Owen Daly's hope for a multiple-medal showing at the 2013 Canada Summer Games is beginning to sink in the deep end at the Centre Sportif pool on the University of Sherbrooke campus.
Daly, who won a silver medal in the 50 metre butterfly Tuesday night, came up just short in the 100m fly final Wednesday, missing out on bronze by .34ths of a second.
A pair of Ontario swimmers, Evan White and Edward Ao Liu, the gold medalist in the 50 fly, finished one-two, while Mohamed Eldah of Nova Scotia was third.
Daly finished in a time of 55.66 seconds, which wasn't his fastest clocking, but close to it. His best 50m fly time was a 55.36.
Coach Brad Hutton said the second half of the Daly's race was very strong, but the problem was the start, which ultimately cost the 17-year-old St. John's swimmer a medal.
"He just didn't have his speed," said Hutton, left to answer questions as Daly prepared for a relay.
"He has been off, a little sick, and is taking medication. He hasn't been feeling great and I think that affected his front-end speed.
"As he went, he swam the race well, but he just didn't have that zip at the start he needed to really get out there."
In warm-ups, Hutton said, Daly was .5 of a second faster in the first 25 metres than he showed in the final, when it mattered.
"He was just a little bit flat tonight."
Near misses have been the story of Daly's season. While he has enjoyed success, with the Canada Games silver and perhaps more notable a bronze medal at the senior nationals, a first for a Newfoundland swimmer in 20 years, Daly has endured more than his share of close calls.
And they start at senior nationals in Montreal, where he just missed out on a spot on the national junior team which will compete in the world youth championship in Dubai.
Like his father, Chris, who just missed out on a berth on Canada's team for the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics - he finished fifth at nationals, and the top four were selected to the Olympic team - Owen Daly missed by one spot in each of the 100m butterfly and 100m freestyle races.
"His FINA (the international governing body for swimming) points were just a little behind, so he missed the team by two spots," said Hutton, Daly's club coach at the St. John's Legends.
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"He was right in the running for that right through the meet."
Hutton said Daly has proven he can race with the top swimmers in the country in his age group. Now, said the coach, it's a matter of increased training and competition.
"He needs to fine tune his racing a bit," he said.
Today, Daly races in the 50m backstroke, 50m free and 200m individual medley. While he'll probably set provincial records in each race, and maybe make A finals in all three, his best bet for a medal rests with the 50 free.
Meantime, there was another Newfoundland swimmer in an A final Tuesday, as David Haines finished eighth of eight entrants in the 200m backstroke.
Haines swam 2:13.67, while the winner, Joe Byram of Alberta, clocked 2:02.07.
"I think I went out a little bit too hard," said Haines, an 18-year-old Memorial University varsity swimmer from C.B.S. "I didn't really have it coming home.
"I guess the pressure just got to me. I was too excited on the first lap. If I had my time back, I would have paced it a little better."
There were several Newfoundland swimmers in B finals.
The results were:
200m freestyle, Gavin Dyke, 2nd
200m freestyle, Sam Leawood, 7th
200m freestyle, Becca Dyer, 4th
200m freestyle, Victoria MacKay, 6th
100m backstroke, Darci Tucker, 8th
100m butterfly, Leo Froude, 8th
200m backstroke, Carolina Hickman, 7th
4x50 female medley relay, 8th
4x50 male medley relay, 9th