E.A. Sports Today

Couch picks up 2 Top-5s

Anniston swimmer now has four top-10 finishes for his week at the World Masters with one event to go

By Al Muskewitz

East Alabama Sports Today

It was a tough day, but a good day for Bob Couch in the World Masters Swimming Championships in Montreal.

Competing on his heaviest day of the trip, Couch, 67, posted a pair of top-five finishes in two events Tuesday, giving him four top-10s for the week.

He finished fifth in the men’s 65-69 400-meter individual medley in 6:20.17 and, a few hours later, was fourth in the 200-meter freestyle in 2:29.35.

“It was a really good day,” he said. “I wasn’t really happy with my times, but I placed high.”

His day started in the 400 IM, swimming in the fastest heat of the age group. All four racers who finished ahead of him were in the race, including winning American Alek Shestakov, who set the age group Masters World Record in the race with a 5:50.98.

“I went out just right in the (butter)fly, but I was really, really hurting in the last 25 meters,” Couch said. “The backstroke was all about recovery. For the first time my breaststroke (split) was faster than the backstroke. I was in heavy recovery from the fly.”

Refreshed from a brief rest, Couch got off to a fast start in the 200, going out in 33.67 in his first 50 meters. The conditions of the day caught up to him late in the race and he fell off in his second 100 — but so did many of his competitors.

“I changed my training and tried something different and didn’t get it right,” he said. “I didn’t have the endurance.”

Couch wraps up the trip Wednesday with the 200 IM. He’s hoping for a strong finish, but it’s been a long week.

“It’s going to be tight,” he said. “If I finish where I should, I may be fourth, but the way I’m swimming it may be sixth or seventh.”

Still, anywhere in that range would complete a sweep of top 10 finishes. In his last appearance at the Worlds, eight years ago in California, he had one top 10 in four events.


800 Freestyle – 11:02.78 (7th)

100 Freestyle – 1:07.40 (7th)

400 IM — 6:20.17 (5th)

200 Freestyle — 2:29.35 (4th)

200 IM — Wednesday


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