Still Rockin’ – Steve West and David Guthrie Break 6 Masters World Records in SoCal

Time and time again masters swimmers are showing swimming fast isn’t just for ‘kids’.  Steve West (41), former USA Swimming national teamer and the oldest man to have qualified for the USA Olympic trials, dropped three world records this past weekend at the Southern Pacific Masters short course meters championship in Commerce, California.  West swam a 28.55 in his 50, 1:01.44 for his 100, 2:14.36 in his 200.

David Guthrie (53), who’s grabbed a whopping 14 world records this year was 29.84 in the 50, 1:04.54 in the 100, and  2:21.65 for his 200.   Guthrie has been on fire all year long dominating in all three courses.

In this interview, Steve and David talk about this weekend’s races and how they balance the demands of family, work and swimming. For both them it’s a lot of focusing on the “little things” that make the difference. West has devoted a lot of time to flexibility, technique and race pace training.  Guthrie’s been a following a precise dry land regimen, nutrition and training with team to help him maintain his edge.

Beyond the speed and the awards, both these guys find the fun and camaraderie in masters swimming to be a central component of their swimming.

If you want to find out more about masters swimming in the US visit US Masters for a list of programs and events.


  1. Roger says:

    A 53 year old man who swims every year and/or competes every year for the past 20 years: 1) breaking 30 seconds for the first time in his life; and 2) dropping 7 seconds in his 200 breast from the last year of the full body suit ["2010-2.28"] to 2.21 three years later with a 2.32 in 2011. Is it P2Life or PEDs? Until Masters Swimming drug tests-this is just laughable, a joke amongst competitors.

    • Dave Connell says:


      Clearly you do not know anything about swimming and athletics in general. These two individuals are extremely talented and with age you NEVER lose your talent. you might lose some flexibility and lung capacity buut with training that can be overcome. It is not as if these two swimmers just joined swimming 3 years ago. I am pretty sure Steve was top 5 (maybe 3rd) in Olympic Trials in the 90′s………

      Just because you are too lazy to accompplish something does not mean you should be jealous and accuse someone else of PED’s

      • Jimmy Kopp says:

        Steve West was 3rd in the 200 Breast at 96 Olympic Trials,
        barely getting out-touched by Eric Namesnick at the very end. And
        he just swam 2012 Trials, where he could have been (and may have
        been) tested at any point, and Steve isn’t anywhere near dumb
        enough to take that chance, to say nothing about the fact that he’s
        not that kind of person.

      • Toby says:

        You are right about being able to maintain performance levels with talent and hard training. That said, when time progressions go up dramatically (post tech suit), then drop even more dramatically (to where you are performing far better than you did with the tech suit) over a short period of time, it does raise questions.

        It’s certainly not unheard of especially when a talented athlete returns to swimming after a long lay off (like a David Sims), but to see it in someone who has been at this consistently for a long time does raise eyebrows

    • JohnK says:

      Wow… I heard about this thread and it’s hysterical… Get back in the water everyone and do what you are supposed to be doing – swimming – this is for fun isn’t it?…

      Steve’s clean, I know that for sure. He does drink Bud Light although I’m not sure how because everyone knows it’s recycled beer that’s already been processed by human kidneys once or twice. It’s awful.

      Dave on the other hand is working his ass off, swimming every day, working out with a trainer. Sure, he supplements but he’s probably not sitting in the back of the RV getting his daily dose of EPO… And if he is – who cares… (maybe I’d care if I was a breastroker! But I’d be next in line at the RV!)

      We’ve also come to a point in history when a few things are happening:
      1) Us grown-ups have lived through the era of physical training from a younger age than our predecessors – and our bodies are just built better if we’ve kept up with it – intelligently and responsibly.
      2) Training in general has improved and become more sport specific
      3) Body mechanics can now be measured, studied and trained both in and out of the water – along with hydrodynamic studies
      4) Diets have dramatically improved for some – using food as true fuel rather than simply eating to sustain life
      5) Supplements come into play – adding more protein than you may normally force through your gully is impacting our body types

      And I could go on about T, etc. but…

      Us aging folks (I’m 42 and have finally starting to feel some changes and I’m fighting them with a vengeance), and those older than me (and even younger) still want to “live young” – because we still feel young in our minds and hearts. You can blame this on ego, selfishness, etc. etc. etc. Who else is in their 40′s or 50′s and beyond that doesn’t feel (in their mind) like they are much younger? (If you don’t agree here you are either an old curmudgeon or you are lying to yourself – period…)

      Perhaps some people are using PED’s. If they are, who really cares?

      The great thing about swimming though is it’s really about you. Sometimes, on a relay, it’s about more than you but basically, for selfish reasons, it’s about YOU. It’s about comparing today vs. last year and the years before. Who would have thought at 42 I could be as fast than 38 with a super suit?

      Back to selfishness though. I certainly swim for selfish reasons. I swim so that I can eat, I swim so that I can drink a butt load of wine and I swim so that I can compete with myself and my friends.

      These guys both put in their fair share of work – they do what most of us aren’t willing to do with the extra few hours a week. They do uncomfortable things that are boring as hell like Pilates because they work and are making them faster.

      I don’t know – this is a ramble at this point. EVERYONE – stop taking this stuff so seriously and get off your high horses before you fall off and hurt yourselves. Get back in the water, swim, have fun, enjoy the time you’ve got.

      Later… :)

      • JohnK says:

        BTW – I wanted to clarify something here. I did not mean to insinuate that anyone is using PED’s. Both of these guys are working hard to make happen what they are accomplishing.

        As with all swimmers, and athletes in general who supersede the norm, many have gifts and talents that they were simply born with that when honed make them shine like diamonds in the sky. I can see how some are frustrated that they weren’t provided these same gifts from above – but in many ways, we all have different gifts. Some of which we realize, some of which unfortunately will go unnoticed and unknown because we are too busy focusing on everyone else’s success along with our own failures.

        Whatever the case may be, we need to focus back on the fun of swimming rather than going at everyone who is successful and making them out to be the bad guy.

