Swimming: Marr feeling good heading into national meet

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By Mike Cote

Some people collect stamps. Some people collect baseball cards.

Jackie Marr collects swimming records.

Marr, the 65-year-old Los Alamos resident hopes to grab a few more this week when she takes part in the United States Masters Swimming Long Course Nationals, which are being held at Portland, Ore. Her first event is scheduled for Thursday, the first day of the national meet.

Going into the event, Marr is already the owner of 10 USMS long course individual records and two world records in the women’s 65-69 age group, an age group she just joined earlier this year.

“I’m excited to meet my competitors,” Marr said before leaving Tuesday for Portland. “It’s always fun to see competitors that I haven’t seen since the last nationals.”

At the national meet, Marr will swim one of the events she owns the best time for, the 800-meter freestyle. Her time of 12:13.11, which she set June 29, shaved more than 10 seconds off the previous USMS record.

The previous best mark, owned by Lavelle Stoinoff, stood for nearly 10 years before Marr toppled it.

June 29 was a good day for Marr, who also topped one of Stoinoff’s records, that in the 1500 freestyle.

Marr isn’t satisfied with holding the USMS record in the 800 freestyle, however. She wants the world 800 record for her age group.

That will be a tough bar to leap, however, as she’s still a good seven seconds off world record pace.

The other events she’ll be swimming at nationals include the 100 and 400 freestyle and the 200 and 400 individual medleys.

Prior to leaving, Marr said she was actually glad to be getting to Portland a few days early, not the least of her reasons being that she was spending too much time in front of the tube watching the Olympics.

Heading into nationals, Marr said she was feeling strong, which is usually, but not always, a good sign for her.

Marr said at her first meet of the 2008 season she thought she was going to have a monster day, but her outing ended up being only so-so.

The rest of her season has gotten progressively better, however.

Her most recent outing, at Phoenix last month, she shaved nearly 3-1/2 seconds off the 16-year-old 200 freestyle record for her age group.

“I was so excited,” she said. “Maybe I could’ve had a record in the 400 IM, too, if I’d swam it…but there was no way I’d do a 400 IM, then turn around 12 minutes later and do the 200 free.”

Marr trains with the local Pajarito Aquatic Club, but because of strict association rules, swims with the San Diego (Calif.) Swim Team at national events.