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One of the most prolific age-group swimmers in the country, Jackie Marr, is at it again.
Marr, a local competitor who holds numerous master’s-level world and U.S. records, recently captured three more national titles. Competing at The Olympic Club national meet last month, Marr earned U.S. bests in her age group in the 400-meter, 800-meter and 1500-meter short course freestyle events.
Just as impressive, Marr earned all three titles in the same swim.
Marr was swimming in just one event, the 1500 freestyle, at The Olympic Club in San Francisco. Her split times in the 1500 — roughly equal to one mile — were good enough to give her the U.S. titles.
“I thought I did really good,” Marr said. “I got tired doing flip-turns at the end.... I felt good, but I almost wish I could swim it over again.”
As is usually the case for the fiercely competitive Marr, she wanted more. Specifically, she wanted to break her age group’s world short course record in the 1500, the time of which she has written on an index card: 23 minutes, 54.74 seconds.
Marr recently turned 70, which now places her in the 70-74 age group at the master’s level. The first year of joining an age group is generally the prime chance swimmers have to make their marks.
Her 400 split at San Francisco was 6:14.34 and her 800 split was 12:39.45. For the full 1500, her time was 23:58.11, less than 3-1/2 seconds off the world record.
The previous U.S. record times in her age group were 6:27.21 for the 400, 13:07.28 for the 800 and 24:57.85. Her margin for breaking the old record, nearly a minute, is a rare accomplishment at the national level.
The way the competition was set up, swimmers, regardless of age, were seeded according to time. Marr found herself facing younger swimmers than her in the fast heat, but was still the top seed going in.
“I was the oldest person in the heat and I was in lane 4,” she said. “That was exciting, because I’m not usually in the middle lane.”
Of her 1500, Marr said she wished she’d started the race harder and will do so when she tries to break the world record again.
The saeason is coming to a close for short course competition — events swum in a 25-yard or 25-meter pool, as opposed to a 50-yard or 50-meter poll — and Marr said she won’t get a crack at the record again at least until September.
Until that time, she’s planning on competing in a national event in San Luis Obispo, Calif., in March, and the U.S. Senior National Games in July. At those events, she said she’s going to take a crack at more top freestyle and individual medley times.
Between now and then, she said she will continue training at the Larry R. Walkup Aquatic Center with her coach, Phil Coe.
Marr said Coe deserves a lot of the credit for getting her competition ready once again.
She said she will continue to train hard so she can notch a few more records for herself.
“I’ve kind of been goofing off the last few years, but I’m coming back now and swimming with the teenagers to train,” Marr said.