Feb. 25, 2016
By Jake Maier ’17
Freshman Daniel Speers stands a legitimate chance at breaking the school record in the 50 free. He’s also won a gold medal competing internationally with Great Britain’s National Team.
Word on the street is that you are the team diva?
“Being a drop dead sprinter, I need a little more care than the other boys. Some more TLC.”
What was it like to swim for the British National Team?
“It was the best experience of my life to swim with three of my best friends on a relay. We were underdogs in the relay and before the race my coach told us the splits we would need to possibly win a medal. We gave it everything we had and somehow, we out-touched the Italians and the Russians to take first. Standing on the podium while our national anthem played was very surreal. The Junior World Championship was unlike any event I’ve ever been a part of. We would get police escorts to the pool every morning and we lived in a place like an Olympic village, with many international champions.”
What is one of your most embarrassing moments?
“To preface this, there was a swimmer named James Guy on my club team who was a world champion. Each athlete had a bio that they needed to complete for the media and I had my mom fill mine out. One question was who is your hero. She wrote, “my hero is James Guy, and now he is my friend.” The whole British National Team laughed at me for about 10 minutes straight.”
Why did you choose Notre Dame?
“Notre Dame was put on the map for me because of the movie Rudy. We have a dog named Rudy back home in England. When I visited Notre Dame for the first time, I saw a lot of buildings that I recognized from the film. In addition, all the guys on the team were great, which made me feel like I belonged at Notre Dame.”
What is the biggest difference between Great Britain and the United States?
“People are very outgoing here, they love to give their opinion on everything. People in Great Britain are very reserved and like to keep to themselves. College sports are also not very big in Europe, the college sports atmosphere here is awesome and is definitely a big draw to the US.”
The transition from high school to college is difficult enough, was there any added difficulty with adjusting to a new country as well?
“I went to boarding school for two years before I came here, which is like a mini college itself. The United States isn’t terribly different, what is hard is being so far away from my family. We Skype at weird times of the day because of the time difference. Overall, it has been a great experience.”
What sport would you play if you didn’t swim?
“If I wasn’t a swimmer, I would golf. I would love to go out and see all the nicest courses in the country, enjoy the nice weather, and hang out with my friends. It sounds like the life.”
What made you start swimming?
“My older brother was a great futbol player. He was a great athlete and I wanted to be like him, so I played tennis, futbol, and rugby. I was never very good at any sports until I found swimming. My brother took great pride in beating me at everything. Whenever we played any sports we played things that he would win at. But I started beating him at swimming and it became my thing. My brother ended up quitting the swim team.”
Who is your goofiest teammate?
“Matt Grausyls. I’ve never seen anyone with as much confidence in the pool, but when he does other things he is on another cloud. Ben Gorski is also goofy, he can talk about bigfoot for hours on end. He had a meeting with an anthropology professor to discuss the plausibility of Bigfoot evidence. The professor said none of the evidence was reliable, but Gorski still believes we will find Bigfoot by 2020.”
If you could change one rule in swimming, what would it be?
“I would change the rules so you start from a push. I always come up behind from a dive.”
Do you have any superstitions?
“I only get on the block from the left side. That’s the only thing I do.”
What is your favorite board game?
“Risk, it’s the perfect game of strategy, it also get very intense. I used to play with my family all the time and it would get pretty heated, like who would attack who, and who was forming alliances. I try to avoid it now.”
If you were an animal, what animal would you be?
“I’d probably be a stick insect, or a giraffe, I’m long and awkward; I’m especially awkward on land.”
What is your favorite TV show?
“Suits, I think it would be so cool to be a lawyer in the city. My favorite movie is Shawshank Redemption, it’s a classic.”