Keith Vs. John at Masters Swimming Nationals 2004


































100 Free   1:08.33   1:08.53


Well John, we are back reviewing the 2003/2004 swim season Keith vs. John Battle.  We understand it was a draw at Provincials, and that the battle lines have been drawn at Nationals and included five Free events and 2 IM events.


JJM  Yeah, I beat all challenges Keith threw at me at Provincials in the Free events, especially what we both consider to be ‘The Events’: 200 and 400 Frees, and I almost got him in the 400 IM.   The big decisive race was the 200 Free where we lined up in lane 4 and 5.  I took off like a bat out of hell in the 200, Keith was challenging by 125, but then faltered and I knew I had him.  He blamed his legs, bad turn at the 125, and get this… his “Butt muscles” apparently seized up in the earlier 400 Free event.   “Butt muscles”…., I’ve heard of the water being too warm, water being too cloudy, sore legs, aching arms, water in the goggles, bad starts, but “Butt Muscles”.   So we redrew the battle lines for Nationals.


I understand the results at nationals in the first couple of days were pretty ugly for you, is that not true?


JJM  I’d like to say that it wasn’t true, but Keith won the 800, 400 and 200 Free events, and both the 200 & 400 IM.  So he was off to a ‘5 for 5’ start, leaving only the 50 and 1500 Free on Monday.  Even heading into the 1500, I was worried because I had only beaten him by 2/100ths of a second in the 50.  But, Keith did concede to me during the meet that his greater ability in Fly technique over me gives him too great of advantage to include the IM’s in this match set, so we redrew the battle lines on the five individual Free events.  Keith also had some help from home.  When he opened his suitcase, he found a picture from his daughter which graphically showed how far he was going to be ahead!  Click on the picture for a larger version


Well John, your reputation and honour,…. the Navy’s honour depended entirely on your 1500 Free event.  Tell us about the race.


JJM  I was going for the Canadian Record of 21:14.86, and Mike Morrow who swam before me, who owned the record just completed a 21:13.62.  So my whole focus was on beating 21:13.62, and not necessarily Keith, who was four lanes over.  Keith was the only one wearing a traditional “shorty” swimsuit (hee hee hee), so he was an easy mark to watch underwater during the race.   In the first half, I felt I was on record pace, and Keith was just behind me, but half way through the race, Keith slipped ahead by a second, I kept up with him till about the 1000 or 1100 meter mark and then things got a little hazy.  I felt the victory over Keith and the Canadian record slipping from my grasp.  I started doubting myself, “was I good enough”?  “Was I having just a bad hair day?”  “Why did I wear those fins for a whole month in workout?”  “Oh why did I not listen to Keith about training better without those fins?”  “Why did I not shave my beard stubble?” All these thoughts were going through my mind and Keith got a head by 2 seconds, then 3, and by 1400 he was 4 seconds ahead of me!  He had broken me, he had humbled me, and all I was going to get out of this meet was a cheap 2/100ths of a second sprint 50 Free victory over him!  Where was the Piano that is supposed to fall on Keith’s back at the 1000 meter mark, Oh why did that piano end up my back?



Keith, behind the block, mentally prepares for the start, and John starts the 1500 Free


Well John, we have witnesses from the CFST, and they told us that Keith had informed them that if the “Old Man” was within three seconds in the last 100, that Keith felt confident that you would pull up your socks and beat him, so he told them that he had to have 4 or more seconds on you to beat you, and apparently he had positioned himself perfectly to do so.  Tell us about the last 100 metres.


JJM  Well, I saw him and his little shorty swim suit (he he he he), and I knew that he was as blind as a bat four lanes over and may not be able to see me make if I could make the move.  I did not know whether I could beat Morrow’s 21:13, but I thought “I’ll be damned if Keith is going to beat me in 4 of 5 Free events”.  So, I prayed for strength, and looked down deep for an “extra” gear, and decided that now was the time to go to it.  So I pushed off that wall at 1400, shifted up a gear and closed the gap to maybe 2 ½ seconds at the 1450.  I heard the Navy crowd at the wall with 50 meters to go, I saw Keith four lanes over, and he was now only one body length and a bit ahead of me.   I shifted up another gear (an extra-extra gear!).  It was all or nothing.   I don’t remember much from this last 50.  I wasn’t even sure if I had beaten him or not, I just put my head down and swam as hard as I could.


John do you know that you swam five and ½ seconds faster than Keith in the last 100 metres and most of that was in the last 50?  You also broke the Canadian record by almost 1 second to 21:12.95? You beat Keith by 1.55 seconds. It was truly unbelievable and great for the sport fans to watch you pull the rabbit out of the hat.  Congratulations on your 50 to 54 year old long course 1500 Meter Canadian record.  Is there anything else you would like to say?


JJM  First off, I like to thank my family for allowing me to swim and train so hard.  I would like to thank my coaches and lane mates that allowed me to humour them in practices.  I would like to especially thank Keith for great races during the season, and he better watch for the mad foot tickler in the 3K open water Thetis Lake swim this summer.  


Well that’s all folks; Keith wins the individual Free events at Nationals 3 to 2.  We interviewed Keith and he has graciously conceded another Free event to John, the 100 Free in the 4 x 100 Free relay held right after the 1500.  Keith went a 1:08.53 lead off swim, and John completed a 1:08.33 with a flying start.  So with Keith’s consent, the results are 3 Free events each, a TIE!!!!!!!!!!  Oh when will it ever end!!!