The Union Democrat Sports Department

Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters swimmers over the age of 60 dominated at their team mini meet on Aug. 10 at Sonora Sports and Fitness Center. 16 of the 24 racing competitors ranged in age from 60-73.

The swimmers had the option to race the 50-yard sprints or try the longer 200-yard events or even the grueling 400 individual medley.

Between Mary Welsh, 60, and Paul McIlroy, 47, the two set 10 new team records.

Welsh, who just turned 60 last month, raced in her first meet in a new age division and she set records in all six of her swims. Being a versatile swimmer, Welsh had records in all four of the strokes including the 50 free, (31.68), 200 free (2:31.67), 100 back (1:24.77), 100 breast (1:31.90), 50 fly (35.33) and 100 IM (1:20.31).

McIlroy, who was swimming in his first competitive meet in several years, set four records. His records were in the 50 free (25.18), 200 back (2:26.53), 200 breast (2:41.62) and the 100 fly (1:03.33).

The 11th team record was set by Toni Wivell, 76, in the 50 fly (1:40.86). Wivell has broken her own 50 fly mark three times this year.

62-year olds Gary Johnson and Tom Ingalls led the team with the most improved swims. Johnson dropped time in five events while Ingalls improved in four. Both men had impressive improvements in single events with Ingalls dropping over one minute in his 400 IM swim and Johnson improved 13 in his 200 breast.

Three bests were recorded by Laurel Grindy, 61, and Rachel Ottem, 27 and two bests were set by Jon Mahanna, 65. Single bests were achieved by McIlroy, Wivell, Paul Nixon, 65, and Laurie Perry, 59.

The meet had several closely contested events. In the men's over-60 heats for the 50 and 100 breast, plus the 50 free, Karl Kleman, 73, Kirby Smith, 66, Mahanna and newcomer, Robert Lyon, 72, raced to the end and finished within seconds of each other.

Outstanding individual swims were recorded by Susan White, 71, Connie Birdsall, 67, Sheryl Parola, 64, Shirley Ingalls, 61, Mike Walsh, 60, Stuart Welsh, 56, and Jenny Van Blaricom, 54.

Making their first meet debut were Lyons, 72, Ted Michaud, 68, Jane Lucich, 50, Casey McCaffrey, 44, and Michie Anderson, 35.

The final race of the day, the free relay was closely contested as all five teams finished within seconds. The victorious team was led off by Michaud, followed by Perry, Mahanna and anchored by McCaffrey.

The 400-member team trains daily for fitness and upcoming events and meets and will compete soon in several open water events.