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by Daniel Paulling

April 29, 2019

The Stanford Masters Swimming member is dealing with a rotator cuff injury but set three unofficial USMS records

Stanford Masters Swimming member Daniela Barnea keeps going strong.

She recorded three unofficial U.S. Masters Swimming records at the 2019 USMS Spring National Championship in Mesa, Ariz., one apiece on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. She closed her meet with a unofficial record in the 400 IM after earning ones in the 200 IM and 200 butterfly.

“It went well,” says Barnea, who moved up to the 75-79 age group within the past week. “I was disappointed with the 400 IM because I did 15 seconds better in our Pacific LMSC championship two weeks ago. [Sunday] was the last day of the meet, so I was a little exhausted.”

Her success comes despite suffering a rotator cuff injury that requires her to do daily stretches and work with bands and weights to strengthen the muscles around her left rotator cuff. The injury came when the dog she was walking jerked her in pursuit of a cat.

Although she’s been training a little less than normal because she has two new grandchildren, Barnea still swims five days a week and goes to the gym a couple of times a week.

“[My rotator cuff is] holding,” she says. “Right now, I’m in absolutely no pain, and I did the 200 butterfly. It’s a weaker shoulder, weaker arm, but I still don’t let it bother me.”

Barnea, who entered the meet having set nine USMS records that have since been broken, is excited to be in a position where she can continue to set records.

“I feel very honored,” she says. “I feel very special that I can get to that plateau of those who break records.”

Wake-Up Call

Carlo Travaini’s 50th birthday served as a wake-up call.

The Mission Viejo Masters member was an elite swimmer in his youth in his native Italy, but he stopped swimming and became bogged down with work in adulthood and began gaining weight.

When he turned 50, he looked back to his life 30 years earlier, back to when he was 20, and realized it didn’t seem that long ago. He then realized that he would experience a similar short timespan until he turned 80 and decided he wanted to make changes in his life.

“No more working every day,” says Travaini, who started swimming again in 2015. “And I decided to give to myself two hours a day swimming because I decided to swim because it’s the only sport I can do, and I was really fat. I wanted to change my life for the next 30 years.”

The 56-year-old lost about 40 pounds and began displaying the form of his childhood. He connected with Mission Viejo Masters member Jane Hoag, who lives in Italy, and she persuaded him compete for her club in a USMS meet.

Travaini swam at the 2018 Nationwide USMS Spring National Championship in Indianapolis, where he set USMS records in all three breaststroke events in the 55-59 age group. He also set FINA Masters world records in the 50- and 100-meter breaststroke (LCM) and 200-meter breaststroke (SCM) last year.

Travaini competes regularly, participating in 41 competitions last year. He’s trying to persuade some of his fellow Italian swimmers to come to the U.S. and compete.

“This is the real way to swim as a Master,” Travaini says. “In Italy, it’s too much professional, too much tension. Here, first is the swimmer and then all the rest. This is a friendly atmosphere. This is the right way. The swimmer is the chief.”

Unofficial Records on Sunday

Daniela Barnea, Stanford Masters: women's 75-59 400 IM (7:02.17)
Richard Burns, Tamalpais Aquatics Masters: men's 75-79 100 backstroke (1:07.31)
Marcin Cieslak, Swim Fort Lauderdale: men's 25-29 50 butterfly (20.99)
Richard Burns, Tamalpais Aquatics Masters: men's 75-79 50 butterfly (28.95)
Puget Sound Masters: men's 55+ 200 medley relay (1:45.05)


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  • National Championships
  • USMS Nationals