HIGH ACHIEVERS: Stay-Safe Edition
Keeping Local Sport Spirit High During the Pandemic
By Martin Cleary
Like sister, like brother. Like brother, like brother. Following a near identical post-secondary school pathway as sister Rebecca and brother Scott, David Quirie is studying and swimming in the United States.
A former Nepean-Kanata Barracudas swimmer, David Quirie is four months into his freshman year, dealing with online academic chemical engineering courses, new guidelines for swimming and plenty of COVID-19 temperature taking, hand sanitizing and mask wearing.
Heading south of the border to study sciences and swim for the school team wasn’t a given for Quirie. He checked out Canadian universities, but there were certain aspects he didn’t prefer. In the end, Florida State University won out during a recruiting visit. It felt like home.
“It wasn’t necessarily expected. My decision was based off what was the best decision athletically and academically,” Quirie, 18, said in a Zoom interview. “There was not so much pressure (from his siblings), but motivation.
“There was less of a competition between the siblings. We support each other in what we do. Their past achievements pushed me to relate to them on a certain level. If they could do it, why couldn’t I do it?”
Rebecca Quirie attended the University of Massachusetts from 2012-16, where she studied biology, was a backstroke specialist and a member of the school’s Student-Athlete Advisory Council.
From 2014-18, Scott Quirie studied chemical engineering at New Jersey Institute of Technology, was the Coastal Collegiate Sports Association men’s scholar of the year for 2017-18 and was twice CCSA swimmer of the week in his senior year.
David Quirie is just beginning his university journey and feels he’s moving ahead. In dual meets against Georgia Tech and Texas Christian University, Quirie and freshman teammate Zach Smith, had a 1st and 2nd each in the 1,000-yard races.
At the Georgia invite meet, Quirie was fourth in the 1,650-yard (swim mile) with an NCAA 27th-best time of 15:16.82 this season. He also helped the Seminoles finish third in the 800-yard freestyle relay.
“I’ve thrived a lot under these new conditions,” added Quirie, who’s able to have more recovery time after swim practices because he’s not walking from class to class, which are all being presented online.
“I feel I have definitely improved. The coaching staff is excellent and pushing the boundaries of me and everyone. The team atmosphere also is very encouraging and uplifting.
“Both dual meets made me and the other distance swimmers in the group feel good. It was a confidence boost before the mid-season invite meets.”
That’s also a real positive given the restrictions and concerns of COVID-19. Quirie is part of a 70-swimmer team bubble, which travels back and forth from dormitory rooms for classes to the pool for swimming. Swimmers constantly have their temperatures checked, use hand sanitizer and wear masks right to the pool’s edge.
“We’ve stayed to ourselves, but are under guidelines of 2 to 3 per lane (for practice),” he said. “This has made the team bond a lot better. We’re all in this together. In the environment I live, I feel safe. We all room with swimmers.”
According to Florida State University health services, there have been 41,979 tests as of Dec. 13, with 1,833 positives (1,775 students and 58 employees) for a 4.36% positivity rate. The presence of COVID-19 has affected Quirie’s freshman objectives.
“It’s difficult to say (about specific goals) because with COVID and everything changing I’ve adopted the mindset that every practice could be my last one and everything could change in the next day,” Quirie continued.
“I don’t necessarily have a goal for the NCAAs (championships). It would be nice to do, but that could all change at the drop of a hat. My goal is to improve every day. There’s always something to improve on.
“I put my trust in the coaches to make sure that my practices take care of my long-term development. If public health issues allow for end-of-season meets, I control my progression technically, my attitude, sleep schedule and nutrition.”
Martin Cleary has written about amateur sports for over 47 years. A past Canadian sportswriter of the year and Ottawa Sports Awards Lifetime Achievement in Sport Media honouree, Martin retired from full-time work at the Ottawa Citizen in 2012, but continued to write a bi-weekly “High Achievers” column for the Citizen/Sun.
When the pandemic struck, Martin created the “Stay-Safe Edition” to provide some positive news during tough times, via his Twitter account at first and now here at OttawaSportsPages.ca.
Martin can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @martincleary.