Carty first in the pool

BY SEAN MORGAN | JULY 29, 2009 7:15 AM

Iowa swimmer Danielle Carty is used to breaking records.

She had about the best freshman outing a collegiate athlete could hope for, entering the record books in the 200- and 400-meter medley and placing second all-time in the 100-meter backstroke.

But the sophomore hasn’t always been full of confidence upon entering the pool.

When she was 13, swimming in her first big competition, she saw an opponent in her heat, and it did not fill her with a sense of bravado.

“I was going against Erin Gammel, the Canadian record holder for the 100-meter backstroke,” she said. “She was 26 years old.”

Now, the Caledonia, Ontario, Canada, native has earned her own accomplishments to intimidate her opponents, placing fourth and 11th in the 50- and 100-meter backstroke at the 2009 Essais Mondiaux ROME World Championships Trials in Montréal.

She is now ranked 46th in the world in the 50-meter backstroke.

“It was really surprising,” Carty said. “I was checking the rankings on the computer, and I saw them. To be ranked in the top 50 in the world, it felt good to see all that hard work pay off.”

After finishing third in the 50-meter backstroke at the 2009 Spring Games, Carty was given the opportunity to represent her home province of Ontario in the 2009 Canadian Games. The competition will pit each province against each other in an Olympic-style event to be held on Prince Edward Island from Aug. 15 through 29.

Assistant Iowa swim coach Nathan Mundt says he and his staff have always been supportive of their international athletes competing in their home countries.

“We’ve had swimmers from places like New Zealand and South Africa,” said Mundt, now in his second season at Iowa. “We’ve always been flexible and wanted them to represent their home countries.”

Carty says she has benefited most from her competition in the States, though, citing Big Ten competition as giving her the confidence to perform her best in the pool.

“I’m working on getting stronger, I had never used weight training until coming to Iowa,” she said. “The level of competition and the prominence of Big Ten swimming has given me the confidence that was missing.”

Mundt and the rest of the Iowa coaching staff see big things ahead for Carty, who they named a team captain for the upcoming season.

“She’s an all-around competitor,” Mundt said. “She wants to race you every time she’s in the pool. She’s a very strong sprinter.”

Carty doesn’t take her new role as team leader lightly.

“I told my coaches it was an honor just to have my name on the ballot,” she said. “It’s our last year in the Field House, so we want to defend our home pool.”

The team will move to the new facility on Burlington Street after next season.

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