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Niagara Falls
Saturday, June 15, 2024
Swimmer conquers the river again
Liam Berry, left, and Dylan Rumsey swam the Niagara River to raise money for Pathstone Mental Health. Dave Van de Laar
Liam Berry, left, and Dylan Rumsey at the end of their swim. They swam the Niagara River on Saturday to raise money for Pathstone Mental Health. Dave Van de Laar

With hands tied and no training, Dylan Rumsey swims for Pathstone


Dylan Rumsey swam 12 kilometres down the Niagara River on Saturday – with his hands tied.

“It was definitely easier than expected,” said Rumsey, who completed his second annual swim in around two hours and 30 minutes.

He didn’t do it all alone, though.

Thirteen-year-old Liam Berry decided to join Rumsey, 26, in his support of Pathstone Mental Health, but kept his hands free.

“Well, I saw him do it last year and I was just amazed,” Berry told The Lake Report.

He explained that one day while he was out for ice cream with family friend Rumsey, they decided they would swim from the Queenston Boat Launch to Queen’s Royal Beach together.

“Bringing Liam out is a prime example of just believing in yourself and getting it done. He’s 13 years old and swam 12 kilometres and he didn’t do any training either,” Rumsey said.

Both swimmers are extremely passionate about the work of Pathstone Mental Health and were eager to show their support.

Rumsey is open about his mental health struggles with PTSD and drug and alcohol addiction, stemming from an experience of childhood trauma. 

“For me, it’s helping get a message out there and inspiring people. If I can help out a hospital or a family in need with the money side of things, that’s great, too,” said Rumsey.

Berry’s brother Ben Jeffries tragically died at age 19 in 2016. Jeffries was a close friend of Rumsey’s.

Pathstone provided grief counselling to Berry and his family after the loss and also installed a dedicated section of their park for Ben.

Rumsey and Berry both keep fit, with Rumsey regularly boxing and Berry on the ice as a hockey player. But prep for the swim was pretty minimal.

“Honestly, I just drank some energy drinks and ate a banana and then jumped right in,” Berry said.

“I didn’t train or anything,” Rumsey said.

He admitted that the few times he practised what swimming with his arms tied would be like he immediately went underwater.

“That made me nervous,” he laughed.

When he actually got into the river, Rumsey quickly acclimated to using his two hands tied to the front of him in a scooping motion, alternating from left to right.

He said he did that pretty much the entire way, combined with kicks. But when his left knee had enough around four kilometres in, he said he only used his right leg.

“There were a couple of times when I was severely struggling through it,” he said.

“But it went well.”

With the support of three boats in the water and countless family and friends waiting for them at the finish line, Berry and Rumsey completed their swim with relative ease.

“I just wrapped myself in towels,” Berry said about his post-swim celebrations.

“I laid in my bed afterwards,” joked Rumsey.

Last year, Rumsey raised $14,335 for Pathstone and is optimistic that this year raised a large amount as well.

Berry said if Rumsey decides to swim the river again next year, he would love to join him.

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