Von Der Lippe Won't Quit!

by Mel Dyck
July 16, 2005, Federal Way, Washington. Susan Von Der Lippe, swimming as a 40-year old competitor at the USA Swimming Western Region Long Course Championships, snagged a 3rd place in the women's open 100 meter breaststroke turning in a time of 1:12.49. This swim time is 0.1 seconds under the qualifying standard for the 2008 USA Swimming Olympic trials and qualifies her for a spot at those trials in Omaha. What may be even more remarkable is that Susan's time is only a bit more than a second slower than her 1:11.45 7th place finish in the same event in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, some 21 years earlier. Swimming then as Susan Rapp, she secured a silver medal at those same Olympics in the 200 breaststroke. If Susan swims in the upcoming trials, she will actually be 43!

As we master's swimmers know, it is a commonplace story for elite competitors to maintain a very high level of performance throughout much of their lives. Many such stories have been documented previously in Swim Magazine, the former USMS publication. Wally Dicks, at age 37, qualified for the 2000 trials in the 100 breaststroke. Interestingly, his time standard was also achieved in Federal Way. Ron Karnaugh, at age 38, qualified for the US trials in 2004 but chose instead to compete for Poland, where he carries dual citizenship.

Oh, by the way, Von Der Lippe's swim betters the current world and national records, previously held by Caroline Krattli, of 1:13.82. All in all, not a bad way to spend a weekend. Congratulations to Susan.