Carty represents AquaHawks at Canada Games


Rob Johnson/The Daily Iowan
Hawkeye sophomore Danielle Carty prepares to start during swim practice in the Field House on Tuesday. Last summer, she competed in the Canada Games, where she won two gold metals.
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Danielle Carty had no time to take a break from swimming at the end of her freshman season.

After a successful first year at Iowa that included swimming the lead leg of the school-record setting 200 medley relay and posting the second-best 100 backstroke time in school history, the Ontario native decided to go for the gold.

“Last year, she was just very focused to compete to her top level at every meet,” said assistant swimming coach Kirk Hampleman. “At some point, she was like, ‘I really want to go back to Canada Nationals and see if I can make one of the teams.’ ”

Carty, a sophomore cocaptain for the AquaHawks, competed in the Canada Games at Prince Edward Island in August.

The Canada Games have been held since 1967, and they are similar to the Olympics — switching between summer and winter games every two years. The summer games consist of 18 different sports with athletes and teams representing each province andterritory in Canada.

“I had never competed at a meet like the Canada Games before. It was just like the Olympics,” Carty said. “It was a good experience to get in that environment and support our team.”

She represented her home province and was named the captain of the swim team.

“[Being named team captain] really meant a lot to me,” she said. “We wanted to make a good impression on the spectators, knowing that we were there to win.”

Carty didn’t disappoint her teammates and fans — she put on a record-breaking performance for Team Ontario.

Her 200 medley relay team finished first with a time of 1:50.18, which broke the Senior Canadian National relay record.

The mark was originally set at the 2009 spring nationals by a group that included Olympic swimmers.

In individual events, she took first in the 50-meter backstroke and third in the 100-meter backstroke.

“We were really proud,” Hampleman said. “She was able to get that national experience and compete against the best swimmers in Canada. It was the perfect step for her to take.”

Just like the Olympics, the winners received medals that, Carty said, were the nicest medals she’s ever received.

Her victories helped springboard Team Ontario to a first-place finish in the meet and an overall victory in the entire Canada Games.

When it came time for the closing ceremonies, Carty was one of six athletes selected from Team Ontario to receive the Ontario flag and take a lap around the track. The event was televised live on TSN, the Canadian version of ESPN.

“It was just amazing to be there, just living in the moment,” she said. “It was crazy to think that we’d done two years of preparation, and it was over. But it was an amazing experience.”

The extra work put in this summer has paid off so far for Carty and the AquaHawks. Competing in the Canada Games allowed her to be more prepared because she came into fall practice already in shape.

She helped lead the squad to a season opening victory over Truman State — finishing first in both the 100 backstroke and the 200 medley relay, in addition to taking second in the 100 freestyle.

“She’s been such a great addition, and she had such a great summer,” Iowa head swimming coach Marc Long said. “I think it’s everybody’s dream as an athlete to represent your country, so for her to have that opportunity is pretty special.”

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