E.A. Sports Today

Couch wraps up good week, looks ahead

Anniston swimmer has a really good week in the World Masters Championships, looks forward to U.S. Nationals

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

All things considered, Bob Couch had a really good week in the World Masters Swimming Championships in Montreal.

He swam five events in the men’s 65-69 age division and finished in the top seven in all of them, top five in three. As busy as it was, he probably deserves a take-the-rest-of-the-week-off kind of break, but there’s no slowing down this 67-year-old Anniston jeweler.

No sooner does he return to East Alabama, he’s headed off to the U.S. Masters Summer National Championships at the University of Maryland where he’ll swim in five more events and a couple relays.

“I think it’ll be good,” he said. “I’ll be tapered and rested, and will be even more next week. I’m feeling good about it.

“And we’re going to have about twice as many of our (Sarasota YMCA Sharks) team members there. It’s more of a team event. In the medley relay (where he’ll swim the freestyle leg) we have a chance at gold and maybe a world record.”

Eight years ago on his last trip to the World Masters meet Couch swam four events and posted one top-10 finish. This week in Montreal, he picked up two sevenths, a fifth and two fourths. He capped the week with a big finish in the 200 IM, outkicking two higher-seeded swimmers in the final 50 meters.

He’ll swim the 200, 400 and 800 freestyle and 200 and 400 individual medley at Maryland.

Not all of his times in Montreal were what he’d have liked, but he was “pleasantly surprised” with the finishes.

“I was doing a new kind of (ultra short race pace) training and … didn’t fully invest myself in it and mixed it up with traditional training,” he said. “I don’t think I properly trained my aerobic capacity probably.

“I think (the week) was successful because I placed really high. It would be a bummer to do a really good time and not place well.”

It’s not likely Couch will go to the next World Masters – scheduled for Russia, piggy-backed with the FINA World Championships — but he’s not ruling out competing in the event again if it goes to a venue that’s comfortably accessible. And he’s definitely going to continue competing nationally.

“My wife knows I have plans to be in the 90-94 age group,” he said.

Al Muskewitz is Content Editor/Senior Writer of East Alabama Sports Today. He can be reached at musky@wrightmediacorp.com and followed on Twitter @easportstoday1.

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