Oakville swimmer qualifies for Rio Olympic Games

Mackenzie Darragh
Oakville swimmer qualifies for Rio Olympic Games

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Elise Morton

Elise Morton

Elise Morton is a graduating journalism print student at Sheridan College. She has a passion for photography, travelling, music and enjoys telling and finding an interesting or new way to tell stories.

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Being on the Canadian Olympic team has been a long time goal for Oakville swimmer Mack Darragh.

A goal that after 11 years of competitive racing, hard work, and dedication and with the qualification of Canada’s men’s 4x100m medley relay, the 22-year-old has proudly accomplished.

“It feels the best,” said Darragh. “I’ve pretty much committed a large portion of my life to making it onto the team and finally achieving that is just amazing. I can’t even find the words for it.”

Darragh began taking swimming lessons when he was seven-years-old because he had asthma. “My mom read that swimming would help with asthma so she got me started with it,” said Darragh.

He started swimming competitively with the Oakville Aquatic Club (OAK) when he was around 10-years-old, because he was prevented from moving up levels due to his young age.

“I was getting really frustrated that they wouldn’t move me up to past a certain level, so me and my mom looked into other ways that I could swim and still move up,” said Darragh. “That’s how we found out about the OAK and competitive swimming and then we just kind of pursued that.”

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Photo provided by Mack Darragh

Although, Darragh will be competing in his first Olympic Games this summer, he has swum for team Canada in multiple international competitions. In 2011, he was a bronze medalist in the 200m butterfly at the FINA Junior World Championships in Peru and he competed at the Pan Pacific Championships in Australia in 2014.

During his senior year at the University of Missouri, he became an All American in the 200-yard butterfly. Which according to Darragh is like coming in the top eight in the NCAA Championship meet in the 2014-2015 season. He graduated from the University of Missouri in 2016 with a degree in marketing.

“A lot of what swimming is, is kind of setting goals and doing what you can to achieve them,” said Darragh. “It’s really satisfying to set high standards for yourself, work to get them and then finally getting them just feels so good.”

“The main reason that swimming is so fun is the friendships you build on the different teams you’re on. All the people you get to meet and the places you get to go are really awesome,” said Darragh.

Darragh will also be competing for team Canada at the World Short Course Championships this December. Once that is finished his main goal is to focus on getting a job and becoming a real person for a little, while he decides if he wants to come back to swimming competitively.

Darragh will be competing in the men’s 4×100 medley relay at the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

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