Erika Erndl, at 34-years old, is swimming better than she ever has in her life. And not suit-fueled-better, but she has legitimately exploded into the national consciousness over the last few years, including making her first international roster last year in the Pan Ams team.
Thus it’s no surprise that she has begun an assault on the Masters World Record book after missing the U.S. Olympic Team, beginning with a World Record in the 100 IM (Short Course Meters) this morning at the 4th annual Rowdy Gaines Classic in Orlando. Erndl swam a 1:02.52 to shave .03 seconds off of the old mark held by Hitomi Matsuda of Japan from 2010. Matsuda was dominant in this 30-34 age group and held the World Record for 7 years before Erndl was able to break it.
She was also the fastest swimmer overall, despite some stiff competition that included former NCAA Champion and Olympic finalist Alia Atkinson in the 18-24 age group. Atkinson was a 1:02.82 to win her segment.
In her second swim of the day, Erndl broke a 2nd with a 54.75 in the 100 free. That took down a three-year old record held by France’s Alena Popchanka. Former Olympian Brooke Bennett, who has been back in training with Randy Reese for quite a while now, was 2nd in that race in 59.74.
Erndl, who has been back in training since September 1st, will be pleased with her first swim back. She also won the 100 fly in 1:00.34. That missed the World Record by about two-tenths. She would come back in the 800 free relay and lead off in 2:00.58, which is a third World Record on the day. That again crushed a mark held by Matsuda had held at 2:02.60.
She isn’t the only Masters World Record breaker in this meet so far. The lone competitor in the 85-89 age group of the women’s 1500 free Betty Lorenzi swam that race in 30:50.51. This is a World Record that has only been broken four times in history. The old mark was set by another American, Rita Simonton, in 2003 with a 31:44.50. That means Lorenzi broke the record by almost a minute, a feat that we think speaks for itself.
Watch the full meet live on the Florida Swim Network here.