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by Daniel Paulling

May 3, 2017

Uustal, Val led the women with six apiece, Colella paced the men with six

Records not final; subject to change pending verification.

Laura Val just keeps breaking records.

The Tamalpais Aquatic Masters swimmer broke six more U.S. Masters Swimming records at the 2017 Nationwide USMS Spring National Championship in Riverside, Calif., last weekend. Her marks came in the 100 butterfly; the 50, 100, and 200 backstroke events (technically, she broke the 50 backstroke record twice, once in the individual event and once as lead-off swimmer in a medley relay); and the 50 and 100 freestyle events in the 65-69 age group.

“I think the 50 free was my biggest challenge,” says the 65-year-old Val, who went a 26.73. “I had already done a 26.8 this year, and I thought I wouldn’t do that again.

“I wanted to try and get a record in every event, so I reached my goal. I’m very happy.”

Diann Uustal joined Val, who has already purchased her plane ticket for the XVII FINA World Masters Championship in August in Budapest, Hungary, in leading the women’s side with six new records, while Rick Colella set six records to lead the men.

Maurine Kornfeld did something at Spring Nats that will be hard to do again. The Rose Bowl Masters swimmer went 23:57.82 to more than halve the previous record of 50:44.12 set by Anne Dunivin in 2012 in the 1000-yard freestyle.

“Nationals was my first opportunity to do it this season,” the 95-year-old Kornfeld says. “It was lovely. It was great, it was fun. I mean, come on. Why wouldn’t it be?”

Kornfeld also went 2:04.52 in the 100 freestyle (bettering Rita Simonton’s 2013 record of 2:14.55) and 11:45.41 in the 500 freestyle (besting Simonton’s 2013 record of 12:28.16) to give her three more records in her new age group.

Kornfeld now holds all of the freestyle short course yards records in the 95-99 age group except the 1650, which no one her age has completed and which she may swim.

“I haven’t practiced it in a long, long, long time,” Kornfeld says. “I did it eons ago. That was when I was much, much younger. It’s a long race. I suppose if I set my mind to it I could probably do it. I might think about it. I just like swimming. I just think it’s fun.”

Jeff Natalizio agrees with Kornfeld about swimming, saying he’s more excited about the sport now than anytime during his life, which includes swimming from 2000-04 at Cal.

The Novaquatics Masters swimmer upped his training in January 2016 in an attempt to qualify in the 100-meter backstroke at the U.S. Olympic Trials, which he did, but also with an eye on Spring Nationals, which took place near his home in Southern California.

Natalizio set four USMS records, the first four of his career, at the meet, including the one he most wanted to break: the 100-yard IM in the 35-39 age group. He also broke records in the 50 and 100 backstroke events and the 50 butterfly.

Despite the success, Natalizio, who had an opportunity to catch up with some of his old friends at the meet, isn’t sure when he’ll compete in a USMS meet again.

“I know Masters goes short course meters in the winter,” the 35-year-old says. “I might come in and do some short course meters. I don’t like to compete that often. Twice a year is plenty for me.

“At my age, it’s just mentally taxing to get up and get stoked for a meet and be there for a couple of days and put the tech suit on. Putting the suit on like two, three times a day, my hands are covered in blisters right now from putting on tech suits.”

Other Records of Note

  • Uustal, who swims for the New England Masters Swim Club, set her six records in the 50 butterfly; the 50, 100, and 200 backstroke events; the 50 freestyle; and the 100 IM in the 70-74 age group.
  • Colella’s records came in the 50, 100, and 200 breaststroke events; the 200 freestyle; and the 100 and 200 IMs in the 65-69 age group. He swims for the Puget Sound Masters club.
  • Palm Beach Masters swimmer Karlyn Pipes set five records in the women’s 55-59 age group: 100 butterfly, 100 and 200 backstroke events, 200 freestyle, and 100 IM.
  • Other multiple-record-breakers included the following: Charlotte Davis (50 and 100 breaststroke events and 400 IM in the women’s 65-69 age group), Jill Hernandez (200 and 400 IMs and 500 freestyle in the women’s 55-59 age group), Danielle Herrmann (50 fly and 100 IM in the women’s 25-29 age group), Noriko Inada (50 butterfly and 50 and 100 backstroke events in the women’s 35-39 age group), Caroline Krattli (50 and 100 breaststroke events in the women’s 55-59 age group), and Steve West (50, 100, and 200 breaststroke events in the men’s 45-49 age group).
  • Twelve-time Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte set the national record in the 100 IM in the men’s 30-34 age group while swimming for Golden Road Aquatics.
  • Santa Barbara Masters swimmer Jeff Farrell was consistent during Spring Nats. He set the men’s 80-84 50 freestyle record at 28.68 while leading off his team’s mixed 55+ 200 freestyle relay and then went the same time in the 50 freestyle two days later.
  • Seven relay records were broken in Riverside: The Olympic Club (mixed 25+ 200 freestyle), Puget South Masters (mixed 65+ 200 freestyle and 200 medley), Golden Road Aquatics (men’s 25+ 200 medley), Palm Beach Masters (women’s 55+ 200 medley and 200 freestyle), and Tamalpais Aquatic Masters (women’s 75+ 200 freestyle).
  • There were nine 100 IM records established, the most of any event.

The Olympic Club won the local club competition with 1,449.5 points, while Colorado Masters Swimming won the regional club competition with 1,301 points. Full results for team scores and individual and relay results are available.


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