A 4-for-1 deal: 80-year-old David Radcliff breaks 4 American Masters records in the same swim

It’s still a bit of a swimming novelty when an athlete breaks two records in the same swim. But 80-year-old David Radcliff took that even a few steps further.

On the first day of Master’s Nationals in Santa Clara, Radcliffe broke not one, not two, not three, but four different American records in the same single swim.

Competing in the 80-84 age bracket of the 1650 free, Radcliffe went 21:54.87 to smash the previous national record by nearly 90 seconds. On the way there, the Oregon swimmer took down records in the 200, 500 and 1000 freestyles as well.

Here’s a quick look at his splits along the way, with the previous records in parentheses:

  • 200 yards: 2:30.66 (2:33.31 – Graham M Johnston, 2011)
  • 500 yards: 6:27.81 (6:52.87 – Burwell Jones, 2013)
  • 1000 yards: 13:10.14 (14:24.73 – Burwell Jones, 2013)
  • 1650 yards: 21:54.87 (24:12.69 – Burwell Jones, 2013)

Radcliff also owns each of these records at the 75-79 level, which he swam in up til this year. He also holds the 100 mark in that age group, having set the 100, 200, 1000 and 1650 on the same day in 2009. He also broke the 500 free just two days earlier.

Master’s Nationals continues through Sunday, with live results available here. Radcliff is also entered in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyles with chances to add to his already-substantial record haul.

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7 years ago

how do these times compare to what he was going throughout the previous age group

Reply to  Ben
7 years ago
7 years ago

Wow, really impressive. And who knows, maybe he can go under 6 in the 500 individually.

80 years old? Yeah right. The guy is a highlander.

7 years ago


7 years ago

the coolest thing about nationals is the earlier heat. they seed by age group, combining odd swimmers in 2 adjacent age groups to fill empty lanes if necessary. so the last heat is the fastest heat of the 18-24 age group. anyway, in the earlier heats, its amazing to see what some of these men and women can do. in 2012 i made friends with a lady from mission viejo nadadores who was in her upper 80’s-90. she was chasing records in the distance events and 200 breaststroke! this woman was mentally and physically more fit than many people 30 years younger than her! masters nationals is an amazing experience for swimmers of all ability levels. if you are a… Read more »

7 years ago

These times are amazing for an 80-year old! Congratulations to David, well done!

7 years ago

ok….i’m 49….this gives me something to shoot for. 6:27 in the 500 – that’s awesome!!

7 years ago

Awesome swim, but Michael Andrew will smash these records in 2079. 😉

7 years ago


About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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