Cederlund Reaches Athletic Potential Late In Life
By Jeff Navin // April 4, 2012
SPACE COAST SPORTS HALL OF FAME
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – Jumping back into the pool the second time around worked out just fine for Melbourne Beach’s Bunny Cederlund.
Cederlund, a possible nominee for the Space Coast Sports Fall of Fame, died last year at the age of 89, and lost an opportunity to swim in the 1940 Olympics when the Summer Games, originally scheduled for Tokyo, were moved to Helsinki and then ultimately canceled because of World War II.
Competitive swimming came to an end as she married Air Force officer Walt Cederlund, who gave Agnes Cederlund her nickname of Bunny.
The couple, who lived in Ridgefield Park, N.J. for approximately 25 years, moved to Florida in the late 1980s after Bunny turned 65 years old.
Cederlund, who also liked golf, tennis, archery and boating, found herself back in the pool. By the time she turned 70, she found her niche as a swimmer, once again.
In 1992, Cederlund, who was born in 1921, was ranked No. 1 in the women’s U.S. Masters Swimming 70 to 74 50-meter backstroke with a time of 44.53 seconds.
She also was ranked No. 1 in the 70 to 74 100 backstroke with a time of 1 minute, 44.88 seconds and No. 1 in the 70 to 74 200 backstroke in 3:52.95. Those times were all in long course meters.
In short course yards, Cederlund was ranked No. 1 in the women’s 70 to 74 50 backstroke with a time of 41.96 seconds.
During her career as a Masters swimmer, Cederlund posted 234 individual top 10 swims and 14 top 10 listings in relay events.
She was an individual All-America 13 times and a relay All-America on four occasions. Eleven of her All-America honors came from 1992 to 2008. Her two long-distance rankings were posted in 2002 and 2003.
In order to earn All-America status, Cederlund had to be ranked No. 1 on the top 10 list in the national masters age group for individuals and No. 1 on the top 10 list for relay events. Second place would not earn All-America status.
Cederlund still owns 15 individual U.S. Masters Swimming records in three age groups. Her specialty was the backstroke. Cederlund has several backstroke records ranging from 50 short course yards to the 200 long course meters in the 80 to 84 and 85 to 83 age groups.
She still also has four FINA Masters World records in the 80 to 84 50-meter backstroke(LCM) and the 85 to 89 50-meter backstroke (SCM), 50-meter backstroke (LCM) and the 100-meter backstroke (LCM).
For most of her career as a masters swimmer, Cederlund competed for the Florida Aquatic Combined Team (FACT).
In 1994 at the age of 72, Cederlund was the No. 1 swimmer in the 70 to 74 50-meter backstroke (LCM) with a time of 45.43 seconds and the 100 backstroke (LCM) with a time of 1:43.64.
In 1997, the 75-year-old Cederlund was the top-ranked swimmer in the 75 to 79 50-meter backstroke (50.82 seconds) and 100-meter backstroke (1:52.88). Both of those events were short course meters.
In long course meters, she was No. 1 in the 75 to 79 1,500 freestyle (30:33.56), 50 backstroke (46.98), 100 backstroke (1:46.70) and 200 backstroke (4:00.78).
In short course yards, she was No. 1 in the 200 freestyle (3:06.74), 50 backstroke (42.92) and 100 backstroke (1:39.96).
In 1998 in short course meters, she was No. 1 in the 50 backstroke (51.14) and 100 backstroke (1:51.72). In long course meters, she surpassed everyone in the 50 backstroke (50.06) 100 backstroke (2:01.64) and 200 backstroke (4:26.54). She was 76-years-old that season.
During the 2001 season when she turned 80, Cederlund was top ranked in the 50 backstroke (48.24), 100 backstroke (1:50.50) and 200 backstroke (4:06.19). All were in long course meters.
In 2002, Cederlund topped everyone with long course meter times of 46:39 in he 50 backstroke, 1:48.64 in the 100 backstroke and 3:59.73 in the 200 backstroke.
In short course yards, she was top ranked in the 50 freestle (43.76), 200 freestyle (3:23.44), 50 backstroke (43.81), 100 backstroke (1:39.35) and 200 backstroke (3:41.49).
In the one-hour swim, Cederlund racked up 2,1815 yards to prevail in the 80 to 84 category.
During the 2003 season in short course meters, Cederlund was tops in the 50 backstroke (53.97) and 100 backstroke (1:59.21). In long course meters, she was No. 1 in four events – the 100 freestyle (1:45.54), 50 backstroke (51.43), 100 backstroke (1:54.51) and 200 backstroke (4:17.31). In short course yards, she was the best in the 100 backstroke (1:40.33) and the 200 backstroke (3:49.62).
In the long distance event, Cederlund racked up 2,755 yards in the one-hour swim.
During the 2004 season, Cederlund at 83 was No. 1 in the 50 freestyle in short course meters with a time of 49.89 seconds. In long course meters, she was No. 1 in the 50 (54.64), 100 (2:10.78) and 200 backstroke (4:38.51).
In short course yards, she was top ranked in the 50 freestyle (39.60), 100 freestyle (1:32.31), 200 freestyle (3:33.18), 1,000 freestyle (21:02.68), 50 backstroke (44.87), 100 backstroke (1:38.70) and 200 backstroke (3:46.69).
She also teamed up with others to win the 400 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay in short course meters.
In 2006, Cederlund was the top swimmer in four short course meter events and four long course meter events in the 85 to 89 age group at the age of 85.
Her top times in SCM were 51.34 in the 50 freestyle, 57.62 in the 50 backstroke, 2:10.33 in the 100 backstroke and 4:36.48 in the 200 backstroke. In long course meters, she was top ranked in the 100 freestyle in 1:51.88, 50 backstroke in 53.44, 100 backstroke in 2:06.41 and 200 backstroke in 4:35.71. She also was No. 1 in two relay events.
During the 2007 season, Cederlund was top ranked in the 100 freestyle in 1:49.54, 100 backstroke in 1:56.27 and 200 backstroke in 4:13.19. All were short course yards.
In 2008, she was ranked No. 1 in the 50 backstroke with a time of 51.06 and the 200 backstroke in 4:22.65. Both were short course yard events. In the women’s 75 and older 200 freestyle relay in short course yards, her team was top ranked.
Although she never smoked, Cederlund died of lung cancer. She had four children, seven grandchildren and six great grandchildren.