Over the past weekend, there were several big-time records broken both around the country and the world, and not all of them were done at the Duel in the Pool.
Let’s do some globe-trotting to check out some of the other records that have gone down, as well as check early results from Ous Mellouli and the Pan-Arab Games in Doha, Qatar.
Murphy, McMahon Downs Irish National Marks
Two of the stars of the resurgent Swimming Ireland program broke multiple National Records at the Irish Short Course National Championships over the weekend.
On the first day of competition, Barry Murphy took four titles (three individual), including a new Irish Senior National Record in 53.34, to break the previous mark held by Steve McQuillan. En route to that record, he also broke the 50m mark (though that wouldn’t last very long). On the final day of competition, however, he would smoke that 50 fly record two more times – first with a 24.03 in the heats, and then settled on a 23.95 in the final.
The real star was 16-year old Sycerika McMahon of the Irish women’s team. The versatile young swimmer took down three National standards in a single day of competition on Friday. First went her own National breaststroke record in the 100 breast with a 1:07.83 to knock a tenth off of the old mark. Next up she took down the 200 fly Junior National Record in 2:13.52, and finally she (unsurprisingly) capped the day off with a 200 IM record in 2:12.41.
That 200 IM took down the mark previously held by Grainne Murphy, who was competing for Europe at the Duel in the Pool. This 200 IM could be McMahon’s best event, and when teamed with Murphy (they are 16 and 18, respectively) the Irish have the makings of a very good women’s IM group.
McMahon would tack on a win in the 400 IM (4:44.89) and a fourth National Record in the 200 breaststroke (2:27.18).
Egyptians Shatter National Records, Mellouli Wins 1 DQ’s 1 at Pan Arab Games
They’re halfway through the swimming competition at the 2011 Pan Arab Games (a multi-sport event similar to the Pan Am Games). Tunisian swimmer Ous Mellouli, who trains at USC with Dave Salo, is the star, but the Egyptian women have stolen the show early on to the tune of 5 gold medals.
That includes a new National Record in the 100 fly from 16-year old Farida Osman in 1:00.50.
Meanwhile, Virginia two-time individual All-American Katya Bachrouche is representing Lebanon in the Games (though she was born and raised in Michigan). She’s had a great meet with two gold medals so far, including a massive career best of 2:01.83 in the 200 free, and 4:15.24 in the 400 free. Those times should boost her hopes in London after being officially named to the Lebanese Olympic Team.
As for Mellouli, who is suffering from a fractured rib, is fighting through the pain to represent his newly-liberated homeland, Tweeting a few weeks ago that “Cracked ribs or not, I’ll b there. Doing it for Free Tunisia.” As one of the biggest sporting figures in his native country, he has been very vocal throughout Tunisia’s overthrow of former dictator Ben Ali. These games especially, hosting the best of the Arab world, seemed to have a special significance for him. This is, of course, the backdrop of this entire meet after the ‘Arab Spring’ protests that have rocked the region.
He came out hot early with a 4:15.94 to win the men’s 400 IM, and in a great moment he and countrymate Taki M’Rabet stood atop the podium in the first men’s swimming final of the meet as their national anthem played.
Determined to represent huge for Tunisia, Mellouli has already swum 6 events and winning 5 gold medals. That includes a 53.73 in the 100 fly and 1:48.78 in the 200 free on Sunday. On Monday, he started out well with a 23.03 victory in the 50 free, but hit a bit of a speed-bump in the prelims of the 100 breaststroke where he was DQ’ed for pulling-out more than 15 meters.
Have no fear, but Mellouli would bounce back with a win in the 200 back in 2:02.67. He would tack on a gold in the 800 free relay as well.
Bluefish Backstroker Breaks Record, Boosts Recruiting Standings
And swinging back around to the states, Bluefish Swim Club’s Aaron Gustafson broke the New England LSC 17-18 record in the 100 yard backstroke this weekend at the New England Senior Championship meet. His 48.04 broke the previous mark held by USC freshman Luca Spinazzola.
Here’s what will really get the college coaches drooling – I can’t find any record of Gustafson signing a Letter of Intent in the early fall signing period. At the Senior Champs meet, he lowered his lifetime-best by 2.3 seconds. That’s a huge improvement that will leap him up a lot of coaches’ wish lists to round out their classes in the spring. This was one of 7 lifetime bests for the Massachusetts swimmer at this meet.