By Matt Crawford
Fiona Buck, an 18-year-old special needs student at Davis High, has showed off her pool skills in town while working with UCD Aquatics, the Davis AquaMonsters, the Blue Devil swim team and Team Davis, a local Special Olympics squad.
Now, she is a national champion.
Late last month, Buck took her talents to a bigger stage, the Paralympic Swimming National Championships in Miami. Put on by the United States Olympic Committee, the event is an open, meaning that the best paralympic athletes from all over the world can enter the meet.
Buck represented UCD Aquatics, and did so with tremendous success.
The Davis speedster shot out of the gates, dropping more than five seconds in the 200-meter backstroke — her best event — to post a 3:16.14. The time was good for first place in Buck’s classification of S-14, making her the national champ.
Later that day, Buck took two seconds off of her 100 breaststroke time in the prelims, then two more in the finals to finish with a fourth-place time of 1:53.97.
On Day 2, Buck was back in the water, this time knocking a whopping 15 seconds off of her 200 individual medley time and three ticks from her personal best in the 100 back. She finished fourth in both events.
Buck’s greatest challenge came on the third and final day of the meet as she had a very full docket, swimming three events in one session.
It all started with the 200 freestyle prelim, where she dropped six seconds off of her entry time, before loosening and refueling for the 50 back. Despite it being her shortest event of the meet, Buck found a way to cut two seconds off of her previous best finish.
Buck then swam the 100 butterfly off of a very short turnaround, failing to register a best time for the first time all meet.
Then came the 200 free finals, where she dropped three seconds to finish in fourth, and the 50 back, where she took second place.
Buck capped the meet with a third-place finish in the 100 fly, coming back to Davis with a smile to match the sparkle off of her armful of medals.