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Danial Murphy

Sackville, Nova Scotia
Para Swimming
Ranked 11th in the world at Para Swimming at age

Like a fish to water: The Danial Murphy story

In 1989, like most babies, Danial Murphy arrived screaming into the world. However, it was the restless weeks to follow that led the Murphys to worry something wasn’t right.

Danial screamed relentlessly. His screams were not those of a hungry baby; they were woeful and at times gut-wrenching.  At six-months old, Danial was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy. Danial’s family was devastated to learn their son may never walk, sit upright or learn to speak. However, after defying his condition at every turn, at 21, Danial Murphy ranked 11th in the world in para swimming.  

“Swimming has not been easy but with coaching support, I have been able to adapt all the competitive strokes used by able-bodied athletes,” says Danial.  Para swimming has taken Danial all over North America and most recently, to the 2016 Rio Paralympics.  He’s also competed at the:

  • 2015 Parapan American Games.
  • 2014 Pan Pacific Para-Swimming.
  • 2013 IPC Worlds.

Danial’s family has supported his athletic journey since day one, but it hasn’t always been easy.

“Non-swimmers do not realize the costs involved in competitive swimming,” says Danial.  

Pool time, professional coaching and frequent travel are some of the biggest expenses. In addition, para swimmers often require an attendant to help with their physical needs during travel, doubling traveling costs.

“By the time I reached age 16, I was traveling regularly throughout North America for competition. Annual costs were in excess of $15,000 and growing,” says Danial.  The Murphy family was able to offset some of their costs because of the funding they received from the Support4Sport program.  

“Being able to access funding through Support4Sport has allowed me to make commitments to training and competition opportunities which will ultimately help me stay at the world level. Without the Support4Sport funding it may not be possible,” says Danial.  

Even in the midst of athletic success, Danial’s personal triumphs don’t end by the poolside. Danial founded the “ICAN” Association, a not-for-profit supporting physically disabled people with athletic, recreational, education and employment endeavors.  

Danial’s story is truly a testament to the strength of the human spirit. Although in 1989, doctors said he would be lucky to walk, today Danial is proving that with perseverance and faith, luck has little to do with it.

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