Daly proves hard work does pay off

York Mills Titan has won four provincial medals in two years

She might hesitate to talk about it, but Lauren Daly is a true swimming success.

York Mills Titans’ pool sensation captured two medals at the OFSAA championship last month at the Etobicoke Olympium. Daly, who competes in the Swimmer With A Disability division, won gold in the 50-metre backstroke and bronze in the 100-metre freestyle.

Her 2008 medal haul follows up her 2007 performance when she won two OFSAA golds.

But Daly, who has cerebral palsy, is very soft-spoken when it comes to her achievements.

“It’s big,” the 16-year-old said about her March 5 results. “And I was really happy. I did feel some satisfaction at OFSAA.”

Titans swim coach Rick Mahoney, on the other hand, is more than happy to talk about Daly’s success.

“I was really excited for her because she worked really, really hard,” he said, “When she was standing on the podium with that big beaming smile, you can see how proud she really is of her accomplishments.”

Mahoney suspects the grade 11 student is hesitant to talk about her success because she doesn’t like the attention and doesn’t like to be singled out as a SWAD athlete. But the coach added while she is modest, Daly has nothing to be ashamed of.

“There is no doubt she’d be in the top half of our team and strong in the North Region in the freestyle and backstroke,” Mahoney said about where Daly could rank against able-bodied swimmers.

“She is so dedicated and she comes to practice all the time,” he added. “We try to use her as an example with other swimmers on our team that if you come to practice and work hard, you will improve.”

Already a competitive synchronized swimmer, Daly only started racing at York Mills two years ago. The reason: “It’s the only sport in high school I can do.

“I didn’t know (about my ability) at the time because I didn’t try club swimming,” said Daly, who competed in a national synchro event for Variety Village in Winnipeg April 3-6.

“I like swimming because it’s an adrenalin rush, it wakes me up in the morning and I’m fast,” she added with a laugh.

Mahoney said Daly’s synchro training helps her ability to race significantly.

“The amount of training she does improves her strength and conditioning,” he said, adding Daly is part fish because she’s in the pool almost every day during race season.

“She also has a very strong upper body and that compensates for the weakness in her legs.”

It may be almost a year away, but Mahoney is already excited for the 2009 high school swim season. He also isn’t shy in his expectations for Daly.

“You’ll see her back at OFSAA and on the podium again,” he said.

As for Daly, she’s not sure what her swimming future holds. But she does plan on following a simple motto.

“I can’t see into the future,” Daly said, “but (I’ll keep swimming) as long as I can.”

About this article:

By: Carmine Bonanno
Posted: May 11 2008 3:30 am
Filed in: Sports
Edition: Toronto