Colleen Callahan stakes claim as best local swimmer - ever

Colleen Callahan will attend and swim for the University of Tennessee.

Atlantic City High School senior Colleen Callahan will be remembered as maybe the best scholastic swimmer in local history. She won eight individual state titles and one relay championship in her four years as a Viking.

This winter, she defended her state titles in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100 breaststroke for the fourth straight year. She broke her own state record in the 200 medley in 2 minutes, 00.72 seconds.

The Ventnor resident won the 100 breaststroke in 1:01.78, missing the record she set in 2012 (1:01.29) by 0.49 seconds.

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Callahan will attend Tennessee on a swimming scholarship. In a telephone interview last Monday, she talked about her Atlantic City career.

On her time at Atlantic City High School:

People say the four years of high school are the fastest years of your life. When you're in the eighth grade you're like, 'Yea, whatever.' But it really is. When I look back on it, some of my best experiences happened with the swim team and the coaches on the swim team.

On being the best local swimmer ever:

I don't swim to be the best person in Atlantic City or the best person in the area. I swim because I love to swim, because I love competing. I love my team. I love my coaches. When my results turn out (well), it just shows how all the hard work has paid off. I'm definitely so happy and thrilled with all the things I've done the past four years. I'm excited to see how much better I can get in college.

On the school dealing with the effects of Hurricane Sandy:

I think everybody came together. Our grade and our class is a great senior class. I told my friends the other day, 'I'm so glad we go to Atlantic City High School.'

On her most memorable swimming moment:

I'll always go back to when we won the 200-yard medley relay (at the Meet of Champions) my junior year. (The Vikings foursome of Ayana Cox, Callahan, Dominique Voso and Melissa Toy won. It was Atlantic City's first state relay title.) We were seeded fifth or sixth going into the finals. Everyone showed up with their game faces on. It was so awesome. It was surreal. I see how hard Ayana, Dominique and Melissa work, and it was so cool to win that event with them.

On attending Tennessee:

I leave Aug. 16. I'm very excited. I'm going to miss my friends and family, but I'm so excited for Tennessee. The team was so welcoming during my visit (last summer). I felt like I was already on the team. The coaches have a lot to offer. The swimmers they get consistently get faster.

On where she sees herself in five years:

I want to be a nurse, so hopefully I'll be one or still in school to become one. I have to see where swimming takes me. I haven't set any goals. I'm just excited to get to (Tennessee).

On Dayshawn Reynolds:

We've had at least one class together almost every year of high school. I'm so happy to see how successful he's been. I think he's going to enjoy himself in college and really do well athletically and academically. He's motivated and determined and when athletes are motivated and determined to do something, they do everything they can to make it happen.

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