Competing at the US Masters Swimming National Long Course Championships at Minneapolis, Minn., Aug. 19-23, Dick Guido of Glen Cove, at 82 and competing in the 80-84 year age group, won three of the six events he had entered. Master swimmers compete in five-year age brackets, starting at 19-24 and up through 100-plus.
Swimming freestyle, Guido won the gold medal in the 200 meter, 400 meter (quarter mile) and 800 meter (half mile) national title events. He also came away with the silver medal in the 200 meter backstroke and the 200 meter individual medley, and a third place in the 50 meter butterfly. Some 965 adult men and women from all parts of the nation and several foreign countries competed in the five-day national championship meet, at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, a fifty meter long course swimming pool.
Another Long Islander, Drury Gallagher of Manhasset, turned in a spectacular performance at the same meet. Recently, 'aging up' into the 60-64 age group, Gallagher won all six of his events, setting five world Masters records and one national record. He set world marks in the 400 and 800 meter freestyle, the 200 and 400 meter individual medleys and the 100 meter breast-stroke. He also won the 200 meter breast, in national record time.
Master Swimming is an international sport, with adult men and women competing the world over. US Masters Swimming has some 40,000 members throughout the USA, and runs two national championship meets each year; the 'short course' in a 25 yd pool - the so-called American standard, and the 'long course' - in a 50 meter pool, and the international standard. The US national meets attract the top swimmers from many countries.
"These national meets are 'fitness exhibits'," said Dick Guido, the Glen Cove competitor. "As you wait around for your events over the five days of the meet, some of the most heavenly bodies pass by. You expect that in the 20+ groups, but men and women in their sixties and over are taking physical fitness, and mental concentration, to heights undreamed of. This is adult fitness at its best. You see little of obese America at these Masters national meets."