Bishop Kelley Celebrates Successful Swim Season

GTR Sports Writer

STATE CHAMPIONS: The Bishop Kelley boys celebrate winning the Class 5A state team title.

Before the cancellations, closures and lockdowns took effect as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a few winter sports programs completed their state competitions. Among those was the Bishop Kelley swim program, where the boys won the team championship for the second consecutive year. Individual and relay swimmers also captured gold medals in various races.
The Comets won the Class 5A boys championship on Feb. 22 at the Jenks Aquatic Center with 403 points. Altus was the runner-up with 255. 
Senior SMU signee Jack Callan won the 200 (1:40.74) and 500 (4:37.90) freestyle events for the fourth straight year, making him a four-time state champion. His older brother Patrick, now at Michigan, also was a four-time state champ from 2015-18. 
“It was a special way for us to go out,” Callan said. “We had made that our goal from day one and to be able to accomplish it, was the best feeling in the world.”
Callan was also the fourth leg on the winning 200 (1:28.23) and 400 (3:15.18) freestyle relay units. The time set by the 200 team was a state record for the race.
“Those three guys who came before me, especially at regionals and state, would always give me massive leads because of how talented they are. The pressure was a little off me at the end,” Callan said. “To break those records with them is the best moment of that meet other than getting the trophy, of course. There’s nothing like setting records with your teammates.”
Paul Hunt, another senior, swam alongside Callan as the second leg in the 200 relay. He was in the same role on the 200 (1:40.05) medley relay team, that also won a gold medal. Hunt also took first in the 100 (52.64) butterfly event.
“It was huge for me because I never won anything individually before that. My key to winning was just get in your head that you’re going to win before you even get into the pool,” Hunt said. 

FREESTYLE WINNERS: Claire Beisler, Abbey Mink, Laney Sims and Regan Hoyt celebrate their victory in the 200-meter relay in February.

On the girls’ side, junior Abbey Mink won the 200 (1:56.82) and 500 (5:19.35) freestyle events. She was also the anchor leg of the gold-winning 200 (1:45.83) medley relay squad.
“It was really meaningful, especially the team.” Mink said. “That was the most meaningful race I probably ever had in my career. It was a Bishop Kelley first. The girls have never won a relay at state and it was a Bishop Kelley record too.  
“Before the race, I was feeling a lot of pressure,” Mink said. “I didn’t know if we were going to be able to pull it off. We really hoped so, but we weren’t sure yet. But by the time it got to my leg, my teammates had swum well and made it where I could relax a little bit and not be too pressured. They gave me a good lead.”

SMU Bound
As mentioned earlier, Callan will be swimming in college at SMU.
“The team culture and upward track was unmatched,” he said. “Looking at their conference results over the past few years, how dramatically they are improving really excited me. It was something that I knew I had to be a part of.” 
Callan chose the Mustangs over Michigan, Notre Dame and Florida State. 
“All four were awesome schools, which made for a really tough decision,” he said. 

More girls needed
As many as 25 boys load the Kelley roster. But the girls’ squad is in dire need for more members. Only five swimmers competed for the Lady Comets this year. 
“The fact that we will have only three swimmers next year is a little rough,” Mink said. 
The other two swimmers are seniors who are graduating. 
“Four swimmers make a relay and we are in need of another girl.
Mink is one of the three girls to return next season as a senior and hopes to get the team count up.
“Building up a girls team would be really great. For me to be able to do it (win) again, I need more girls just as passionate about swimming as the ones I have. 
Looking Back
With Callan and Hunt graduating, they have nothing but good memories to reflect on.
“Last year, which was the first time the team has ever won state. The way we finished, how we won and how elated everyone was, that was most memorable,” Hunt said. 
“Thank you to my teammates and coaches for giving me a great four years at BK,” Callan said.

Private School Quick Hits
Victory Christian (Class 4A) girls, Bishop Kelley (5A), Holland Hall (4A) and Rejoice Christian (2A) boys all made the state basketball tournament in March. But none of them could showcase their skills due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event was originally postponed shortly before it was scheduled to start on March 12. Two weeks later, the OSSAA cancelled the tournament permanently. 

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