STEPHENVILLE Mason Jeddore is hoping for a strong finish to his varsity swimming career.
The 22-year-old from Stephenville is in the final stretch of his multi-year stint as a member of the Memorial University of Newfoundland Sea-Hawks men’s swimming team. With just two events remaining on the calendar — the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Invitational and the AUS Championships — he’s aware the end is in sight.
Unlike previous instances, however, Jeddore is currently away from his coaches and teammates — because he can spot another goal on the horizon. He’s back in his hometown of Stephenville, on his internship at Stephenville Middle School, the final steps towards an education degree, which he sought after clewing up his bachelor of physical education degree last year. Still, he remains focused on his aquatic life and what needs to be done in order to author a happy ending.
“It’s going to be tougher to train because I’m (in Stephenville), but I’m still hoping to compete,” said Jeddore. “I’ve got to train by myself in the Stephenville pool and do as much as I can.”
The son of Fergus Jeddore and Bernice Hancock began swimming when he was “five or six,” taking up the sport competitively a few years later at the age of eight with the Aqua Aces swim club. He swam with the Corner Brook Rapids during his first year of university at Grenfell Campus.
Originally attracted to the pool because his brother and some friends were active in the sport, Jeddore found out quickly he was no sinker — he had a natural talent for swimming, which helped fuel his desire to compete.
“From an early age, I was always self-motivated,” he said. “I liked the challenges of trying to get to my personal best times.”
Swimming, of course, isn’t an activity for mattress testers, nor is there much in the way of seasonal breaks. Even for a self-starter like Jeddore, there were times when the smell of chlorine could make him cringe.
“Sometimes there are days when you don’t want to go,” he admitted. “But even when you’re sick of it, you still have to push through and go to practices.”
That attitude helped him excel at the 200-metre butterfly, which is what he calls his best event since he was 12. He perfected the stroke after seeing others do it and liking how it looked.
“When you’re young and you see that stroke being done it’s pretty cool to see, so I was pretty motivated to learn how to do it,” he said.
Along with the 200-m butterfly, Jeddore prefers longer races like the 200-m backstroke of 400-m Individual Medley.
“I think it’s because of my endurance,” he said. “I kind of tough it out.”
When he joined the Sea-Hawks in his second year of university, he admits it was a major change for him at first, with such a large team made up of people he didn’t know. It didn’t take long for him to become tight with everyone and, subsequently, better in the pool as well.
“I feel like I came a long way (with the Sea-Hawks),” he said. “The training level has been far more than I was used to back in Stephenville.”
Memorable experiences during his time with the team include lining up against David Sharpe of Dalhousie, who swam at the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
“It’s cool to say you’re competing against Olympians,” said Jeddore.
He also fondly recalls an event this past November in Halifax, where he posted his best-ever time in the 200-m butterfly, a 2:17, roughly three seconds off his previous mark — proof positive he could still excel in the pool during his final year.
Now, with the AUS Invitational on Jan. 18 and the AUS Championship on Feb. 8, he’s got two chances left to make a splash. And he’s still sacrificing to do so.
“I knew I couldn’t let Christmas do me in too much,” he quipped. “I had to keep up with the exercise.”