by Nicole Brodzik
The Mound Westonka Holy Family (MWHF) girls swim and dive team looks different this year. The team swapped out it’s 2016 senior class for fresh faces of their newest class of teammates, but something else–someone else– was missing too.
It was the first time in three seasons the team would swim under the guidance of a coach not named Tim Daly. Daly passed away last December after a three-year battle with cancer and his presence was missed, but not forgotten at Saturday’s opening invitational at the Mound Westonka High School pool.
Daly’s family was in attendance for the meet, which had been renamed the Tim Daly Memorial Invite in the former coach’s honor. The MWHF swimmers presented boutonnieres to Daly’s parents mother, father, siblings and other family members in the rafters before the meet began. Mound Westonka Athletic Director. Jeff Peterson presented Daly’s parents with a plaque that will hang near the pool in their late son’s honor as well.
“The idea that they’re going to do this every year, for me, gives the kids something to strive for,” Daly’s sister Cindy Daly-Kelsey said. “They can show Tim they’re still doing that and I know the new coach has coached with Tim so that legacy lives on.”
The Orono swim team also had a part in the invitation’s opening ceremony, presenting a check for the Tim Daly Memorial Fund. Orono’s head coach Peter Buecher and Daly were old teammates and friends, which prompted his team’s participation in the festivities.
Daly continued to be a part of the MWHF team through the 2016 season. He was an integral part of the MWHF swim family, and his sister was able to see it first hand.
“I got to meet a lot of them because I took pictures during their meets and I got to see that interaction,” Daly-Kelsey said. “They were great when he was sick, they were great through the whole thing. You can tell he had a relationship with each one of those kids and to see that relationship still alive in all of them, it’s an honor.”
She also said that one of her brother’s most cherished memories happened as coach of that program when he had the chance to bring Holy Family’s students into the fold and coach his daughter, Hannah.
“When (Holy Family) lost a coach, it was right at the time that he was diagnosed too, but he took it on and he got to coach Hannah,” Daly-Kelsey said. “I think being able to coach Hannah was probably a real joy for him.”
But it wasn’t just about his kid, according to Daly-Kelsey, in a way all of the MWHF swimmers became his children out on the pool deck.
“He had a relationship with every single one of those kids,” she said. “They had nicknames. They loved Tim. He treated them like a dad would. To watch him do it, and to see him do it was a real gift to me.”
She said that her family will keep a close eye on the program going forward and that she hopes the girls knew how proud their old coach was of them.
“I’d just like to see these kids continue to work hard, have confidence in themselves and as Tim would say, to ‘Get ‘er done,’” Daly-Kelsey said.