        That’s all…

  2. Josh says:

    Maybe time to start testing a few swimmers.

    • Steve West says:

      “Roger”, “Josh”, “Toby”, “Swimmer,” “Big Daddy”, etc., I don’t know who you are, and obviously you don’t know me at all.

      Your comments, accusations, insinuations that these recent performances are somehow tainted are extremely disappointing, and quite frankly is insulting to me and my family. Never once in my swim 35 year swimming career have these types of insinuations been thrown my way, by anyone in or out of the swimming community.

      If you knew me, you would realize that I am a passionate, lifelong, swimmer, surfer, bodysurfer, and all around waterman. I have been in the pool, and in the ocean since I was young, having the good fortune of being a member of a really good local USA Swimming swim team, which was coached at the time by my first great swim coach, John Woodling, here in Huntington Beach, CA.

      I have NEVER, EVER, taken any performance enhancing drugs in my life, and I NEVER will. Additionally, for the majority of my swimming career, and prior to the 2012 Olympic Trials, I have been required by USA Swimming and the USOC to be enrolled in what is now known as USADA (http://www.usada.org). When I “un-retired” from USA Swimming prior to the 2012 Olympic Trials, I was subjected to an unannounced out of competition drug test leading up to the Trials meet, just like all of the other elite athletes in swimming, you know, Michael Phelps, Ryan Lochte, Missy Franklin, and the rest of the U.S. Olympic Team!

      Today I train and compete in U.S. Masters Swimming because of my passion for aquatics and the pure joy I get from simply being in the water, and staying in shape. U.S. Masters swimming, and swimming in general has provided me with incredible personal relationships that I established over the years with other swimmers and coaches. Swimming also allows me to some extent to give back to the sport which has given me so much in my life, by showing my teammates how to train, and by setting a good example for others I am in contact with. If you knew me, you’d realize that I am extremely approachable and that I don’t take my masters swimming that seriously, I’m quite casual about all of it! I am not swimming to break records, inflate my ego, make money, or any of the other nonsensical reasons some of you asserted. Like most of you, I have a “real” career, I am a co-founder and CTO of a software company here in Irvine, and I am currently raising two children ages 10 and 8. Swimming is my hobby, and like my teammate mentioned in his comment below, swimming is NOT the top priority in my life!

      Since there was some speculation from commenters about my background, I will clarify it for you and everyone else. I competed and trained continuously in USA Swimming for 22 years from 1978 until 2000. I swam at the University of Michigan from 1991 to 1995, and was coached by Jon Urbanchek and John Woodling during that period. I then swam at Irvine Novaquatics with Dr. Dave Salo from 1995 until 2000. I competed and made the finals and/or semi-finals in the 1992, 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials, finishing 3rd in the 200 Breast and 4th in the 100 Breast in 1996. I retired in 1996 and got a job in software, having “moved on” in my life like most swimmers were encouraged to do at the time. Upon starting my career, I missed training almost immediately, but I had the good fortune of swimming for Dr. Salo, who was willing to allow me to train when I could with his team, understanding that I would not be at every workout. I was lucky to have him as my coach, the conventional wisdom back then was that if you missed just one workout you’d be “out of shape.” From 1997 until 2000, even though swimming wasn’t my first priority, I learned to maximize my training time and I was able to compete in the 1997 Short Course World Championships, and the 1999 Pan American Games where I earned a silver medal at the age of 27, all while working full time!

      After 2000, I “retired” a second time from USA Swimming, but maintained my relationship with aquatics by surfing, and occasionally training with the Irvine Novaquatics Masters team (my current team). I didn’t compete in USA Swimming or Masters swimming (I swam in masters meets a only few times during that period) until about 2009. In 2009, after my children were a bit older and I had slightly more free time, I started training and swimming more consistently, and I became active in masters swimming at the national level. As I mentioned before, I didn’t start swimming masters swimming to break records, or to inflate my ego, I did it because I felt like I was getting out of shape, and I hated that feeling. I also had some minor health issues that my doctor ironically recommended swimming would help with. So that’s when I started to compete at the USMS National level meets and that’s when I met David and many other incredible masters swimmers I am now friends with.

      What I find most ridiculous about all of this talk of PEDs is that the times performed by myself and David Guthrie last weekend AREN’T EVEN FAST! The times I swam last weekend are slower than times I’ve swum MANY, MANY times before in my life. I swam these times prior to the introduction of tech suits, dome caps, and the new dolphin kick during a pull down rule. The jammer tech suits, dome caps, and dolphin kicks contribute to considerably faster swimming in breaststroke! The times David Guthrie swam this weekend are also SLOWER than times he has swum before, prior to the dolphin kick and tech suit era. I have also recently gone LIFETIME best times in the 50 free, 50 fly, 100 IM, because I focused on my technique, particularly working on a stronger flutter kick, something I had never done because I was a breaststroker. There are plenty of OLDER masters swimmers on my team and throughout masters swimming who also go lifetime bests, or beat times swum in high school or college, it’s not as unusual as you are asserting!

      If you knew anything about swimming fast, you would realize that swimming fast for 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 2 minutes and 20 seconds requires far more technical skill than “conditioning,” especially in breaststroke! Most masters swimmers fail to understand that the best way to improve is through more efficient swimming technique, rather than focusing on pounding out the “yardage” in the pool!

      So while most masters swimmers will grind out repeat 100’s FREE on 1:20, swimming only a modest pace so they can barely make the tight intervals, I train by swimming 50’s, 75’s, 100’s, 125s, 150’s, and 200’s BREASTSTROKE in workout, FAST, and often! When I train, I work on my stroke, I work on perfect pull downs, body position, hand position, drag reduction, and I make sure I’m taking plenty of rest so that I can actually swim at FAST speeds in workout, simulating what I’ll experience in a real race! When I am not swimming fast, I am kicking, pulling and doing drills to help me perform the strokes correctly and efficiently. I invite any of you to come down and train with me for a week, to see for yourself what my routine is, and maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about swimming that you can apply for your own success. In addition to my pool training I also hire a personal trainer in Pilates every week, and I do weight training as well.

