Monday, February 18

World Pace

19-year old Katie Hoff breaks the U.S. 400-meter freestyle record in Columbia, Missouri, finishing in 4:03.20 (picture from U.S. Swimming). The record, until yesterday, was held by Janet Evans and the oldest on the American record books dating to the '88 Seoul Olympics. In the next lane, Kirsty Coventry topped the 17-year world record in the 200-meter backstroke, finishing in 2:06.39 nearly three-tenths of a second faster than the record. In Sydney, 22 year-old Eamon Sullivan set the world mark in the 50-meter freestyle with his time of 21.56, eclipsing the great Russian Alexander Popov's 2000 time of 21.64. I recall Dano Halsall, who I trained with in '84 and Geneve Natation, during my high school junior year, setting the record of 22.52 in 1985 (four months later it was surpassed by American Tom Jager). In 23 years, the race has improved 4.3%. Dano lives in Switzerland and owns a small sports chain.

Madeleine, unable to sleep last night, draws a mural on her bedroom wall. Boy, we've been here before but not for several years. Yes, she is testing our boundaries and Sonnet and I put on a stern face while chuckling behind her back. For the record: the drawings are actually pretty good and her threatened punishment, should she not clean things up, is no holiday this week (we will go to the Brecon Beacon in Wales). This gets her attention.