BY JORDAN KAHN, STAFF WRITER
Charlie Lydecker of Ormond Beach, an endurance athlete and corporate boardroom all-star, has been in Mesa, Ariz., this week at the nation’s largest swim meet for a test run before attempting to break a relay world record this fall.
Lydecker, three-time Olympic gold medalist Rowdy Gaines of Lake Mary, Keith Switzer of Greenville, S.C., and Ross Bohlken of Winter Springs have been preparing for nearly a year to break the short-course 800-meter freestyle relay mark for their age group at a meet in October in Orlando.
To train, Lydecker — a regional vice president at Brown & Brown, a political campaign fundraiser and a board member of Halifax Health Foundation, Gateway Bank of Florida and several other places — has been swimming with Port Orange Olympian Ryan Lochte and getting coaching from area swimming guru Steve Lochte.
Lydecker, 47, said he is even sporting a Lazer Pro swimsuit from Lochte, a competition-legal swimsuit that squeezes on about as tightly as a boa constrictor.
This week’s event in Arizona, the U.S. Masters Spring Nationals, is in a pool measured in yards, but the meet doesn’t have an 800-yard freestyle relay, so the team can’t attempt the record there.
But Gaines said the meet will still be a good tuneup, as the four will swim in their respective age groups in the 200-meter freestyle in a highly competitive environment. There will bearound 2,000 competitors at nationals.
Lydecker said although he’s been in a suit and tie in meetings this week, in his head he’s sweating bullets about how many seconds he can shave off his time today in the 200 free.
The relay team is named Blu Frog, named for an energy drink made by the Lake Mary company Limu that Gaines works for.
Blu Frog’s plan is to take a shot at the record in October at the Rowdy Gaines Classic in Orlando.
“I think if we got up on the blocks right now, we would definitely be able to do it,” Gaines said.
“Keith and I could each go two minutes. I think Charlie could go 2:05, and Ross could go 2:10, so that puts us five seconds under. I think we could destroy the record today.”
The 8:20 record is for the 200-and-up cumulative age group. Add the ages of Lydecker 47, Gaines, 52, Switzer, 48, and Bohlken, 57, and they’re a 204.
“I’ve been kind of putting the pressure on Charlie to get in shape,” Gaines joked. “It’s so much fun to see him wilt under that pressure. Actually, he’s the least of my worries …”
Lydecker, a former lifeguard and surfer from New York, won a fistful of gold medals in the National Lifeguard Championships in August 2010. He won his age division in the 700-meter Run-Swim-Run, the 400-meter ocean swim Surf Race and the 2K Beach Run, which Lydecker called “a barefoot sprint.”
Gaines said the world championships of masters swimming is in September, so that record may change before the October meet.
Also at the Spring Nationals in Arizona, 44-year-old Terry Livingston, an ER doctor at Halifax Hospital, and 29-year-old Danielle Chance of Port Orange were scheduled to swim in the 100 breast and 50 fly Friday, the 50 breast and 100 individual medley today and the 200 breast and 200 IM on Sunday.
And 46-year-old Noah Gabrielle, a songwriter and musician from Daytona Beach Shores, was scheduled to swim in the 50 fly Friday, the 100 IM today and the 100 fly and 200 IM on Sunday.