Article image

by Daniel Paulling

May 10, 2018

Christie Hayes and Willard Lamb opened Spring Nationals in record-setting fashion

Christie Hayes knew exactly what she needed to swim to break two national records on Thursday. She wrote the times on a card she kept close to her leading up to the 2018 Nationwide U.S. Masters Swimming Spring National Championship and gave it to her lap counter.

The New England Masters swimmer achieved her goals, setting USMS records in the 70-74 1000- and 1650-yard freestyle events on the first day of Spring Nationals in Indianapolis, Ind.

“It’s exhilarating,” says Hayes, a member of the Nutmeg Masters Swim Club workout group. “It’s something that kind of puts a little bonus on all of the hard work and the training.”

Her time of 13:57.42 at the 1000 mark of her 1650 broke a record set in 2009, and her 23:07.52 in the 1650 broke a record set in 2004. Her time of 6:55.07 at the 500 mark was nine seconds shy of the record in that event, which she’ll try to break on Saturday.

Her swim comes after swimming a 22:58.37 at the 2018 New England LMSC SCY Championships in March just a few days shy of turning 70. The time led to her setting the goal to break both records.

Hayes focused on breaststroke and individual medley throughout her 45-year Masters Swimming career—she set the 30-34 breaststroke national record in 1978, the only other record she’s set and a record that’s since been broken—and only came to distance events recently.

She hopes to keep swimming—and, possibly, setting more records.

“Swimming has been my primary sport that I’ve always loved,” she says. “I knew I wanted to do it for the long term because it’s a great way to stay healthy. As I became acquainted with a lot of the people at Masters Swimming, I just got to know so many wonderful people.

“It’s such a terrific organization socially and for your well-being, so I definitely am planning to do, if not 40 more [years], maybe close.”

More Records for Lamb

The crowd at the IU Natatorium applauded Willard Lamb as he swam the final 25 of his latest record-breaking swim, a 1650. But he’s not too impressed with his result.

“I can’t brag about the time because it’s much slower,” the 95-year-old Oregon Masters member says. “My coach will be doing an 18-minute mile where I do it in 33.”

Lamb went a 33:35.05 in the 1650, breaking a record because no one in the 95-99 age group had ever swum the event before. He also set records in his age group in the other five freestyle events in that 1650: 50 (48.45), 100 (1:46.41), 200 (3:46.56), 500 (9:52.92), and 1000 (20:19.10).

The Southern Oregon Masters Aquatics workout group swimmer is familiar with the 1650. He swims 1 mile each day five times a week, his exercise routine to keep his blood pressure down.

His doing the workout by himself makes coming to meets more fun.

“All the people you get acquainted with, you feel like they depend on you for relays and stuff,” Lamb says. “It’s really a high to come to a meet and work with them.”

Lamb already owns nine short course yards national records in the 95-99 age group, the six freestyle events and the three backstroke events. He’s aiming to expand his range of events.

“I am trying to do some IM, but my breaststroke is terrible, and my butterfly is even worse,” says Lamb, who is swimming the 50 and 100 backstroke events and 50 and 100 freestyle events at Spring Nationals. “[Fellow Oregon Masters swimmer] Colette Crabbe, she’s an Olympic swimmer. She comes out to the pool a couple of times, trying to teach me how to do butterfly.”

Note: All records are subject to change pending verification.


  • Events


  • Competition
  • National Championships
  • Records
  • Races
  • Racing
  • USMS Nationals