BURNABY, British Columbia, February 16. THE Simon Fraser University Clan swimming program announced today the commitment of Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School's Ciaran McDonnell (Port Coquitlam, B.C.) to the team for the 2010-11 season. This is the first recruit announced by SFU swimming head coach Liam Donnelly as the Clan made the move to the NCAA next season.
"He is a very hard working young man with very strong potential," said Donnelly of McDonnell. "Through Simon Fraser Aquatics I have been monitoring his development, and I believe that Ciaran has an opportunity to be a top contender at the National level."
A member of the 2009 BC Provincial Team, McDonnell won silver and bronze medals at the Western Canadian Championships in Edmonton in 2009. Qualifying for age group nationals in 2008, McDonnell won bronze in both the 100m and 200m butterfly, and finished in fourth in the 50m butterfly.
"Coming to a school in Canada that will be competing in the NCAA was a big factor, there were other NCAA schools recruiting me, but being able to stay in Canada and study Kinesiology at SFU was important," said McDonnell of the decision. "My goal as a swimmer is to reach the podium at Canadian Nationals, and to make the National team."
McDonnell has been around SFU swimming since a very young age, and has been competing for the Simon Fraser Aquatics program under coach Dmitriy Kononenko. Citing the 200m butterfly as his premier event, McDonnell has posted personal bests of 2:05 (25m pool) in the short course and 2:07 in the long course (50m pool) in the 200m fly. McDonnell is currently ranked in the top-25 in the Canadian Senior/Open rankings in the 200m butterfly and finished 18th at the World Championship trials in Montreal.
"[Donnelly] told me flat out what his opinion was of me as a swimmer, what he thought I could accomplish at SFU, and explained where [SFU] was heading," added McDonnell. "The decision wasn't an easy one, but in consulting with my family, coaches and friends, it made it that much easier."
McDonnell also cited the influence of his friend and SFU men's soccer recruit Carlo Basso in making his decision. McDonnell's uncles' Emonn Ward and Wayne Shawalso both played for the Simon Fraser men's soccer program in the mid-80s.
"I've gotten to know the current team over the past couple of years while swimming for [Kononenko], and they are a great group of people," explained McDonnell. "It allowed me to really get to know the program, what I am getting into, and what the expectations will be when I join the team."
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