Globe South Sports Notebook

O’Neil makes the cut for Olympic trials

Colleen O’Neil will have a shot at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Colleen O’Neil will have a shot at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
By Marvin Pave
August 18, 2011

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She’s on her way to Olympic Trials Teen swimmer Colleen O’Neil of Abington qualified for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 200-meter individual medley at the recent New England Championships at Harvard University, breaking an age-group record in the process.

Her time of 2:19.42 was just under the Olympic standard of 2:19.49.

The first member of the Weymouth Waves Swim Club to qualify for the Olympic Trials, the 16-year-old O’Neil also bettered the New England 18-and-under record of 2:20.02, set by Olympian Elizabeth Beisel in 2008.

“I was really surprised when I saw my final time,’’ said O’Neil, a junior this fall at Abington High, which does not field a varsity swim program.

“I wasn’t expecting to take so much time off [5 seconds] my previous best. I was just hoping to make the cut for junior nationals.’’

Earlier this month, O’Neil competed in the 100-meter breaststroke and 200-meter IM at the Junior Nationals in Palo Alto, Calif. She was 50th in the 200 IM.

“It was a tough turnaround for her in a new environment, and she did really well under the circumstances,’’ said Waves head coach Marshall Goldman.

“It was a good experience to get a feel for that kind of competition,’’ added O’Neil. “It’s made me set new goals for myself.’’

At the New Englands, Goldman said O’Neil executed her 200 IM race perfectly.

“Our goal was just to qualify for the Junior Nationals and now she’s qualified for the Olympic Trials,’’ said Goldman. “She went from a sectional age group qualifier to an Olympic qualifier in one race, and that changed her outlook and my outlook for her as a coach.’’

Goldman became the Waves head coach in May 2010 and has seen O’Neil shave 14 seconds off her 200 IM time.

“It’s a tremendous improvement,’’ said Goldman, “and testament to her incredible hard work.’’

In the first leg of the 200 IM, O’Neil swam the 50-meter butterfly in 30.3. She followed that with a 35.1 in the 50-meter backstroke. At that point, she was fifth in the race. Next was the 50-meter breaststroke, one of her strongest legs, and O’Neil moved up from fifth to a tie for first as she covered the distance in 40.2. The final 50 meters, the freestyle, was done in 33.7, which placed her third in the event behind two collegiate swimmers.

“I was a bit nervous at first, but then I felt really good the entire race,’’ said O’Neil.

The Olympic Trials are scheduled for June 25-July 2 in Omaha. The 2012 Olympics will be held in London.

“We are very excited that Colleen will have a full year to prepare,’’ said Goldman. “She will compete on the short course [25-yard pool] season through November, and then the long course [50 meters] from December through next August. Rather than compete in regional meets, she’ll focus on Grand Prix national-level meets.’’

Jack Daly recalled Jack Daly of Hull, a former president of the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston, died last week at age 92. An All-New England center on the gridiron, he had a special affinity for his days as a two-way lineman and football captain at Williams College.

“My dad was injured going into the traditional Williams-Amherst game, but was called on in the final minute to help the goal-line stand defense,’’ said Daly’s son, John III of Hingham. “Williams won and dad saved the game film, which he would watch proudly.’’

Former Williams coach Dick Farley said Daly, who gained fame as an after-dinner speaker featuring Down East Maine humor, came back to Williamstown for football banquets and was popular with the Williams players.

“He had a great loyalty to Williams and he was just hilarious as a speaker,’’ said Farley. “We’re going to miss him.’’

Daly was a member of the athletic halls of fame at Boston English High and Williams and later a longtime college football official.

Pitching coach hired Bridgewater State University has turned to one of its own, Josh White, as pitching coach for next season. The BSU graduate appeared in 42 games during his college career and made 28 starts, going 19-9 with 10 complete games, three saves, and a 4.21 earned run average. He stuck out 203 batters in 192.1 innings of work.

The Brockton native is one of only two pitchers in program history with more than 200 career strikeouts. He was a two-time Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference selection, including first-team honors in 2004. White, who lives in East Bridgewater, was pitching coach at Curry College in Milton the past two seasons.

Sharkey off to Brown Norwood’s Joe Sharkey, a 6-foot-2 guard who captained the Northfield Mount Hermon School basketball team last season and was MVP of the National Prep Invitational, is headed to Brown University. He averaged 15 points, 6 assists, and 6 rebounds per game.

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