      Some of you appear to have a personal vendetta against David, yet you didn’t mention either he or I specifically, but I will address your comments. I’ve seen David’s progression, which is impressive, but still very reasonable, and to be frank with you, HIS TIMES ARE NOT THAT FAST! Last weekend there were other masters swimmers racing right there with him in the 100, who he barely beat at the end of the race, and there were others who beat him handily in the 50. There are other swimmers throughout the world who swim faster than I do, in breaststroke, IN MY OWN AGE GROUP, and there are guys who are OLDER than I am, who have beaten me this year in breaststroke! There are guys who are only slightly younger, but FASTER than David is. These guys are coming up around in the US and around the world to challenge all of the swims he performed this year. So although the swims this weekend were “fast,” they are not outside of the realm of what is reasonable, especially given the increased level of commitment David has made to swimming in the past 2 years.

      Last summer, David progressed in his swimming due to his willingness to swim the 100 and 200 LCM breaststroke at USA Swimming meets every couple of weeks, practicing the events, learning how to handle the pain of the events, while racing people who are FASTER than he is. As a former 200 breaststroke specialist, I know the best way to get good at the event (and really any event) is to race the event often, with people who are as good or better than you are. What David had done last summer, swimming the 100 and 200 breast 7 or 8 times at USA Swimming meets all season long allowed him to learn how to swim the race better, he was committed to the events, more than anyone in else in all of US Masters Swimming, myself included; and the hard work resulted in improvements as you would expect from that level of effort.

      Masters swimming is evolving, and is getting even faster. More and more talented and elite swimmers are deciding that they can and want to continue to train and have fun with the sport, which is making all of USMS more competitive. Older swimmers are learning from younger swimmers and people are believing in themselves and the perceptions of what is truly possible is changing. Perceptions of what is “fast” is being redefined. As we welcome more and more swimmers into the masters “family” we will continue to re-write masters swimming records far beyond where they are today! Swimming has always progressed this way, and it always will!

      As a former national level swimmer, I understand that many former national level swimmers are sometimes reluctant to swim masters swimming for a number social perception reasons. Many swimmers I know, myself included, vowed that we’d never swim masters swimming… easy things to say back in the ‘90’s when I was young. I for one am glad my perceptions of USMS evolved for the better. I would hate to think that there are elite and fast swimmers out there who are dissuaded from joining USMS, or are afraid to swim too “fast” due to comments like yours floating around the internet and pool decks behind our backs!

      Finally, I fully support USMS adopting at the very minimum a voluntary drug testing program, and would support a mandatory drug testing program for all “elite” masters swimmers if that is what most masters swimmers thought was necessary and wanted! So Roger, Josh, Toby, “Swimmer,” Big Daddy, etc., let’s introduce the idea of drug testing to the masters rules committee this year, I plan on doing it, let’s see if you guys can be as passionate about getting that done as you are in disparaging others!


      • John Smith says:


        Big Daddy didn’t call you out for cheating. He commented on the state of the sport.

      • Sean Justice says:


        I think that people just don’t want to realize that “old” people can still swim fast. Maybe it is because they see short comings in their own lives that they feel the need to pull others down. As an old swimmer myself, I still love to swim and compete at a high level (not as high as you). I can still score at USA sectionals and almost get top 8 in 1000 and 1650. I have to train hard, but it is worth it.

        I think that people are starting to realize that you can still be competitive later in life. One added bonus is that if you swim with a USA team, you can also be a mentor to some of the kids that want to learn and know what it is like to swim in college and making nationals.

        Keep up the hard work and maybe run into at some meets…I will be the other old guy.


      • I Silver says:


        Like you said at the beginning of your post, I don’t know you and you don’t know me but I was coming up through the system, trying to make cuts for ’96, and remember watching you swim.

        Let me just say that as an old breaststroker who took some time off and is fighting back, you and David have been an inspiration. I have found, as you said, that as physical barriers arise with age, they can be overcome through polishing technique. After seeing David swim two years ago and talking to him a bit I made changes to training that have paid huge dividends. PEDs can not improve technique!

        You and David both have a whole cadre of breaststrokers in this country watching you and standing behind you.

        And keep swimming in USMS meets! Most of us enjoy the opportunity to swim against high caliber folks. PED testing is irrelevant for masters since it is primarily about personal development and goals. I would feel very sorry for anyone who felt the need to put their health at risk by using PED in a Master’s Meet.

  3. Robert Killeen says:

    Josh-Rob Butcher came to Austin for our short course zone meet last March, in part because of the Lance controversy. Several of us had a very interesting and lively discussion with him about Lance and drugs-PEDs. Good discussion/debate. There are legitimate considerations such as cost, older athletes that need testosterone supplements, certain medications, etc. Masters Track & Field performs drug tests and has caught cheats. Since Master’s swimming is the only master’s sport that is Fina sanctioned, it would seem logical to drug test. However, until there is a viable test for HGH, as I don’t believe there is one via urine yet, ["I may be mistaken"] it may be waste of time and money. However, the flip side of the argument would be the sport needs to start somewhere. Interesting stuff.

  4. John Smith says:

    Not that this article is about drug use…… I am surprised someone finally had the guts to publicy mention the use of hormones to cheat in masters swimming.

  5. Swimmer says:

    Swimmers cheat? Huh, who would’ve thought that….

  6. Jim says:

    I have been swimming and coaching Steve over the last 4 years. I know David (and Mike). These guys are NOT on PEDs. If you knew them personally, and you had some sort of evidence to suggest such an accusation, your utter disrespect might be understandable.

  7. Toby says:

    It’s sad to think that any masters swimmer would use PED’s. There is no economic incentive to improve performance. Is it all about ego? If you are cheating, the only one you’re cheating is yourself. Did no one learn a lesson from Lance?

