Local swimmer cracks national records

Last year, Marsh Lake’s Mary Anne Myers, swimming in the 50-54 age group, set a BC Provincial record (which include Yukon swimmers) in the 1,500-metre freestyle. Now competing in the 55-59 division, Myers has gone one further, breaking Canadian senior records.

Last year, Marsh Lake’s Mary Anne Myers, swimming in the 50-54 age group, set a BC Provincial record (which include Yukon swimmers) in the 1,500-metre freestyle. Now competing in the 55-59 division, Myers has gone one further, breaking Canadian senior records.

The Whitehorse Glacier Bears Swim Club member recently returned from the BC Provincial Masters Swim Meet held in Vancouver April 24-25, winning three gold medals, each of which set national records.

A distance swimmer, Myers shaved almost a full minute off the1,500-metre freestyle record for the 55-59 division, completing the race in 20 minutes, 45.38 seconds.

“It’s a real challenge of a race. It’s 60 lengths to start with, so you have to get into the groove,” said Myers. “It’s a race you really do for yourself and you’re not really racing with anybody else. In the shorter races you tend to race in pace with somebody besides you. In the 1,500 you go into your own groove and off you go.

“Every race has different strategy, so I wouldn’t say there’s more strategy.”

Myers also set a record in the 800-metre freestyle with a time of 11:04.04 and took off about five seconds off the previous 400-metre freestyle record with a time of 5:22.36.

“I have swam faster in the 800-metre previously (in a different age division), but the other two were fastest times that I’ve done,” she said.

Myers’ swim career is easily divided into two. As a child she swam for the Canadian Dolphins Swim Club in Vancouver, the host of the masters meet, before withdrawing from the sport for 25 years to raise a family. Myers then returned to the sport at the age of 40 and now holds Glacier Bears open records (18-and-up) for the 800- and 1,500-metre freestyle.

In a couple weeks Myers, and two other Glacier Bears masters – or “Grizzlies,” as they are called within the club – will be travelling to Nanaimo, BC, to compete at the Canadian Masters Championships. Making the trip with Myers are Angie McNeil, competing in the 40-44 division, and Kim Bennett, who broke two club records at the recent Yukon Invitational Swim Meet, in the open division.

Myers feels good about her chances in Nanaimo, but she’s not counting her medals yet.

“You never know until you hit one,” said Myers. “People down in BC, or in other provinces can go to quite a few swim meets because, like down in BC, they have them every month. But here we have to travel out.

“It’s possible more records will be broken, but no guarantees.”

In other local swim news, six Glacier Bears attended the Edmonton Keyano Swim Meet over the weekend, returning with four medals and two invitations to next year’s Western Canadian Championships.

Bringing in half the hardware was Isabel Parkkari, winning silver in the 1,500-metre freestyle and bronze in 800-metre freestyle in the girls’ 13-14 category. Teammates Erin McArthur won bronze in the 100-metre breaststroke in the girls’ 12-and-under division and Haley Braga also took bronze in the 200-metre butterfly in the girls’ 13-14 division.

For their times Parkkari and Braga were extended invitations to the Western Championships next February.

See Wednesday’s Yukon News for full coverage of the Edmonton meet.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com