Glacier Bear sets Canadian record in Montreal

Marsh Lake's Mary Anne Myers only had one swim meet scheduled for this season and she made it count.

Marsh Lake’s Mary Anne Myers only had one swim meet scheduled for this season and she made it count.

Myers, and Whitehorse Glacier Bears masters teammate Angie MacNeil, joined more than 1,300 athletes in the pool at the Canadian Masters Swimming Championship last weekend in Montreal.

Swimming in the women’s 55-59 division, Myers lost only one race, winning four golds and setting a national age-group record.

“I was very happy. It was a fun meet,” said Myers. “It was four days of long-sitting on the pool deck.”

Myers won gold in the 400- and 800-metre freestyle, the 200-metre backstroke and also won a silver in the 100-metre backstroke.

Her Canadian record, which gave Myers a fourth gold, came in the 400-metre individual medley. With a time of six minutes, 20.8 seconds, Myers broke the previous record by just over four seconds. It was her first national record for an individual medley event.

“The 400 IM is so hard, it takes so much out of you that it’s all you want to do that day,” said Myers. “It’s exhausting.”

Myers currently holds three national age-group records. Last summer she set long-course records in the 400-, 800-, and 1,500-metre freestyle at the BC Provincial Masters Swim Meet. She then broke all three of those records three weeks later at the 2010 Canadian Masters Long Course Swimming Championships in Nanaimo, BC.

“I didn’t swim as well as I did last year, but, you know, you do what you do,” said Myers. “I concentrated on my backstroke – both my backstroke times were best times. And so was my IM. So I concentrated on other things this year.”

Whitehorse’s MacNeil, swimming in the women’s 40-44 division, also had a strong meet, making the A finals in all her events.

“I had a good meet. My times were way faster than last year, so that was good,” said MacNeil. “All my finishes were top-10, so I was happy with that.”

MacNeil’s best result was a fourth-place finish in the 100-metre breaststroke. She also came fifth in the 100-metre butterfly, and sixth in the 50-metre breaststroke and 400-metre individual medley, and seventh in the 200- and 400-metre freestyle.

Her time in the 400-metre freestyle was a personal best, “Not from when I was 16, but as a masters it’s a personal best,” she said.

At last year’s championships MacNeil won three bronze medals.

Both swimmers were competitive in their younger days, then leaving the sport for several years before returning as a masters swimmer.

“On and off I lived in Inuvik for seven years, before the pool, so I didn’t get to swim up there,” said MacNeil. “I didn’t really get back into it, probably, until my late 30s.”

As a child Myers swam for the Canadian Dolphins Swim Club in Vancouver before withdrawing from the sport for 25 years to raise a family.

“It’s been great here,” said MacNeil. “(The Glacier Bears) have been very supportive with coaching. The fact that we have three coaches for masters, that’s been great. Swimming in the Yukon has definitely been really good.

“Next year (the championships are) happening in Kelowna, so we’re hoping to have more masters out,” she added.

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