WRITTEN BY SHARON ROBB
CORAL SPRINGS—For Biggi Lohberg, it was the last chance to swim best times in the 2010 short course season.
Competing in the Coral Springs Short Course Yards Last Chance To Zip It Up Masters meet Saturday at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex, the 1988 Olympian swam best times in the 50-yard freestyle and 200-yard butterfly.
Lohberg, 44, competing for Gold Coast Masters, won the 50-yard freestyle in 25.34 seconds, the 100-yard freestyle in 55.30 and 50-yard butterfly in 27.10. She edged Michele Huyette, 41, of FINS by 1/100ths of a second to win the 50 freestyle.
Lohberg was also a member of the winning 200-yard freestyle and 200-yard medley relays.
But the most satisfying race was the 200-yard butterfly that she swam during the 200-yard freestyle race since there was no 200 butterfly event.
While it won’t count in any record book or official result, Lohberg walked away personally satisfied after swimming a best time of 2:08.28.
“I guess I looked a little odd swimming butterfly when everyone else is swimming freestyle,” Lohberg said. “I swam the 200 butterfly in St. Petersburg in 2:11 and it felt real easy. I thought I could go faster. I didn’t go to short course nationals so I wanted to swim it here. I know it won’t count but I wanted to see what I could do.”
For Lohberg, it was also the last chance to squeeze into her high-tech Blue Seventy swimsuit.
The one-day masters meet was the final opportunity to wear the neck-to-ankle suits, which revolutionized the sport but are now banned by all the major governing bodies. Masters was the last group to outlaw the suits, allowing them to be worn through the end of May.
Not surprisingly, 103 individual and 19 relay records were set at the same pool used for the 1996 Olympics during the U.S. Masters Short Course Nationals held in Atlanta last week.
FINA, the sport’s international governing body, passed stringent new limits on how much skin could be covered and what fabrics could be used. The federation was concerned the bodysuits made entirely of polyurethane materials were ruining the sport.
“The suit helps me in the fly,” Lohberg said. “It feels good in the water.
“There are different opinions out there about the suit,” Lohberg said. “I think we should be even with everybody else, just to make it more competitive. I think a lot of people swam faster at masters meets in the suit.”
Most swimmers including two-time Olympian Vlad Polyakov of SOFLO have embraced the end of the swimsuit wars which ended with an amazing 43 world records being set at the 2009 World Championships in Rome.
Because of work and family commitments, Lohberg has never been able to train for a full long course masters season and isn’t sure how many meets she will compete in the rest of the year.
With the summer coming up, she plans to be busy in her role as the SwimAmerica Program Director for SOFLO at the Coral Springs Aquatic Complex.
“I don’t know if I will compete in the summer,” Lohberg said. “We have SwimAmerica in the mornings and afternoons. We work hard in the summer months.”
Lohberg, a wife and mother of two, remains fit and competitive at a high level. She trains three days a week and still has a passion for the sport.
“I just love it,” Lohberg said. “I only swim three times a week but I still love to race and compete. I would like to stay with swimming if time allows it. It is a lot of fun. I have a great group I train and travel together with. I love being fit. I am not happy with myself when I am not fit.
“This season I changed my weight program and did free weights and it seemed to work well for the short distances and even the 200 butterfly. I am turning more into a sprinter. It’s more fun and less practice.
“If I knew then what I know now I would have been a little better when I was training for the Olympics,” said Lohberg, a national champion and record holder for Germany, who competed at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. “The training would have been different. I would have been smarter competing. But you have to keep everything in perspective.”
June will be a busy month for masters swimmers. Three events are scheduled.
On June 6, the U.S. Masters 5K (5,000 meters) or 10K (10,000 meters) Postal Event will be hosted by the Deerfield Beach masters at the Deerfield Beach Middle School Athletic Complex, 501 S.E. 6th Avenue.
The Upper Keys Summer Invitational is June 4-6 at Founders Park Pool in Islamorada.
The June Krauser Summer Splash long course meters meet is June 18-20 at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.
BOISSON-YATES PLACES SIXTH IN BACKSTROKE
Keegan Boisson-Yates of the South Florida Aquatic Club continued his racing tune-up Saturday at the FLA Senior Circuit meet at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Complex.
The 14-year-old Taravella student from Trinidad and Tobago competing in his first long course meet of the season, placed sixth in the 100-meter backstroke in 1:05.28, an SUSE cut time.
Boisson-Yates was the youngest finisher among the Top 10 swimmers. His splits were 31.79 and 33.49.
Swimming in back-to-back events, Boisson-Yates followed with a 16th-place finish in the 200-meter individual medley in 2:27.22.
Boisson-Yates is working on race strategy in preparation for the June 26-July 2 CISC (Caribbean Island Swimming Championships) Meet in Havana, Cuba, where he has qualifying times in five events.
The Memorial Day Weekend ends on Sunday at 10 a.m. with timed finals. Boisson-Yates is scheduled to compete in the 100 freestyle and 200 backstroke.
Sharon Robb can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org