Posted on Friday 5th May, 2023

MSQ World Number Ones

Congratulations to Denise Robertson (Miami Masters) and Caleb Langelaan (Cotton Tree Masters) for achieving incredible World Number Ones in the World Aquatics Masters Top 10s for 2022!

Caleb achieved two Masters World Number Ones – in Men’s 45-49 200 Breaststroke both Short Course and Long Course.

Denise also achieved two Masters World Number Ones – in Women’s 85-89 years Short Course 100m Freestyle and the Short Course 400m Freestyle.


I don’t remember anything about the 100 freestyle event at the State Swim. All my concentration in Cairns was for our girls’ relay events which I so wanted to be successful.

However, I do remember the 400 free. A few years ago, John Munro and I were swimming in adjacent lanes at Chandler – a 200 free as I recall. He asked me how he should swim the race and I suggested he stay with me until the third lap and then go for it. When I finished the race John was still coming and I must have made some comment like “where were you?”. I remember, our then coaches, Todd Robinson and Roger Belmar were also watching and teased John, so he has joked about it ever since.

So, when we were side by side in the 400 at States, there apparently was a small group of amused onlookers, including Todd, who were cheering and laughing throughout.  I understand we swam together each lap, but I tumbled, and John touch turned, so he said he then had to swim “like the clappers” to catch up and this happened right up till the 16th lap when he made a supreme effort and touched first. There was a photo taken after, but I don’t have a copy. It was probably taken by Todd. Both swims were at State championships, Cairns.

I was swimming twice a week in squads – about 1500m to 2000m each time – and an Endurance as well. I don’t do any other preparation – just hope for the best!

I am progressing very slowly after the shoulder reconstruction and doubt if I will be able to compete again, but I will certainly be keeping in touch.

We wish Denise a very speedy recovery!

Caleb Langelaan:

The backstory for my World Number One swims goes like this…

The year prior (2021) I started back from scratch in March at QLD State long course (doing 50s only, and they hurt) after a partially dislocated shoulder had kept me out of the water since a 6 month stint of swimming in 2019, which was my first attempted comeback after 22 years of retirement.

I had no expectations except to get fit and maybe look at trying to get some local QLD records in 2022 after hopefully staying injury free in 2021.

After a couple of months training, I was making some solid gains, and snuck into world top ten at 7th for the 200m breast, albeit in a depleted year. So, heading into Christmas break I set myself the new target of aiming to get the AUS records in the 100 and 200 breast for both short course and long course for my age group. The main aim was to set myself for nationals, being a short course meet in 2022. I planned to do more sessions in a 25m pool, as you know our home pool at Cotton tree is a 50m, so I started splitting my training up between the Cotton Tree masters squad in the 50 m pool and the junior squad at the Flinders Phoenix Swim Club.

Early January I set out a program in consultation with my coaches, Chris Wright and Janice McCallum, to time for peaking when Nationals came around. I went and spoke to a sports nutritionist to lay out an eating plan to fit with my training and goals, and I booked myself in for weekly massages for recovery for the months leading up to the meet.

The usual break for swim meets over the summer period meant that the first practice racing I got to do was at the UQ meet in March, only one month out from Nationals and when I was at full load and not started tapering yet. Turns out my goal of breaking the Australian records didn’t have to wait until nationals as I knocked half a second off the 100m breast and 3 seconds off the 200m breast at the UQ meet.

This boosted my confidence and I had to quickly re-adjust my goals for Nationals. I could only now set new PB goal times, the records were mine, but I did have a little look at the previous year’s ranking results to see what might get me high in the world rankings.

The taper for Nationals went well, an unknown process for me at that age. The last taper I did was 24 years earlier and the body sure isn’t the same. I came through it feeling really good and my first event at Nationals in Sydney on Day 2, the 200 breast, which is my number 1 event and I like dealing with the main goal first up. Everything just worked, the planning, preparation, intent throughout training and mindset was as good as it could be and as a result the race followed in the same manner. It went so well in fact that at the 100m split I broke my own 100m breaststroke Australian record that I had just set a few weeks prior at UQ and when I hit the wall at the 200m I discovered I took an additional 5 seconds off my own Australian record. A time that would not be bettered by anyone worldwide that year and I am very proud to say I am 3 secs clear at number 1. (I was constantly checking the overseas results for the remaining 9 months :D).

Main job done, now on to the long course season…

This one is a bit less perfect. I took a break after nationals leading into state short course and then planned to build up again for the long course season in the second half of the year. The aim was to peak again for Pan Pacs (albeit FINA wouldn’t recognize the swims). I set out a plan more geared toward long course, but following the same blueprint as the previous preparation.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t really get the same consistent training block in and the reason I was to later find out was because I started to get my symptoms in the winter which we would find out in October was a faulty gall bladder which has kept me out of the pool since. With surgery now behind me, I am expecting to be back doing some light swimming in the next week or so.

I was able to do 2 mid-season meets for race practice, one in Burpengary where I focused the 100m and a few weeks later in Noosa where I focussed the 200m. I was not expecting much, due to me being under full training load. However, I was able to do what I considered a decent time if we look at time conversions for short course to long course and considering the timing of the preparation.

Well… as it turns out, that was my last race for the year, and I had set an Australian record which became the fastest time for the year worldwide which put me at world number 1 for 200 breast long course as well.

The long course result was not a finished product, and I would love to know how I would have gone with a full prep. But just the same I am very proud that I was able to put down that result mid-season and snag the top spot.

The short course result is a very fond memory of mine, something I will always look back on with pride. It didn’t happen overnight or by accident and I felt on top of the world at that meet, the stars aligned.