Former Rebel Talks About World Record
Sept. 10, 2009
LAS VEGAS -
REBEL SWIMMER BREAKS WORLD RECORD!
(by Ben Loorz, UNLV assistant coach)
On Sunday, August 9th, former Rebel Joe Bartoch (’06) joined an elite group – a group of people who can look back and say “At that moment, I was the the best in the whole world.” Swimming the butterfly leg of the 400m medley relay, Joe joined with his Canadian teammates to crush the former world record in the short-course-meters event (formerly held by Russia) by a full second (3:23.33).
Joe’s achievement marks the first time in the history of UNLV Swimming & Diving that a Rebel has held a world record. And, with FINA likely to change the suit rule (banning high-tech suits in the future), it is a great record that may stand for quite some time.
Correspondence with Joe reveals a dramatic week of competition at the British Gas Open in Leeds, England. The men on the relay were aware of the record, but only began to give themselves a legitimate chance at it when their individual event results revealed some real speed. The breaststroker swam a flat start time only a few tenths off the breaststroke split from the former world record relay; then the backstroker did the same thing. And Canada’s freestyle leg is the former world champion. Joe commented that all of a sudden, he was the “weak link”, and he “couldn’t sleep for two days thinking about the [potential of] the relay.”
Joe, of course, showed why he is a champion when the time came. As he did time-and-again at UNLV, he took his game to a new level and rose to the occasion. He split a 50.18 (scm) for his butterfly leg, a full 1.3 seconds faster than his previous lifetime best. “It really took me back to the being on the UNLV relays – UNLV really prepared me for that relay for sure. We had the pressure, just like when we had to make NCAA’s. It was great, and really pushed us to perform as a single unit and just do it.”
Joe describes the incredible feeling of accomplishment that followed the relay, making it one of the best nights of his life, and compared it to his times at UNLV. “I loved being on the UNLV relays because they are about so much more than your individual swim . . . you have three other guys who you know are going to give the extra effort, not just for themselves, but because they know the combined effort will create something special.” Bartoch’s relay years at UNLV began the tradition of gathering the whole squad behind the blocks for each relay at the conference championships, and Joe describes how “The whole team is behind you . . . knowing that everyone is 100 percent there is really great. You forget about all the other things and truly become a team that comes together to chase one goal.”
Joe, your words and deeds inspire us as we enter the 2009-2010 season. On behalf of the whole Rebel family, congratulations to you! You make us proud to be Rebels!