So just how does a swimmer celebrate breaking world records in a 50-54 age division?
Well, in Jamie Fowler’s case, the Newport Beach resident takes off to London for a summer vacation.
Fowler has earned the rest. He set marks in the 100-meter backstroke and 200 back in the U.S. Masters Swim National Championships at Indianapolis last week.
He set up his competition in those events specifically, so that he would be able to leave the meet Friday and head for London with his family. This is one of the few weeks his family will be all together, as his son, Ryan, plays for the Newport Harbor High boys’ water polo team. The Sailors have had their break. Last week, Ryan went with his family to see Dad break some world records.
Before leaving to compete in the national championships, Fowler simply said he had a shot to break two world records in his age division.
Turns out, he was more than accurate.
He won the 200 back Thursday, finishing in 2 minutes, 17.74 seconds, nearly three seconds faster than the previous record.
On Friday it was time to break the 100 back. He won that event in 1:02.93, lowering the former record that was 1:04.83.
Shortly after watching the Beijing Olympics last year, Fowler became inspired by the American swimmers.
He joined the Irvine Novaquatics masters program and started to study the competition.
“A lot of the guys that are swimming at that high caliber in masters are ex-college athletes,” said Fowler, an NCAA champion in the 200 back in 1980. “I saw it and I was inspired. I set a goal last September. Yards, you can’t set world records in those because internationally they don’t swim yards. So it had to be meters.”
After training and regaining the fire Fowler was on his way. It was similar to his days with the Trojans, back in his prime when the kid from Apple Valley was scoring points at meets for USC.
Then after finishing up with the Trojans, he was in the top eight in the nation in the 100 back, 200 back and 200 individual medley at the U.S. Olympic trials. His dreams of competing in the Olympics were never truly realized. He said he never trained as hard as he could have knowing that the U.S. would boycott the Games.
But that was in 1980. Instead he’s breaking records in 2009.
Two weeks ago, he broke world records at the Regional and Zone Championships in Thousand Oaks. He broke the world record in the 200-meter individual medley, in 2:18.05 and also the 50 backstroke in 29.43. He also set a national record in the 400 IM (5:04.32).
In his division, he’s considered a rookie. At 49, he’s making the most of his debut.
He’ll turn 50 next month. But he’s allowed to compete in the 50-54 division since he becomes 50 by December, a rule in masters competition.
His competitors would most likely hope that Fowler never was an Olympics fan if they knew his back story. Then they would maybe have a chance at winning.