Devonport Royal swimmer Daly impresses at GB National Summer Games

YOUNG Devonport Royal swimmer Abigail Daly returned home with a host of medals from the Special Olympics GB National Summer Games in Sheffield.

Daly, competing for the South West, collected two golds and three silver medals from the championships at Ponds Forge.

She also got the chance to meet and swim against four-time Olympic medallist Jessica Jayne Applegate, who, like Daly, is a S14 para-swimmer.

Having attended the opening ceremony in front of 15,000 people, the Longcause School pupil’s first medal came in the 200m freestyle, where she finished second in a good race with highly-rated Scottish swimmers April McKie and Katy Boyle.

The older and more experienced McKie won in 2:49.98, with Daly taking second in 2:55.83 and Boyle taking bronze in 3:07.85.

Daly, who is on the Swim England Foundation Performance Pathway Programme, then added a second silver medal the following day in 4x100m freestyle relay for the South West, where she was joined in the team by her club colleague Lewis Matti.

However, the final day of competition proved the most memorable for the Devonport Royal swimmer.

She claimed her first gold medal in the 100m freestyle event, pulling ahead of Scotland’s Boyle in the last 10 metres to win in 1:17.05.

Her battle with the Scottish swimmers continued in the 400m freestyle and 100m backstroke events.

In the 400m race, she had to settle for silver behind McKie but knocked six seconds off her personal best time.

And after just half-an-hour recovery time, she was back in the pool again and produced a great 100m backstroke swim to secure her second gold of the day ahead of McKie and Boyle.

Daly, as the fastest 100m freestyle swimmer, got to meet and talk to 2012 Olympic gold medallist Appelgate before swimming against her over 50m.

The Devonport swimmer is now turning her attentions to the UK School Games National Finals which will be held in Loughborough at the start of September.  Daly will be representing England South in that event.

Club colleague Matti picked up three medals in Sheffield. As well as the relay silver with Daly, Matti also claimed an individual bronze and a silver medal at Ponds Forge.

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