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Records fall in the pool

Fumerton, Bernier break 20, 30-year old records

Paula Sanderson, Sports Contributor


Bryan Fumerton and Meagan Bernier broke two of the longest held Dalhousie swimming records Saturday at the AUS invitational swim meet at the Dalplex pool. Fumerton broke Darcy Byrne’s 1992 record on Saturday morning in the men’s 400 metre freestyle. Bernier broke Nancy’s Garapick’s 1982 record in the women’s 400 metre freestyle on Saturday night.

Fumerton, a fourth year biochemistry student, has been working toward this achievement for the last few years. He broke the record with a time of 3:57.84.

“I had been within half a second two or three times it was about time I got it done,” he says. “I could see my splits and I knew I was really close, so I just had to hammer it in.”

This is Fumerton’s first record. “I’ve been working for it the past four years,” he says, “it’s just nice to have my name up on the board.”

Fumerton has been swimming since he was seven years-old. This is his fourth year on the team. He is planning on continuing for a fifth year. He has big expectations for himself after this meet.

“I think I can go a lot faster than I did today,” he says. “I was 3:57 today; I hope to go 3:54.”

Bernier, a first-year science student, set her record in the evening final heat with a time of 4:18.77.

“I was able to see the clock when I was swimming,” she says. “I knew half way through that I was having a good swim.”

Breaking the record never occurred to her. “That wasn’t even the first thing I was thinking about,” she says. “First thought was ‘Holy, I’m going fast.’”

She kept looking at the clock. “I didn’t even clue in that I got the record until my team was pointing at the end,” she says. “I just saw the 4:18 and all I could say was ‘Oh my goodness.’”

Bernier, swam with the Halifax Trojans at the Dalplex before swimming with the Tigers. “It was always my goal to have the 400 free record,” she says, “I just got it earlier than I thought I would.”

The 400 freestyle is Bernier’s best event. “I haven’t got a best time since Canada Games where we had the LZRs (swimsuits)” she says. “It’s a big stepping stone, to get down to my best time again or faster.”

Bernier, like Fumerton wants to continue to get faster. “That was my goal time,” she says. “it’ll be pretty cool to go 4:15 — be up there with the guys.”

Both records were the longest standing records on both the men’s and women’s boards.

Chris Stewart now has the longest standing record on the men’s side in 50m breast stroke. He knows what its like to break records.

“Swimmers — all athletes — spend a lot of time training for their goals,” he says.  “It’s a really significant accomplishment.”

Philip Evans, a swimming enthusiast, knows the impact of the accomplishments.

“Darcy Byrne was a monster,” he says. “If (Fumerton) broke that, it means something.”

As for Bernier?

“Nancy Garapick swam in the ’76 Olympics and she set a host of Dal and universities records,” he says, “records that old were very good when they were set, so to beat one is a big deal. Meagan Bernier beat that. Good for her.”

Gary MacDonald, head assistant coach says that for Fumerton, this is a significant accomplishment:

“(Byrne’s) record was on the board for almost 20 years, so its pretty spectacular” he says, “(Fumerton) came so close twice last year. I think this will propel him.”

MacDonald was even more pleased with Bernier.

“Swimmer of the meet so far,” he says, “Meagan is hopefully going to be one of our shining stars this year.” The coaches have high expectations for her.  “We’d love to see her make the top eight at CIS,” says MacDonald.

Julia Gow and Ryan Laustsen are both proud of their teammates. “We are all just swimming really great,” says Gow. “Everyone is just swimming really happy, it makes a huge difference.”

“I’ve never see a core group of people work so hard in the pool,” says Laustsen.  “It has really shown.”

“Everyone’s bringing it times ten,” says co-captain Terri-Lynn Benison. “Everyone went fast this morning, but they are coming back ready to kill this evening.”

Team managers Maggie Jones and Johannah Profit also experienced the positive atmosphere.

“It’s a really mentally challenging sport,” Jones says, “When you’re up behind the block it’s that attitude that can really make or break it.”

This meet is often the most successful for swimmers.

“Usually at this meet we see people seeing above and beyond what they would be swimming at the other meets this season,” says Jones. “This is the meet where everyone really shines.”

Profit saw Fumerton break his record.

“With new technology in water, the way they time and the suits it’s amazing that a record can be standing that long,” she says. “Its pretty cool that he can do that without one of those suits.”

Assistant coach Sarah Miles is impressed with all the swimmers.

“The kids put a lot of work in, so its great when they can pull it together and have fun and race and win, that’s really impressive,” she says, “I’m really impressed with the rookies, particularly Ceilidh MacPherson and Mary-Claire Lynch have swum really well. They are standing out on the women’s side.”

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