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SOME FAST WOMEN, BUT FEW FREE MEN
Craig Neff
August 24, 1981
While Mary T. Meagher, who set two world records in the butterfly, and other ladies excelled at the U.S. long course championships, there was a serious drought in the male freestyle events
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August 24, 1981

Some Fast Women, But Few Free Men

While Mary T. Meagher, who set two world records in the butterfly, and other ladies excelled at the U.S. long course championships, there was a serious drought in the male freestyle events

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In Sunday's 1,500 Cohen led for 500 of the final 750 meters, but faded to finish second, 1.4 seconds behind Linzmeier. Most of the evening's attention, however, was focused on Mary T. She had tried a couple of freestyle races herself on Friday and Saturday, finishing second to Linzmeier in the 200 and qualifying 12th in the 400 before scratching from the consolation finals. Finally, though, it was time for her to face up to Sterkel in the 100 fly and to try to break her own 59.26 world record.

Twenty-five meters into that race, Meagher was slightly in front of Sterkel, but seemed not to be able to break away. Suddenly, however, it looked as if all of Mary T.'s opponents were hooked up to some of Larson's surgical tubing. She began widening her lead dramatically, making her turn in 27.75—.49 under her world-record pace. As the crowd watched in awe, Meagher extended her lead to two, then three body lengths as she drove toward the finish. When she touched, the clock read 57.93, an astonishing 1.33 below her old record. Sterkel finished fifth, more than 3� seconds behind, and Meagher's closest pursuer had been nearly three seconds back. Mary T. had given the record-starved meet one of the most remarkable performances in swimming history.

"I just wish there was somebody who could really push Mary T.," Peak had said earlier, "especially in the 200. But there doesn't seem to be anybody around who can touch her. I don't know. Maybe Tracy?"

More likely no one.

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