  8. Big Daddy says:

    The level of naivete in the masters swimming community about cheating is incredible. I would not say PED use is pervasive but it does exist and most people who have been around for awhile are quite aware of who the cheaters are. If your wondering how and wear people get access simply take another look at the anti-aging clinics that have popped up all over the country, walk in and get your HGH/testosterone treatment and your good to go. Sadly this was the topic of discussion at ASCA when John Leonard also spoke of parents taking their child/athletes to these clinics, sad world.

    Toby, there is absolutely economic incentive; clinics, private lessons, travel benefits, free gear/supplements, etc. But first and foremost EGO

    • Toby says:

      Big Daddy – I agree ego is the driver here. I remember going to nationals back in the day, and everything stopped when Rowdy Gaines or Rick Carey swam because you knew something special might happen. Does anyone really think time stands still when they climb up on the blocks for the 50-54 100 breaststroke? This is Masters for heavens sake. I couldn’t tell you what age group is swimming never mind if it’s the fastest heat.
      Like I said before, it’s sad.

      • You can’t just someone’s motives by what they achieve. You have to look at the person, not the action. Achievements might be motivated by ego or something more noble. But I can tell you with absolute certainty that being resentful of someone else’s achievements is pure ego. That’s exactly what acting from the ego looks like.

  9. Brandi West says:

    I will be transparent here. I am Steve West’s wife. What is most disappointing about this thread is that only one comment of 9 has been in support of this great accomplishment. Immediately the discussion turned to cheating. I think Jim said it best, if any of you knew Steve West on a personal level you would know cheating is not in his vocabulary. He is an athlete who has been swimming for almost 24 years. His love of swimming and competition is so pure and from the heart. He is the toughest athlete I have ever met. He lives to train, to compete, to be healthy and set a good example for our children. Our family attends the masters meets so we can watch the 90 year old athletes swim the 800 and show our kids what you can do when you choose a life of health, dedication and putting mind over matter. I have known Steve for the past 22 years. I have seen him mature as an athlete and craft his training program based on his knowledge of the sport and his body and his life experiences with sports. Age and experience makes you wiser to what works for your body and your performance. To hear accusations about my husband is insulting and completely uncalled for. Roger, Josh, John, Big Daddy, Robert, John, Toby, Big Daddy and “Swimmer”, spend just one day with my husband before you throw accusations his way. Or perhaps you enjoy hiding behind a computer to slander his reputation.

    • Brandi West says:

      Correction, he’s been swimming 34 years! But hey, what’s an extra 10 years – oh about 7,000 hours in the pool.

  10. Big Daddy says:

    Brandi, I completely understand where your coming from. Sadly I think there is a level of frustration out there that has been simmering for sometime about the use of PEDs in masters swimming and the lack of testing being done. Sadly the problem for everyone is no one knows for sure anymore and even the good guys accomplishments get tarnished.

  11. Scott Jackson says:

    C’mon… I train with Steve. He’d only test positive for,
    maybe, a Budweiser or two. While Steve’s very competitive in the
    pool, if you knew him, you’d know swimming is easily his third
    priority – behind his family and his job. He swims today for fun,
    and to stay in shape. (And, yes, competing is fun…even for those
    of us who aren’t setting records.) Steve was in the drug testing
    pool for USA Swimming recently (you know, that whole going to OTs
    at age 40 thing?). And, they DID test him. And they
    found…nothing. Great job, Steve and David. Really inspiring
    swims! Maybe I’ll put this cinnamon roll down and think about
    making that last heat with you both next year…

  12. Josh says:

    Note the start of this thread was NOT directed at Steven

  13. John Smith says:


    I am not hiding. I am the only average John Smith in the US swimming world. David knows me very well. Note, I prefaced my comment above by saying the article was NOT about drug use. These threads often diverge to other topics/opinions not always related directly to what is written.

    John Smith

  14. Brandi West says:

    Big Daddy, I think the most appropriate discussion of PEDs in masters swimming is to bring it up on its own discussion board. Contact Swim Swam, get them to write an article and then go to town writing comments. Instead, all you are doing is tarnishing the reputations of these 2 swimmers and this accomplishment by connecting this discussion with this article. We live in a world where you as an individual, can make great change. Take it upon yourself to take action and make your frustrations be heard in a manner that makes a difference. This type of endeavor takes time and energy on your part, but if you truly believe in it then dedicate yourself to it to make a difference. Then you can see an article like this and be trusting of the accomplishment and proud that you helped ensure great athletes get the recognition they deserve.

  15. Brandi West says:

    John Smith – the discussion thread didn’t diverge…it started out that way. I could understand it if we were 20 comments in and then the mention of drugs comes up, but the very first comment was an accusation.

  16. Have your cake, and eat it too says:

    Masters’ Swimmers beg, and beg, and beg for attention (I’ve even seen one of the two gentlemen above call for a ‘Swim Swam boycott’) and then when they get it…they don’t want to take the criticism. Sorry guys, if you want to be reported on as elite athletes, then you have to take everything that comes with that.

    I for one am glad on both sides: glad that Masters Swimming is getting more coverage, and glad that more people are asking the important questions about it as well. Too much money in Masters Swimming for nobody to ask these kinds of questions.

  17. Robert Killeen says:

    Brandi- I don’t know you or your husband but I believe Steve swam at Michigan with Urbaneck, ["SP?"] got 3rd at one of his OTs, now swims with Sprint Salo and has always been consistent. I don’t see where anyone on this list has questioned your husband’s swims. Rather, this thread has resulted in the issue of drug testing in Master’s Swimming being discussed. When the prior 5 fastest men in the world in track ["Bailey; Greene; Montgomery; Gatlin; & Powell"] all have tested positive ["Usain Bolt is the current WR holder"] and John Leonard gave a talk a the Coaches Convention on PEDs by High School kids, the topic seems reasonable.

    • Cynthia West says:

      I’ll also be transparent and say that I’m Steve’s sister. As Steve has been competing at the international level for decades….was on the NCAA winning swim team at Univ Michigan, was alternate to the Olympics in 1996, and breaking world records ever since, he’s had to ‘pee in a cup’ for years and never once tested positive. I’m sure he’d be happy to do the same for Masters Swimming.

