pools and another outdoor 50m training pool. The open water venue was right nearby and the swimmers loved watching the divers too! Best not to mention the portable toilets at the temporary pool though.
The free travel passes were an absolute winner! Well done Montreal for putting on a great FINA Masters World a Championships!