In high school swimming, coaches don’t always have an easy blueprint to filling a roster and getting points in meets.
Sometimes new swimmers haven’t developed enough or maybe the depth isn’t there.
That’s where a versatile swimmer like Port Charlotte’s Daisy Marquardt comes in handy. Marquardt was plugged in to many events, often swimming a handful of events in one meet to get maximum points for the Lady Pirates.
It wasn’t always easy, but she toughed it out and put together a career year as a junior.
“She’s always had that team-first mentality, she does whatever we need her to,” Port Charlotte coach JR Whaley said. “I don’t know if she’s even found her perfect event yet, but she does a lot for us to help score points. She’s a selfless swimmer.”
Marquardt was one of four Lady Pirates selected to the all-area team. She was a state finalist in the 100 free (fourth) and as a member of the 200 medley relay, which finished in ninth and set a new school record. She was also school record holder in the 50 free, 100 free, 100 breast and was a member of all three relays.
The 100 freestyle was her best event and helped her roll ascend to become the Sun Girls Swimmer of the Year.
“I always tried to just compete in whatever event and just help the team,” Marquardt said. “I like sprinting so I like that I can go out really fast in that event. It’s not so super long that I get tired. You can leave it all out there.”
Marquardt has been in the pool competitively since she was 8 or 9 years old and has been coached by Whaley throughout her career.
Early on, he had a feeling she could be a difference maker for the program.
“I’ve been able to see her grow the past five or so years,” Whaley said. “What set her apart at an early age was her ability to control her body with a feel for the water. Some kids are just able to feel what they’re doing a little bit better. Even though she was the fastest or the best when she started, she was able to learn that technique.”
Marquardt quickly became a leader once she reached high school, helping bring along new swimmers and regularly giving them one-on-one coaching.
From the early morning practices before school to all the conditioning work after school, it is that bond with her team that keeps her going throughout the grueling season.
One of those teammates was her brother Oscar, a senior who was a finalist for Boys Swimmer of the Year. The two are competitive in and out of the pool, which has always drove Daisy to be the best swimmer she could be.
“We started swimming at the same time and I’ve always tried to keep up with him,” Marquardt said. “We’re good at different things, but we always try to push each other. Our team bond was really strong. We all had big goals as a team, which helped us.”
Her goal throughout the season was to reach the podium at states, which she accomplished, placing fourth in the 100 freestyle. Keeping that goal in mind allowed her to outwork the competition and mentally prepare for her meets.
“I like the competition of swimming and racing,” Marquardt said. “Reaching the podium at states was always in the back of my mind. That forced me to push myself to be better.”