David Guthrie (USA)
2014 Honor Swimmer
INTERNATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS (SWIMMER): World Points-767, Pre 1986 Points- 0, Total Points-767; Since 1995, he has competed in five age groups (30-34 through 50-54). 43 FINA MASTERS WORLD RECORDS.
He came from a small fishing town in Newfoundland, Canada, where it was freezing cold and there was no swimming pool. He began swimming with the Little Rock Dolphins when his family moved to Arkansas, but he didn’t become serious about swimming competitively until college. Making up for lost time, he enrolled at Hendrix College in 1977, and joined the swim team. David racked up a number of honors, including National Champion and All-American titles in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. Capitalizing on his collegiate success, David continued to excel in US swimming competitions during the early ’80s and qualified for the 1984 Olympic Trials.
He didn’t have time to compete while working on a master’s degree in architecture at Rice University during the latter half of the 1980’s, but he plunged in again as a Masters swimmer during the next decade. He was amazed and inspired by swimmers in their 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, and is now swimming faster than he swam in college.
“We’re seeing a redefinition of the sport in terms of what’s possible,” he says. “Who would have guessed that a 90-year-old guy could swim the 100-meter backstroke in 1:45? As we get older, we’re still discovering what we can do. It’s all a big experiment. I’m my own guinea pig to see what I can do.”
David broke his first FINA Masters World Record in 1992 in the 50-meter breaststroke and since then has earned a total of 43 FINA World Records; 24 long course meters and 19 short course meters, all in the breaststroke events, ranging from 50 meters to 200 meters.
Swimming faster than he swam in college, in the 50 plus age group, David credits his most recent success to his teammates and coaches at Rice Aquatic Masters, and to exploring new training ideas in dry-land, massage and a focus on nutrition. He loves swimming as an important piece of his day. But it’s only a piece. He’s in the water only 30 to 40 minutes a day, which he says, is not a huge commitment, and his enthusiasm for swimming is matched by his enthusiasm for his job as the G.S. Wortham Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture at Rice University.