Swimming: In pool or surf, Daniel Shanahan laps up work

By Peter White

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Swimming pool
Swimming pool

Daniel Shanahan is the kind of athlete coaches just love.

He thrives on hard work, takes on board what he is told and has no idea of what it means to give up.

But the 11-year-old from Otumoetai Intermediate surprised even his closest supporters last week with a double feat of endurance and high performance in two different codes on one frenetic day.

Competing at the school's swimming champs, he rushed through 10 races in just three hours, setting two personal best times and securing podium finishes in eight of the events.

Usually he does four events in that time.

Then it was a quick drive across to the Mount Main Beach, where he got stuck into the testing surf carnival's flag sprint, board race and surf race for his Mount Maunganui club.

To finish he won the Diamond event of a run-swim-run ending with a board race and sprint along the sand to clinch the most improved 11-year-old male award and the coveted Men's Shield for the overall under-11 champion.

"I was getting really tired before the Diamond race but I just worked hard," Daniel said. "My friend Mathew [Wagstaff] was right behind me and I just beat him to the end.

"I love having fun on the board and swim, catching waves, having fun with my friends. It is a really friendly club. They are helpful and nice, and give me lots of good tips."

Daniel trains 10 hours a week in the pool and spends Monday nights and Saturdays on the beach.

No surprise he has so much stamina.

Daniel says his coach at Otumoetai Swimming Club Stefan Swanepoel has been a great help.

"He has been working on my freestyle, backstroke and breaststroke technique. Things like getting my kick wider and my pull wider on breaststroke, and lengthening out my freestyle."

Swanepoel says Daniel just loves sport.

"He is a very hard worker and his success is driven by him.

"He is a very strong freestyler but with his butterfly he has an amazing feel in the water for such a young guy.

"He can swim long distances and will just go and go ... until you tell him to stop."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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