varsity swimmers broke world records


April 5, 2007

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By Marianne Meadahl

SFU varsity swimmers broke a few world records on April 1—and helped build awareness of a debilitating disease.      

They joined about 100 participants from local swim clubs in the annual Cystic Fibrosis Swim-a-rama held in the SFU pool.

Before the day's end half of the $20,000 goal—with a deadline of April 30—had already been collected.

"This is such an upbeat event," says SFU head swim coach Liam Donnelly. "It's all about helping the cause, but we always manage to make it fun—and throw in a little excitement."

Varsity swimmers were "a little nervous" about staring down world record times, because "they didn't want to let all the kids down," says Donnelly. Four women's team swimmers swam relay-style to beat China's Yu Yang's 200M butterfly world record time—with six seconds to spare.

Four men's team members improved on Australian Ian Thorpes' 200M freestyle record—by just under one second.

During the event an award was presented to George and Penny Pedersen recognizing their volunteer efforts. The former SFU president and his wife have been instrumental in organizing the event and fundraising for CF for over a decade. Two of their grandchildren were born with CF. The debilitating and eventually fatal disease afflicts 3,500 Canadians.

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