  18. Keith Ryan says:

    I find this thread absolutely comical, for a few reasons.
    Masters’ swimmers “beg, beg, and beg” for attention? This is US
    Masters swimming. There are a handful of elite swimmers and we are
    carried by the “average” fitness and semi-competitive, fun-spirited
    athletes. I’ve known and admired Steve for basically my entire
    career in aquatics. While I was never, and will never be at that
    level, I find my own personal anecdotes of some relative
    comparison. I can tell you that at age 17, in 2001, training
    insanely hard and working toward swimming in college, I swam a 2:12
    200 lcm fly. After quitting 1 year into collegiate swimming, I did
    not train more than three times a week and 3,000-4,000 yards a
    practice for the next 6 years and focused on triathlon. In 2009,
    swimming became of interest to me again, and I trained on my own
    for a few months before I swam a 2:10 200 lcm fly at age 25. I was
    not lifting weights, I was in graduate school, getting married, in
    slightly worse shape than my former 17 year old self, and I was out
    there swimming for fun. I maybe did more yoga and was enjoying what
    I was doing more. I was possibly more intelligent and understood
    racing and pacing better after coaching the sport at the club,
    masters, and community college levels. I don’t really have an
    answer, but I “went faster” and some would say, “fast”- not that is
    is comparable to true “speed like Steve, but again, I was never
    finaling at trials either. Thankfully, not fast enough for people
    to wonder if my “results” were caused by drugs. Steve is a role
    model for many, but I know he is foremost a role model for his
    family. He is a stand up man, a gentleman, and an all-around laid
    back beach lover from Huntington Beach, Surf City. I know he’s got
    to be pretty competitive, but denouncing his accomplishments and
    even throwing things out there like PEDS is ridiculous. 41 is not
    “old”. Paul Amey of the UK is 40 and placed 17th in the world at
    the Ironman World Championships in Kona this year. Swimming is
    pretty forgiving in comparison. Training to swim fast for 25
    seconds to 2 1/2 minutes is probably “easier” than an 8 hour+ event
    traversing three sports. Steve has honed a specific skill set for
    many years. He is an expert breaststroke technician and very smart.
    One does not just stop learning in athletics, and Steve represents
    that. His ability to stay “fast” is because he has 1. always been
    fast, and 2. he cares more and trains harder yet SMARTER than
    anyone else of similar ability/talent. I don’t care how hard I
    trained for the next 12 years – at 41, I could not swim a 1:01 100
    scm breast. I don’t think I could even pull that off in yards to be
    honest. That’s just not a possibility for me and I know that, and
    it doesn’t bother me a bit. But, it apparently bothers a lot of
    other people. Steve, you are the man. You represent, along with
    Jeff Commings, Rita Simonton, Ron Johnson, etc. what health,
    fitness, and an unmatched competitive drive can do at all ages.
    That’s what a certain part of US Masters Swimming is to me, and I
    for one, and glad to be a part of it all.

  19. Wella says:

    Steve and Brandi, you guy’s try to ignore this silly stuff! Someone once told me just don’t read anything about you or your kids! Good advice!! Turn the cheek, if you knew Steve, this is laughable!!

  20. Brandi West says:

    It’s like when you are at a high school party and the cops bust it up. Your friends were drinking but you weren’t. You are guilty because you were there. Same issue here – all of this talk of drugs connected to an article about my husband lumps him into this discussion.

    All discussion about any type of performance enhancements are applicable at any level of competition if the governing body of that organization or its participants care about the issue. Your task at hand is to convince the majority of masters swimmers and the governing bodies of masters swimming to institute the testing. So how do we do that? That’s the real discussion!

  21. Tony Rezek says:

    Personally, I think wha should really be talked about here are the looks on Steve’s face while he was trying to ignore his son asking for the iPad.

    I agree Brandi, this discussion thread is quite unfortunate. But, I think someone that brings up PEDs after reading this article or watching this interview reveals much more about themselves than they do about David or Steve. I would love to someday knock off one of David’s records. I know to do so, I need to touch the wall before Steve, as he is a few months older than me, we’ll always be in the same age group, and he even ages up before I do for spring nationals. I know that if/when I do reach one of those goals, someone will make similar accusations about me. And I couldn’t care less. Even if there were a fiber of my being that believed David or Steve used PEDs, that would just be a sad display of excuse making and jealousy.

  22. HB says:

    The only reason the issue has come up is because the 6 swims we are celebrating are simply amazing. Congrats, guys! Who knew breaststrokers could get so much attention?! My only hope is that if I’m ever asked to pee in a cup, I can see over my belly to aim correctly. I’m working on it… I will, however, test positive for Stella.

  23. Josh says:

    We’ll at least 3 were amazing…congrats Steve.

  24. Steve….David….Way To Go!!! I, For One, Congratulate You Guys. Steve, You May Have Just Inspired Me To Finally Get Back In The Pool As Well. Brandi, Steve Is Certainly Lucky To Have A Wife Like You To Come To His Defense So Eloquently. I Just Wanted To Key You Guys Know That There IS Support For You Two Out There!

  25. Ken says:

    My name is Ken Brisbin and I am the Meet Director for the SPMS Short Course Meters Championships. We will be submitting 20 New World Records out of the 400+ participants who attend our meet and 1900+ splashes. Our meet draws all swimmers from the beginner to the elite and I want to thank everyone for attending and would like to not only congratulate Steve and David but to all those that swam personal bests at out meet.

  26. We know that God works all things together for good for the
    ones who love God, for those who are called according to his
    purpose. (Romans 8:28 CEB) Even this.

  27. –all without a shred of evidence

  28. Rob Rojas says:

    I grew up swimming with Steve West. First of all congrats
    on all your success Steve! Secondly, Growing up I had attended US
    Swimming swim camps with Steve and I have seen him take is swimming
    to a level far above mine. Steve is one of the hardest workers and
    one of the most dedicated athletes I have ever known. Congrats on
    your records man! You earned them!

