Busy nine-year-old earns national rankings

Nine-year-old Donovan Taylor of Fort Frances just finished a stellar swimming season, earning national rankings in several events.
Taylor is ranked fourth in Canada in the boys’ nine and under 50m backstroke and seventh in the 100m backstroke in a long-course pool.
It’s no wonder backstroke is his favourite, though he thinks his best could be either back or freestyle.
In free, Taylor is ranked 17th nationally in the 50m and 20th in the 100 m, though provincially he is 10th and 13th, respectively.
“We’re extremely proud of the way he swam this year,” said his mom, Dawnn. “Only being nine . . . it’s phenomenal. It’s looking exciting for years to come.
“I’ll probably spend most of my time in pools, losing my voice.”
Taylor also participates in soccer, karate, and is nationally-ranked in horseback riding—a sport he won U.S. nationals in at age six.
He spent last weekend roping cattle.
Still, Taylor likes being in the water. He can’t remember when he started swimming. “I stuck with it mostly because it was a fun thing to do during my off time,” he reasoned.
It was important to his mother that he be comfortable around water since they live on an island for part of the year.
One of his favourite parts about taking part in all these different activities, besides keeping himself busy, is the travel.
“You don’t get tired of travelling,” said Dawnn Taylor, who takes her son with her when she travels to judge horse shows, adding he scouts out the best food kiosks.
“Even if you’re going to the same places because you get to see new stuff.”
Mom also is quick to note her son also manages straight A’s in his Grade 4 class at St. Francis School, though he said he isn’t too fond of social studies.
“He’s worked very hard,” she said. “He’s a pretty cool kid.”
In the final meet of the season for the local Cyclone swim club, Taylor earned three medals—a bronze in the 50m backstroke, a silver in the 100m backstroke, and a gold in the 100m breaststroke.
Taylor’s Cyclone teammate Connor Crook, 11, also received his first provincial rankings this season after attending the Thunder Bay Thunderbolts International Invitational meet last month.
In his first time swimming a 50m pool (long course), Crook garnered a 41st and 34th place ranking in the province for the 100m and 200m breaststroke, respectively.
Crook said he’s now getting used to swimming competitively and that he’s looking forward to keep on swimming with the Cyclone next season, which starts in September.
Cyclone coach Debbie Murray said she wouldn’t be surprised if Crook went on to compete in the 400m breaststroke next season.
Crook said his best stroke is the breaststroke, but his favourite is the butterfly.