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Young pool Shark

Kyle

Daugherty might be a Tiger Shark, but he's not a fish out of water.

The young swimmer moves as naturally and freely in a tank of water as he does on dry land.

And, he's obviously happy in both environments.

"I like swimming a lot," he said. "It's fun, but sometimes it's hard. When I'm doing the butterfly stroke it gets real hard. I can't get my arms out of the water very good. There's too much pressure on them."

The water might put pressure on the Kyle, but that's the only thing.

For him, swimming's just fun. He feels no pressure to win a meet.

"I just swim as fast as I can," he said, as if that's all there is to being a champion swimmer.

Kyle swims three strokes in competition – the breast stroke, the back stroke and free-style.

"I like them all but I like free style the most," he said.

At the state meet last year, he placed in the top 10 in all three categories.

"I guess that was good," he said from behind his green goggles and with a slight smile crossing his face.

The 8-year-old is ranked number one swimmer in the district and will represent the Tiger Sharks at the state swim meet in Scottsboro the last Friday and Saturday of July.

Tiger Shark Coach Bill Gauspohl said Kyle is one of the hardest working 8-year-olds he has ever coached.

"Kyle wants to win and he will win," Gauspohl said. "I expect big things from him as he moves up."

Kyle has been swimming for three years and he said the sport is in his future. But, he's also found of stickball.

"I like baseball a lot," he said. "A real lot."

Which he likes better, swimming or baseball, would be a toss up.

"Probably baseball," he said, with a smile, "but it would be real close."

But, today, when he competes in the region championship meet at the TSU Natatorium, baseball won't even cross his mind.

"Yeah," he said. "I want to win."

And, if his coach is right about the talented young swimmer, he will.