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by Carl House

May 23, 2001

A "mind-boggling" 200 fly

After watching Bill Specht's 200-meter butterfly in the in the Orlando Short Course Meters Dixie Zone Championship Meet, Oct. 9-11, 1998, the editor of Swimming World said "it's mind-boggling!"

Bill started off the meet with 2:09.61 for his 200-meter back, followed six events later with a 2:02.35 200-meter fly, which was the fastest 200-meter fly ever swum in short course by any Masters swimmer in the world. The encore to that was a 27.84 50-meter back.

Sunday morning, Bill took his son, Mark, to ice hockey practice in St. Petersburg and then raced to Orlando to swim the 400-meter free. Though deprived of his customary warm-up, he swam it in 4:09.84, just .51 short of a world record.

Not to be deterred, he raced a 100-meter fly in 56.18, then back to back 59.26 for 100-meter back and 25.89 for 50-meter fly—all world records!

So, beginning with the Short Course Nationals at Indianapolis in May through the Long Course Nationals at Fort Lauderdale in August and Dixie Zone Championships in October (a period of five months), Bill Specht has achieved 17 national records and 12 world records.

Is there a better swimmer in the world? Not in Masters swimming.

The following was written by Carl House in 1996

Bill was born April 29, 1958 and started swimming when he was four years old. He swam with the Summit, N.J., YMCA through high school, winning Y nationals several times. He recalls holding the 100 back and 100 fly records for a while but isn't sure of this recollection. He swam at Summit High School, making all-American in the 100 fly.

He swam at Princeton, where he held the 100 and 200 fly records. The 100 record was 48.84, and has since been broken, but the 200 fly record of 1:47.67 still stands.

After Princeton, he started working for Chubb Insurance Co., and, after giving up on all other methods of weight control, he started swimming again. He joined the Berkeley Aquatic Club in Berkeley Heights, N.J., swimming for Jim Wood. He continued with Jim and joined Berkeley Masters when he was 29 years old.

In 1991 he moved from Summit to St. Petersburg and joined St. Pete Masters and St. Pete Aquatic Club. He still swims in a few USS meets each year, including participating in a medley relay in the 1995 Nationals at Orlando. His relay team took seventh with four swimmers that included the youngest and oldest swimmers in the meet (two 14 year olds, a 19 year old, and Bill at 37).

He held the record for the 100 fly in the 30-34 age group. In the 35-39 age group he broke national records in the 50, 100, and 200 fly and back in SCY, and national and world records in 100 fly and back, 200 fly in LCM, as well as the 50, 100, 200 fly and back and 400 and 800 free world and national records for SCM. Now that he's getting up in the age group, several of these have been broken.

He is currently Sr. Vice President and National Sales Manager for the Institutional Taxable Fixed Income division of Raymond James & Associates in St. Petersburg. He is married to Lori and they have three children, Mark seven (born in April of 1989), Samantha almost six (born in January, 1991) and Bradley almost four (born in January, 1993). Mark and Samantha frequently accompany him to swim meets and were there the day we were taking pictures (click back there on their names for a lovely photo).

William L. Specht lives in Saint Petersburg, Fla., and swims for St. Petersburg Masters.

from Coach's Corner, by Bill's coach George E. Bole, St. Pete Masters Newsletter, Nov.-Dec. 1998