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 Nancy Garapick sets World Record


April 27, 1975. That was the day the world found out Nancy Garapick was a swimmer. The diminutive 13 year old junior high student from Halifax had just established a world record in the 200 metre backstroke at the Eastern Canadian Championships held in London, Ontario becoming only the third ever 13 year old to set a world record in the sport. Garapick set the record with a time of 2 min. 16.33 seconds eclipsing the previous record by almost a second. Garapick said, “It felt like a dream” and didn’t realize what she had done after setting the mark. “I could see everybody moving and standing and that’s what made me move faster. You know they’re all for you.”

But it was only the beginning of an incredible year for the petite blond. In May she won her first Canadian championship titles in the 100 and 200 meter backstroke in Winnipeg. In July she won bronze and silver medals in the 100 and 200 metre backstroke at the World Aquatic Championships Columbia. For her efforts she was named Canada’s female athlete of the year becoming the toast of Nova Scotia. However she won the hearts of all Canadians with her sensational swimming in the 1976 Olympics in Montreal. In Montreal she won two bronze medals becoming the only Canadian to win two individual medals. She set an Olympic record in the heats of the 100 metre backstroke. Looking back on her record and Olympic experience Garapick said, “In ‘76, I don’t think we felt that much pressure because most of the girls on the team were very young. We just went out to have a good time and swim our best. That attitude really helped because we were relaxed.”