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The Early Years: Image

The Early Years

Daniel and his identical twin brother Nathan started swimming at 3-months old in the local Water Babies sessions, and could often be seen escaping from the changing rooms and crawling towards the water.
They began formal swimming lessons with Cignets Learn to Swim in Lisburn Leisureplex.
Inspiration for competitive swimming came from their big brother Ben who starting swimming at the Grammar Schools gala, after medalling in the final he was asked to join Lurgan Amateur Swimming Club ultimately specialising in the 1500m freestyle and 400 IM.
At 6 years old Daniel and Nathan passed the trial and joined Lurgan Swimming Club where they competed in the Aquasprints league, Armagh Championships (which Daniel won) and multiple Swim Ulster galas.
At 10-years-old both boys moved to Lisburn City Swimming Club where they progressed though coaches such as Stan Sheppard, Richard Gheel and Martin J McGann.  It was while they were both swimming with Stan, they qualified and joined the Ulster Squad.  As they both progressed Nathan tended to specialise in backstroke whereas Daniel preferred freestyle, both would compete against each other in fly - neither liked breaststroke!
Their first 1500m freestyle was fondly remembered by many officials. during a Swim Ulster qualifying meet; both lined up on the block, they both wobbled, Daniel fell in and was closely followed by Nathan.  Unfortunately, Daniel had to be disqualified leaving Nathan to claim the first 1500m freestyle victory.  Something that has never happened since!  Stan fondly said that Daniel was the only swimmer who he coached in his own lane!

The Early Years: Text

By 13 years old, Daniel had qualified for the Irish squad on the 400m freestyle and was moved into the National Squad in Lisburn City Swimming Club coached by  Richard Gheel (Commonwealth Games for NI (1986, 1990 and 1994) and Ireland at the 1988 Seoul Olympic Games. He also held the 200m and 100m backstroke record for Northern Ireland for 30 years.)
Richard moved on and Martin J McGann was employed as the Head Coach.  Under Martin's tutelage and through hard work and determination Daniel began to climb through the rankings in distance swimming ultimately beating the multiple Irish Record holder Andrew Meegan in 2018.  Over the next few years Daniel went on to claim the Irish Junior and Senior records in the 1500m and 800m freestyle events.
Daniel has represented Ireland on a number of occasions most notably in Mare Nostrum 2018, Luxembourg (2018), European Junior Championships Kazan (2019) and World Junior Championships, Budapest (2019) and Geneva Open Meet (2020)
Daniel's first senior meet was the European Short Course in Glasgow 2019, where he set a new Irish record for the 1500m freestyle.
December 2019 was a very unsettling time for Daniel and Nathan as they learnt that Lisburn City Swimming Club was in financial difficulties and could no longer afford the Head Coach Martin J McGann.
Fortunately Swim Ireland were able to help and Daniel and Nathan transferred to the National Performance Centre in Dublin, Daniel and Nathan then had to manage school part time to complete their A' Levels in Armagh.

The Early Years: Text
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