  29. Toby says:

    Sadly, we will likely never know if PED’s are involved in USMS nor the depth of use. There will always be those who look to cheat in order to feed their ego. And there will always be those who wrongly get dragged into the cheating conversation based on “proximity.” to one who cheats.

    I think in this instance, that’s exactly what has happened.

    • “Toby”, “Roger”, et al, I believe deeply in American principles. Do you? For instance, our Constitution guarantees the accused the right to know his accuser. Obviously, that’s not a principle you value. You might want to contemplate why our Founding Fathers thought that is important enough to be a fundamental right.

      When commenting on ideas or events, anonymity in public forums is ok. But it should never be used to hide behind when making personal attacks on someone. Never.

      • Toby says:

        I don’t think anyone here is accusing you specifically of anything. I do think that questions about PEDs are valid especially when you see dramatic drops in times from any athlete who has been committed to a sport for decades.

        I think we can all agree that in Masters, there are people who are forced to take products like testosterone to improve the quality of life – so in some ways the use is not always equal, but anyone who takes them purely for performance is wrong.

        From one of your previous posts I take it that you are a religious person. If that’s the case then both you and God know the truth and that’s all that matters.

        Psalm 109:2 For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me,
        speaking against me with lying tongues.

        Proverbs 11:9 With his mouth the godless man would destroy his neighbor,
        but by knowledge the righteous are delivered.

        I do suggest that you avoid calling for presentation of evidence as Lance has poisoned that well (for right or wrong).

        You are clearly an amazing swimmer and I wish you the best!

  30. Darren Williams says:

    I’m very appalled by some of the things I have read in regards to the accomplishments by these two athletes. I don’t know Steve but wish him all the best. I would like to address the accusations In regards to David. I am the strength and conditioning coach for David. To say his success is due to PED’s is without merit. David’s achievements did not happen over night. Since early 2008 I have been training him in the gym using a combination of strength training programs designed to help him reach his goals. No “super secret” magic bullet type training, just good basic resistance training geared toward making his a stronger faster swimmer. We have made great strides along the way and the training has not been easy. It is very different from cookie cutter, one size fits all “dry land” (that term cracks me up) training a lot of swimmers do. It took a lot of hard work developing a program for David. Some things worked well, and some things were found to be not worth using in the program. He now has a S&C program that works great. Until you have spent a day in the gym working yourself into a puddle of sweat like he does, you won’t understand how he can perform the way he does. I’m sure there are some who cheat and use PED’s but DAVID GUTHRIE is not one of them. I know David, I know how hard he works I. The gym and on the field outside the gym (still on “dry land”). I know his character and I know the type athlete he is. I have trained many world class athletes and know my guys well. I have also refused to train athletes that I felt were “dirty”. I have been in athletics as athlete and coach for over 40 years and have seen both sides of the coin. Let me say David’s success is due to his work ethic, natural talent and a desire to be the be the best he can be! It did not come easy, he has earned it the right way.

  31. Coach BamBam says:

    I can speak from experience as a Masters Swimmer here in Canada. There are guys, including myself, that still compete and want to compete at a very high level.

    It was years ago, many many years ago, but I have swam/competed against Steve – and hope to again on the Masters Level. Steve you are a class act guy – always have been and always will be.

    Mr Guthrie – I can say the same thing about you based on the talks I have had with my friend in Corpus Christi (Kondo).

    Keep up the fast swimming guys – see you on the pool deck somewhere.

  32. Bruce Kone says:

    I don’t know Steve, but after reading 40 posts, I feel like I do. Great work, Steve.
    I do know Dave Guthrie and train with him at Rice Masters. Here’s my take.

    First off, Dave is a very humble, self-deprecating guy, and extremely generous in helping others who want to improve their swimming. I’m one of the beneficiaries of his generosity.

    A little over a year ago, fresh off of winning my first national title in Charlotte at age 54, I underwent surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. It was a big surgery: part of the first rib and some muscles in my neck that help with lifting the chest on inspiration were removed, my vocal cord was temporarily paralyzed, and my diaphragm on that side was paralyzed. I returned to the water exactly a year ago. It was brutal. I scared the lifeguards to death with all my gasping for air. Let me add that when I did win that national title, I thought I was incredibly fit, at my target weight, and could only decline from there with age. I was wrong.

    I decided that with my new limitations, I’d have to train differently, build a better boat (my body), stick to sprints, and improve my technique. I turned to Dave for advice. As our teammates can attest, Dave and I spent many a “master’s minute” (sometimes a master’s half hour) on the wall talking about his new approach to nutrition and dryland strength and conditioning. I already knew he was extremely competitive, worked through pain, and was a technique nerd (always videotaping his races, getting drills from Cordes’ coach, and working to perfect his stroke).

    So about six months ago, I decided to adopt his dietary approach as well as a six-day per week strength and conditioning regimen (a version of it) to add to my swim workouts. It took a while to give up alcohol and tons of carbs, get used to all the low-fat cottage cheese and nonfat yogurt, but I love what I eat now. Getting used to the dryland routine was extremely difficult. There’s swimming fitness, and then there’s athletic fitness. Dave’s genius is in trying to develop both.

    So guess what. Following David’s approach, I lost 20 pounds (I had always thought it was muscle — apparently it wasn’t), am stronger than ever (even college), just posted two best SCM times (which I think are still tops in the U.S.) despite my diaphragm issue, and seem to be improving in dryland strength and pool speed practically every week. If I spend the same amount of time perfecting technique and racing in meets that he does, I’m going to continue to do best times despite getting older. If I had David’s size and natural talent, I’d probably be able to set WR’s too.

    I would be astonished if any of the detractors on this thread hit the gym extremely hard six days a week in addition to their pool time, videotape and analyze all their races, pick the brains of this country’s elite coaches, religiously follow a healthy diet, race in meets 12 times or more a year, and have their coaches constantly time them to simulate race-pace conditions at practice on a regular basis. If you did, you’d probably get improvement results like Dave.

