Aquatics

Devonport Royal swimmer Daly preparing for two major national events

DEVONPORT Royal swimmer Abigail Daly is preparing for two big events within the next six weeks.

In early August the youngster will compete at the Special Olympics National Summer Games in Sheffield before two weeks later taking part at the UK Youth Games in Loughborough.

Daly is fast making a name for herself in para-swimming.

She is classified as an S14 competitor, which is for athletes with intellectual disabilities.

Daly, who also suffers from autism, has made rapid progress since she was spotted at a British Swimming talent ID day in October 2013. She attend the day after seeing an advert on her school’s, (Longcause Special Community School) website.

She initially joined the disability swimming hub at the Life Centre before joining Devonport Royal Swimming Club in June 2015.

Her first major competition came at the English Federation for Disability Sport sponsored Junior National Para-Swimming Age Group Championships in Sunderland.

Despite being nervous, Daly secured four gold medals in the four events she entered which were the 10-13 year-old age group 50m freestyle, 100m freestyle, 100m backstroke and 200m freestyle.

Daly’s selection to represent England South at the UK Youth Games between August 31 and September 3 follows on from an invitation to a Swim England training camp in Nottingham.

She is now on the Swim England Foundation Performance Pathway. This pathway is only offered to between 20 and 30 para-swimmers each year.

The Longcourse pupil not only had to secure 300 or more British para-swimming points in any stroke/distance, but also had to show that she had the values that the Swim England have set up which are responsibility, ownership, commitment and knowledge (ROCK).

Daly, who also competes for her club in non-para competitions, scored more than 300 points in seven short course events (25m pool) and in four long course events (50m pool).

She is currently ranked second in the UK for 400m freestyle (short course) and in the top four for 50m backstroke (SC & LC), 50m butterfly (SC) and 100m butterfly (SC).

The Special Olympics National Summer Games in Sheffield will take place between August 8 and August 12, with the UK Youth Games two weeks later.

At the end of the year the Devonport Royal swimmer will travel to Manchester for the National Winter Para-Swimming Championships, where she has been invited to meet the top two S14 swimmers in the world, Bethany Firth and Jessica Jayne Applegate. They have both won Olympic gold medals and will be able to offer the Plymouth athlete some valuable advice.

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