Australian Chris Fydler Breaks Rowdy Gaines’ 50-54 Masters World Record In 50 Free

From one Olympic gold medalist to another, Australia’s Chris Fydler recently broke Rowdy Gaines‘ Masters world record in the men’s 50-54 50 freestyle (SCM).

You knew that Rowdy was a great swimmer in his younger days and that he’s now the voice of swimming in the United States, but he’s also an accomplished Masters swimmer.

Back in October of 2009, Gaines, 50 at the time, clocked a time of 23.38 in the SCM 50 free at the “Rowdy Gaines Classic,” breaking the previous 50-54 Masters world record of 23.97, set by Brent Barnes earlier that year in April.

That mark stood on the books for nearly 13 years until Fydler put up a time of 23.36 at an Australian Masters meet in New South Wales at the end of May, leading off his team’s 200 free relay.

Although Fydler won’t turn 50 until November, FINA recognizes an athlete’s age as of December 31st of the year of competition for Masters meets.

During his competitive career, Fydler’s best time in the SCM 50 free was 21.97, according to swimrankings.

Fydler is perhaps best known for swimming the second leg of the Australian men’s 400 freestyle relay at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, when the Aussie quartet of Michael Klim (48.18), Fydler (48.48), Ashley Callus (48.71) and Ian Thorpe (48.30) combined for a time of 3:13.67 to break the world record and upset the heavily favored Americans.

Fydler also won World Championship gold in 1998 on Australia’s 400 medley relay, added a silver in the 400 free relay, and was a 20-time Australian national champion.

Gaines, who won three Olympic gold medals at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, still holds the SCM 50-54 Masters world record in the men’s 200 free (1:54.61), and also owns the U.S. Masters records in the 50, 100 and 200 free in short course yards and the 50 in long course meters in the age group.

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2 years ago

my only question: Chris did you smash a guitar as well as the WR?

2 years ago

WOW! amazing for Chris!!!
Brings back memories of when a Masters swimmer came VERY close to breaking/besting the then fastest time in the World, in the men’s 50 free. At the ’83 Long Course Masters nationals, the then 26 year old Kevin DeForrest, swam the relay lead off for his club team’s 200 free relay, in the 25-29 age group final. He went a very blistering 22.59, just .05 shy of the then current World best of 22.54, held by the USA’s Robin Leamy. Kevin’s 22.59 became the 3rd fastest LCM 50 free ever, behind two swims by Leamy (one prelim, one final) at the ’81 US Senior LC nat’s in Brown Deer.

2 years ago

Is the 4th leg in the relay – James Hickman- the former British Olympian butterflyer??

Reply to  JaffaCake
2 years ago


2 years ago

Broke the 50-54 record at age 49?🤔

Reply to  Rob
2 years ago

FINA recognizes age groups as of their age on December 31.

Aussie Crawl
2 years ago

Smashed it like guitars….
Great swim Chris.

Games Juy
2 years ago

Some of those dives are amazing

2 years ago

Rowdy would like to know what side he was breathing on…

I know, too easy. Congrats to the new WR holder!

Reply to  John
2 years ago

LOL!!! Hilarious, and on point!

2 years ago

That’s brilliant! Congrats Chris.

About James Sutherland

James Sutherland

James swam five years at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, specializing in the 200 free, back and IM. He finished up his collegiate swimming career in 2018, graduating with a bachelor's degree in economics. In 2019 he completed his graduate degree in sports journalism. Prior to going to Laurentian, James swam …

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