    My only hope is that the anonymous critics on this thread haven’t pissed Dave off so much that he stops giving such great advice to those of us who want to improve and believe it’s possible to get faster even as we age. Hopefully they’ve pissed him off enough that he’ll start swimming relays with our Rice team.

    Finally, as a medical doctor, I’d be remiss in pointing out the obvious, that the health risks of PEDs are not worth the ego trip that drives some people to use them. Swimming for fitness/health and taking PEDs is perhaps the ultimate contradiction, and one with potentially serious health consequences.

  33. Interesting discussion but let us put it down to the basicis. Swimmers and “ex swimmers” are in general very conservative . Many masters swimmers Keep on Training like they did as Young men and women in the 70´s-80´s (which we know now is both time consuming and ineffective) just ignoring that sports and the human being has developed since then. We are now approaching 2014 and the top swimmers today in the world Train more specific, more towards their Event and also adding other types of Training, like pilates, yoga, strenght Training, stretching etc to their Swimming to makle them stronger, faster and more complete swimmers. In this development of the Sport swimming also some adult/masters swimmers has understood that there are other and better ways to reach results than just Swimming up and down the pool with the main Goal to reach as many meters as possible. David Guthrie is one of them in his quest testing the Limits, trying to learn more and to brake new world masters records each time he moves up an agegroup (especially if they are mine :-) ). This should be honoured and not looked at with sceptict eyes. He swims very fast but the human being can more and the Limit is by far not reached. Thirthy years ago 50 year old women and men were “old”. This is not the case anymore. 80+ is the new “old” and this will Change too. I have masters swimmers (for eg. Barbro THÖRNELÖF) coming to my camps trying to get fitter, faster and improving their technique at the Age Age of 87!!!! What do you think it will look like in 25 years??? Think foward! Glen Christiansen (Olympic swimmer 1980, Olympic Coach 1996, Olympic Trial qualifier 2008 at the Age of 51, over 50 world masters records broken and owner of “Swimming without boarders”)

  34. Wes Kliewer says:

    Congratulations Steve and David on your record-breaking
    performances. Old guys rule! I’ve worked with Steve for over 17
    years as both a co-worker and co-founder of a software corporation.
    As president of a software company for over 15 of those years he
    has better things to do than PEDs for cryin’ out loud! Not to
    mention his family, which I see has already been covered. How did a
    web site covering the sport swimming get so many trolls?

  35. BW says:

    Trolls? Really, probably the only reason Roger posted is
    because he can’t figure out how to reconcile a complete body
    makeover in less than 18 months, from man-boobs to svelte…, while
    posting amazing times and dropping huge percentages at an advanced
    competitive age. He’s probably tried himself and only has bigger,
    lower-hanging, man-boobs as a result. But, maybe it’s time for a
    call to arms for some testing at the Masters level, as ridiculous
    as that sounds. The question is, “How do you do it?” Do you make it
    “illegal” to raise your T level to normal levels by taking extra T,
    or is taking T at all “illegal”? Glad that’s not an issue for me,
    but I know some for whom it is an issue. Also, with no real test
    for HGH, who really cares? A bigger question, though, is “What
    about the women?” Have fun with that, trolls…

    • David Morrow Guthrie says:

      BW, Beautifully written!

      Moobs to svelt in just 18 months.

      Do I have your permission to quote you in my marketing material? I should hire you to write my ad copy!

      It’s embarrassing, but you’re right on. I had moobs! That was the real motivation to change what I was doing with my diet, and I’m being serious! Shedding 25 lbs since the spring of 2011 (220 down to 195) and getting the weight I have left continually leaner is a major factor in my improved performance. My swimming improvement is, in large part, a byproduct of getting leaner.

      And I agree with everything you say about drug testing….right up until you call out the women. There’s probably a more respectful way to bring the other gender into the PEDs discussion. The whole drug testing discussion needs to be respectful of all athletes, presuming innocence, not guilt. Suspicion is valid and important, but it turns malignant in a hurry if it’s allowed to get out of control.

      Trust, but verify.

  36. It might help to know that I swim in my spare time. I make
    time to swim, but it’s not my primary focus. It’s something I love
    as a hobby that is integrated into my life, woven through it. I
    mainly swim to prolong my surfing years. I plan to surf the week I
    die. ;v) Records motivate me. They are the obvious focal point,
    goals that give me structure and purpose, a target, a schedule, and
    a commitment, a promise to train consistently, to do extra. But
    records are not the reason I swim. I swim for all of the other
    benefits. Competitive swimming is a lifestyle: an incredible
    quality of life is the reward. I have never felt this good. I’m
    sure I’ve never felt better. When I was in my elite years grinding
    away, I was always exhausted. What good is being in fantastic
    cardio shape if you only get to enjoy it a few days a year?
    https://david-guthrie.squarespace.com/bio-2007/ http://www.fluidg.com
    (Flash – not current)

  37. Steve Wright says:

    Weird how this thread developed. I watched the interview, and as a former high school and college swimmer of little note, and as a master’s swimmer who struggles to train on his own, I was INSPIRED, and curious and want to know more about Steve and Dave’s training methodologies. I had assumed (out of ignorance and perhaps jealousy) that master’s swimmer record holders were retired folks who didn’t have jobs, so could have the luxury of training 5k or more per day every day. So I was blown away that Steve revealed that he trains only 3 or 4 times a week (my target) and Dave only swims 40 min a day, albeit 6 or 7 times per week. One truth they revealed is CONSISTENCY of training, which I currently lack. They also have their own variety of strength training, and also swim with a team as much as they can. I want to know more, not slam them.

    I know for a fact from personal experience that masters swimmers can achieve great things through hard, smart training. I applaud both of these men for their achievements, and their willingness to freely share their training methodologies. Yay Steve and Dave!

  38. Roque Santos says:


    A lot of passion here! Congratulations to both David and Steve! It is clear to me that they are NOT doing PED’s. ( I know they can go faster!) Sad for those that think they do! I know they both are focused on what they do and it is a true joy to know them, compete against them and cheer for them. I wish them both the best of luck! They are inspirational!

