The Union Democrat Sports Department

Competing at the national level in any sport can be daunting for even the best athlete. Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmer, 71-year old Dick Todd, proved that being over 70 does not prevent a swimmer from excelling against the nation's best.

Over 1,500 masters swimmers between the ages of 19 and 96 competed on Aug. 8-11 at the annual US Masters Long Course Nationals in Mission Viejo at the Marquerite Aquatic Center in its 50-meter pool. Swimmers represented teams from across the nation and several international athletes also competed.

Todd swam in five events in the first two days of the four-day meet and placed in the top four in all of them.

As a strong breaststroker, Todd's best event proved to be the 200 individual medley. His time of 3:03.90 was six seconds under his race time at the recent Pacific Masters championship held in San Mateo last month. With his second-place finish, he set a new team record in the 70-74 division.

In the 200 back, 3:03.83, Todd had two very even 100 splits which led to his second silver medal. Todd swam to a new team record time in his 200 free, 2:45.94.

Even though Todd focused his efforts in primarily the 200 events, he finished a strong third in the 50 breast, 41.96 and fourth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:32.05.

After a successful weekend, Todd is back in the water with his TCAM teammates training for the upcoming Modesto meet, Pinecrest open water and team mini meets.