swim Meet of Champions
Colleen Callahan , Atlantic City High School swims the butterfly during the 200 yard IM at the Girls individual swimming championships held at the Gloucester County Instiitute of Tech in Deptford Township. Sunday March 06, 2011.(The Press of Atlantic City/Anthony Smedile) Anthony Smedile

Atlantic City High School sophomore Colleen Callahan was unaware that the same times she set as her goal in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke at the Meet of Champions were records.

The 15-year old from Ventnor Heights won both events last year to become the first female Viking to win at the MOC since 2005 graduate Moira McCloskey won the 100 backstroke her junior and senior years.

Callahan was victorious again. She finished the 200 IM in 2 minutes, 2.55 seconds to better a time of 2:02.56 set by Victoria Cervone of Northern Valley Demerest in 2009. She then went on to win the 100 breaststroke in 1:03.10, breaking the 1997 record set by Vineland's Heather DeHainaut.

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Callahan is the Press Swimmer of the Year for the second straight year.

"This year I was the defending state champ, so there was more (pressure) on my back," Callahan said. "I wanted to win because I wanted to defend my titles. There was more to lose, but I didn't put any extra pressure on myself. I tried not to think about it too much because I didn't want to psych myself out. I just went out and played my own race."

The most impressive part about her victories was that days before she was on a nebulizer and taking antibiotics. She just hoped she'd be able to swim at all. She also was recovering from a strained tendon she suffered in early January.

"She fought her way through the prelims and showed everybody how good she is in the final," Atlantic City coach Bill Howarth said. "It was a tremendous day for her. It was hard to believe she could actually top what she did last year, but she did."

Callahan also dominated the individual regular season, sweeping the same events at the CAL Individual Championships and the South Jersey Interscholastic Swimming Association Coaches Meet at GCIT.

She had to sit out at the Hackney High School Girls Invitational Swim Meet because of her shoulder.

She won two events there last year. At the CALs, she set a meet record in the 100 breaststroke of 1:12.72. Vineland graduate Megan Carlin set the mark at 1:13.68 in 2002. She also helped the Vikings to an appearance in the South Jersey Public A semifinals and a 9-4 record.

Callahan said being crowned champion at these events is just a bonus.

"(My success) is pretty incredible," Callahan added. "I work hard and I'm happy it's paying off. I feel proud of myself to overcome all the adversity I had to overcome. I think it made me a stronger swimmer. It's not really all about winning. I'm more concerned with my times (and getting faster.)"

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