  39. Big Daddy says:

    Let me be perfectly clear, I have no evidence that either of these two athletes have ever or would ever use PED’s and no accusations are being made on my part.

    Having said that since it was brought up in the comment section of this article I replied and stand by my statement that PED use does take place in masters swimming. Whether or not its important that anything be done about it is a topic that I guarantee will come up at the next USMS convention…especially after Ron Butcher tweeted about it after this thread went on fire. So lets talk perspective, since track and field has been down this path here’s a look at their situation:

    Drug-testing for masters athletes? Track officials grapple with question for the ages
    By Amy Shipley
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Tuesday, June 22, 2010


  40. Let me state clearly, I have never in my life taken PEDs and I never will. The idea of it is not attractive; it is repugnant.

  41. Rob Robson says:

    First of all, congratulations Steve and Dave on some
    fantastic swimming. Here’s some perspective: I’m a year behind
    Steve (40) and never achieved the same heights in my youth,
    dropping out at 18. At 34 I started swimming again. I’ve never
    consistently swum more than three hours a week (3 sessions), during
    that time, but I do try to do as much out of the water as in -
    mostly weights, but some running and some yoga. Like Steve, I try
    to work at race pace, and on technique. Although I stopped at 18
    (so that bar could have been higher), I still managed a lifetime
    best this year in my 100 breast, and was only 2 seconds out over
    200m. I’m 12 seconds behind Steve over 200m (and 5 over 100m), have
    much less of a ‘pedigree’ but while I think 2.14 is fantastic and
    beyond my reach, I also know that there’s so much more that I could
    do. I could swim (quite a lot) more, eat (quite a lot) better,
    drink (quite a lot) less – but as a masters swimmer it isn’t all
    about performance. There’s no point in me doubling my training if
    it upsets my family life and gets in the way of work. So, I guess
    my point is that although I don’t see myself doing 2.14 ever
    (however much I train!), I still see Steve and Dave’s times as
    utterly credible – as well as incredible and inspiring!

  42. cynthia curran says:

    He is a stand up man, a gentleman, and an all-around laid
    back beach lover from Huntington Beach, Surf City. I know he’s got
    to be pretty competitive, but denouncing his a

    I grew up in the area in Fountain Valley next to Huntington Beach and I was not laid back and never surf. You guys are repeating a stereotype that doesn’t fit everyone. In fact my old high school Los Amgios which gets a lot of kids from Santa Ana has them more kids into Low Riders than Surf boards since about 80 percent of the current population of Los Amigos is Hispanic and when I went there it was only 20 percent. Its now only 4 percent white and about 19 percent Asian. When I went there it was only 1 percent Asian and about 79 percent white and 20 percent Hispanic. I don’t live in Fountain Valley anymore but its changed even Huntingon Beach has a few less white surfers than 30 years ago.

  43. Per Svanberg says:

    Hi all!
    I just found this thread more than one month too late after the conversation has died out, but felt the urge to write some comments about the accusations…especially since I understand the rationale of the accusations are “they are so fast…therefore they need to be on drugs”. I dont know Steve or David. I wish I did, but i dont.

    This is my story: I am also a masters swimmer. I live and train in Stockholm, Sweden. I stopped my career when I was 17 (never qualified for the national team or anything – “mediocre” you could say at that time) and picked it up again 2005 at the age of 34. For the first couple of years it was just to get back into shape but after a couple of meets the urge to improve became a strong driver. “If i could post these times from just 1-2 sessions a week…how fast can I be if I put my mind into it?” I thought. I started reading about the latest training techniques. I started to analyze videos of myself and compared to others. I started with weightlifting. I had great help from younger swimmers in my masters team breaking the “old ways of working out” scheme. During 2007-2009 I was swimming 5-6 times a week and doing 2-3 weghtlifting sessions a week….and yeah…I hired one of Swedens fastest swimmers weight coach to write my weightlifting program. I also changed my diet to low carb high fat.

    2009 in March I broke the WR in 50 breast SCM 35-39 age group. Yes I was wearing a suit and yes it was broken later that year by other guys (Jeff Commings and Vladislav Bragin)…but for almost 6 months no one in that age group 35-39 had ever posted a faster time. That was cool I thought for my mediocre background. What was even more cool was that I was more than 2,5 seconds below my fastest time EVER….in 50 metres!! Imagine what speeds a guy (like Steve or David) that can actually swim fast from the beginning could do.

    So what is the message here? (besides bragging of my own achievements). Well – I am not surprised at all about the times Steve and David are posting. I am actually surprised they have not been posted earlier by others. Dont get me wrong, I am hugely impressed however by their achievements and find it highly inspiring to learn about them. But to state that “this is just laughable, a joke amongst competitors” really made me angry and I need to say;

    - “Roger” – you dont have clue what you are talking about! Hopefully your suspicions will turn into awe of these guys and you too will learn to swim fast based on the new thinking we have now in the swimming community in regards of trainingmethods, dry land training, diets etc.


    Per Svanberg
    Stockholm, Sweden

  44. 2008 Swimmer says:

    I was a competitor in 2008 World Masters in Perth. Sadly there is one high profile Masters World Record holder who openly takes a series of pills prior to each event. I don’t know what’s in all of them but I do know it involves PEDs such as ephedrine. (They were offered to others who then asked what was in them and there was no concern by this swimmer to admit to, essentially, taking speed.) The theory this swimmer went by is, if FINA does not test in Masters, that means that you are able to do whatever you want as you are not breaking any rules. I prefer to abide by the “moral” code, however.

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About Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis

Mike Lewis has nearly three decades of open water swimming experience as both an athlete and coach. He has worked with a wide range of athletes including Olympians and World Record Holders. Mike was as an administrator in the U.S. Olympic movement for 10 years and was a team director for the 2000 Olympic games. Mike himself is an avid swimmer and has notched several top 10 rankings in US Masters swimming. Mike and his wife Cynthia founded "Did you swim today?" – a global gathering place for swimmers to share their positive experiences in the pool and the open water. Read More »