[attach]5521[/attach]With 70 members on York Mills Rubber Duckies swim team, Rick Mahoney has a good pool to draw from for competitions.
And 16 of those swimmers will be making the journey along the 401 to Milton for this year’s OFSAA meet in March.
For Mahoney, it’s one of the most successful teams he’s coached in his 15 years, and it’s all thanks to the efforts of swimmers Connie Yang and Joseph Ng.
“If these two get on the podium at OFSAA, it’ll rank right up there,” Mahoney said.
The two have claimed eight golds each, four at regionals and another four at Citys. Ng won for 50-metre freestyle, 100-metre freestyle, 100-metre backstroke and 4×50-metre senior boys medley. Yang won for 200-metre freestyle, 50-metre fly, 100-metre individual medley along with the 4×50-metre senior girls medley.
“It’s great because this is the most we’ve sent to OFSAA since I have been here,” the grade 12 Ng said. “It’s a really great experience.”
“I’ve been working hard this season,” he added. “I really want to get a gold at OFSAA so I can get offers from universities.”
Ng said he’s looking to break some records in Milton, and is hungry for a gold in the high school category after switching from the open class. Students who are club swimmers have to swim in the open category for one year after quitting club.
Yang, a grade 11 who is also making the switch from open to high school, is more modest in her pursuits, only seeking to best her pool times.
“I don’t really care about winning, I just want to improve on those times,” she said. “I felt that’s the most important thing for me because your hard work pays off.”
Joining them on the trip will be success story Ashley Poon, who will compete in the individual 50-metre backstroke. Swimming with Ng on his medley relay are Nathan Chung, Jonathan Crawford-Brown and Kwesi Kwono-Fosu.
The number of students heading to OFSAA is the completion of a goal Mahoney set for the team at the beginning of the season: to finish higher than fifth overall at Citys.
“For them to finish second at Citys was so exciting for me,” he said. “As a team, the sheer number of people that can do well here is pretty exciting.”
Yang admits she went through swimming withdrawal after departing club, but her qualifying for OFSAA with York Mills this year has more than filled that expanse.
“I don’t think I can describe it in one word, but it was just training hard and putting your best into everything that you do.”