Ervin Hits Fastest 100 FR in 3 Years as More Records Fall at Masters Nationals


Three-time Olympic champion Anthony Ervin, 38, swam his third 100 free since 2016 Olympic Trials Friday at the 2019 U.S. Masters Nationals in Mission Viejo.

At 51.73, the swim was his fastest attempt of the three. In June 2017 he went 52.16, and in May 2018 went 54.44. At Trials in 2016, he went 48.54; Ervin’s best time is 48.33, from the 2001 FINA World Championships.

Rowdy Gaines still owns the men’s 100 free USMS 35-39 age group record at 51.49, from 1995.

Thursday, Ervin logged just his fourth race of the 2018-2019 season, going 23.09 in the 50 free.

Records broken on Day 3:

  • Jack Groselle, representing Sarasota Sharks Masters, broke the men’s 65-69 100 freestyle USMS record and FINA masters world record in 59.49.
  • Representing Tamalpais Aquatic Masters, Richard Burns set a USMS men’s 75-79 100 freestyle record in 1:06.55.
  • Steve West (Novaquatics Masters), the multi-time masters world record holders in the 100 breast, set USMS men’s 45-49 50 breaststroke record in 29.42.
  • Laurel Hill, representing Arizona Masters, set the USMS record in the women’s 50-54 50 breaststroke at 36.94.
  • Swim Fort Lauderdale’s team of Enzo Pazos, Elizabeth Zubero, Josefina Lorda Taylor and Blake Woodrow set a USMS record in the mixed 72-99 200 freestyle relay, going 1:45.12.
  • Ventura County Masters’ team of Steven Heck, Hubie Kems, Glenn Gruber and Bruce Rollins set a USMS record and FINA masters world record in the men’s 280-319 200 medley relay, combining for a 2:15.90.
  • Oregon Masters’ team of Valerie Jenkins, Colette Crabbe, Arlene Delmage and Janet Gettling went a USMS record in the women’s 240-279 200 medley relay, going 2:22.45.

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Awesome that Tony is still going strong after all these years, it’s so cool to see his renewed passion for the sport since his comeback. Might be my favorite swimmer to hear being interviewed….We may give Rowdy crap on his commentating skills but the guy was a beast in the pool.(and still is)

Texas Tap Water

Rowdy is a truly crap commentator


Couldn’t agree more

beach bum j

Yes showing passion and excitement for something you do like commentating is crappy. Umm usually when a person is unexcited and lethargic would be consider crappy :/ Yes Rowdy doesn’t know anything about swimming even though he has won multiple gold medals and has had several World Records. Of course more sarcasm since people can’t win multiple gold medals and have world records if they don’t know what they are doing!

Steve Nolan

Joe Morgan was one of the best baseball players of all time but there was an entire (amazing) website dedicated to firing him as a commentator.

m d e

Lots of people are good at swimming without being particularly knowledgeable about it. It is one of the sports where that is possible.

Not that I am necessarily putting him in that basket (although his commentary is deplorable). I think his poor commentary has a lot more to do with his lack of effort than with his lack of knowledge. He has very poor knowledge of any swimmer outside the US. And inside the US he is a bit inconsistent as well.

Don’t mistake enthusiasm for effort either.


That 45-49 50 breast record is pretty damn quick. 29.4? Wow


It’s a little tiresome to hear people complain about Rowdy all the time. Yes, he focuses too much on a few things like reaction times and which side someone’s breathing to, but he’s far, far better than his predecessors (Spitz and Naber) were. A lot of people don’t seem to realize how hard it is to do a show live and essentially ad lib, which is what all sports announcers must do. He conveys tremendous enthusiasm for the sport. He’s modest, never referring to his own accomplishments (unlike his predecessors). And he’s always gracious to his (non-swimming) announcing partners, who make all sorts of egregious mistakes, by refraining from correcting them on air. I met him once, at a masters… Read more »

Captain Awesome

He might be the best that America has had, but compared to commentators from a lot of other countries he just doesn’t cut it. Commentating is obviously harder than it seems, but Rowdy has been doing this for years and is still disappointing. I agree that the constant ribbing on Rowdy might be unhelpful and annoying for those of us who hear it regualarly, but it doesn’t make the criticism any less true. Unfortunately enthusiasm alone doesn’t make you qualified for the job.


It’s not hard to just focus on the race he’s watching and talk about all of the swimmers. They have stats on them… no excuses to leave anyone out

Texas Tap Water

The problem is, there are many swimming commentators that are also knowledgeable, yet able convey their knowledge effectively during the race, make commentary on the actual race being broadcast, and have great enthusiasm too.

You need to watch swimming races from other feed/broadcast to understand how crappy Rowdy is.

Silent Observer

I would say it’s time to let some of the recently retired swimmers step up.

One big example is Elizabeth BEISEL. She was with ESPN for the ACC Championships and conveyed the enthusiasm alongside the facts as well as anyone in recent years.

I’d much rather listen to her commentary for hours then endure Rowdy. He was good for a bit… But had gotten old fast. I just don’t appreciate his yelling and half the time focusing on a swimmer in the race who isn’t even in the lead (but he thinks they are). Then acts astounded when the score board shows they didn’t win.


Beisel would be awesome.


This is kind of a different idea – but why not a relatively experienced coach who isn’t coaching at the meet he/she is commentating on?


Couldn’t agree more with you. Rowdy is great for the sport

Small bird

It’s nice to hear some positive thoughts on rowdy’s commentary. I agree with a lot of what you said here — commentary is a lot harder than we think, rowdy’s better than his predecessors, and he’s pretty modest.

I still think he’s not good and I’d rather watch on mute

Coach Mike 1952

I agree with most points, except I enjoyed John Naber when he was doing commentaries. He too was a world record holder & while he did not bring the same excitable passion as only Rowdy can do, he was still very good in his own quieter way.

Steve Nolan

“Also, bear in mind that if he gets too technical he’s going to lose the portion of the audience who aren’t hard core swimming fans. ” Do we know this, though? He does get pretty technical at times – mostly just semi-breaking down aspects of whatever stroke we’re watching – but the problem there is it has nothing to do with whatever swimmer he’s talking about specifically. (Backstrokers keep their head still, butterfliers and shoulders, etc etc) I just don’t know if actually breaking things down during replays and whatnot would alienate folks, if anything it’s a great time to educate laypeople. Or you can just scream DRESSEL a bunch of times, whatever works. (And I do agree with a… Read more »

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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