Article image

by Michael J Stott

July 19, 2000

Knocking down records in the postals

Tod Spieker, 52, The Olympic Club, devastated the record in the men's 50-54 age group for the 3,000-yard USMS Postal Swim last weekend. His time of 32:48.65 took almost three minutes off the old mark. Spieker's time also bettered the 45-49 record (34:12) and just missed the mark in the 40-44 age group (32:41.6). Spieker even-split his swim, going 10:55, 10:56 and 10:57 for each 1,000 yards, and averaging 1:05.6 per 100. He touched at 18:01.6 at the 1650.

from, Nov. 4, 1999

On Being Named "Masters Swimmer of the Year" - Swim magazine, Mar-Apr 1999

Meet Tod Spieker, missionary for Masters swimming. "It has been a great insurance policy for many people, including me," says the president of Spieker Companies, a real estate properties management firm.

"Masters swimming sends a great message to the generation coming up. It's something I believe in very strongly. You can be worth millions, but you're nothing if you're not in good physical condition. I'm thankful God gave me the talent to do this."

From the powerhouse Menlo-Atherton High teams of the 1960s, Spieker went to UCLA on a full swimming scholarship, graduated and left swimming until age 28-1/2 when he discovered Masters. Today he trains with the Rinconada Masters team, though his affiliation is with another bunch of winners, the Olympic Club in San Francisco.

In 1998, he was the outstanding swimmer at the Masters World Championships in Casablanca, racking up four long course world records. Later, he set five short course world marks in the 50-54 age group, including a stunning 17:40.00 in the 1500 meter free. "I never in my wildest dreams thought I could do that."

He does such things by swimming five times a week (75 minutes), logging 18,000 meters. Stroke and drill work are an integral part of his regime, as is stretching, which he does faithfully, 10 minutes in the morning and five before swimming.

A man with a purpose, Spieker has an unswerving focus. As for goals, he sets "a realistic schedule and adheres to it. I try not to miss practice, and if I do, I make it up."

His goals for this year include short and long course nationals. "I'd like to keep on the same schedule through May that I had in 1998," he says. Beyond that, he hints he might reduce his intensity. What—and give the rest of us a chance?

published in Swim magazine, March-April 1999