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Record Territory a Familiar One for Jeff Farrell

70-year-old swimmer sets six records in last three weeks.

It seems every time Santa Barbara Masters swimmer Jeff Farrell decides to enter a meet, he has already decided to take down a world record.

It has happened in just about every meet Farrell has entered in the past year. In the last three weeks at short-course meters (25 meter pool) meets, the 70 year old has broken Masters world records in the 70-74 year old men’s 50 free, 100 free and 50 breast. In Woodland hills the week before Thanksgiving, he broke the 50-free record by half-a-second in 28.00. This past weekend in Long Beach at the SPMA Championships, he took down the 100 free (1:03.33) by more than a second and the 50 breast (37.26) by just over two-tenths of a second.

How does he do it?! Well, he first decides to do it, not try it. Then he seeks advice from his Santa Barbara Swim Club coaches on the things he thinks may help in the areas he does not feel he has mastered. This combination is impressively effective and should be applied more often by the rest of us! Way to go, Jeff!

No man ever overcame a greater obstacle to make the U.S. Olympic swimming team than Farrell, the world’s premier freestyle sprinter at the time of the 1960 Rome Olympic Games. Farrell — with world-standard times at 100 yards, 100 meters, 110 yards, 200 yards, 200 meters and 220 yards — was considered a shoo-in for the U.S. Olympic team when he came down with acute appendicitis six days before the Olympic trials in Detroit.

The operation was a success, but Farrell, wrapped in yards of adhesive tape, was considered in no shape to swim. He refused a special dispensation and took his chances in the sudden-death trials that mark U.S. team selection methods. Farrell placed fourth, and qualified for the relays. By Rome, Farrell was fully recovered and anchored both U.S. men’s relays to Olympic and world records for his two Olympic gold medals.

John Dussliere is head coach of the Santa Barbara Masters and Santa Barbara Swim Club.

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