AHS swimmers reap Western Slope honors
The Aspen Times
The Aspen High School girls swim team is heading to the state championships with momentum and a bundle of honors from the Western Slope League Championships.
The Skiers, who placed third as at team in the final state-qualifying meet of the season, crowned individual champions and relay champions.
In addition, Aspen’s Kennidy Quist reached an All-American time in the 100 freestyle. And she’s under consideration for All-American honors in the 50 freestyle. The 200 medley relay team of Davy Brown, Kennidy Quist, Kelli Callahan and Emily Driscoll also reached All-American consideration status last weekend at the league meet at Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction.
Two more Skiers, Lelia Arthur and Taylor Patillo, qualified for the state meet next weekend, joining the rest of the Aspen girls swim team.
“The girls broke six school records,” said head coach Kathleen Callahan.
Daughter Kelli Callahan was named the Western Slope League swimmer of the year after her record-setting season.
“I don’t even know where to start, the girls’ performances were stellar,” Callahan said, adding that the Skiers should be even faster at the State Swimming and Diving Championships in Thornton.
She said the meet started fast for the Skiers. The relay team of Brown, Quist, Callahan and Driscoll won the 200 medley relay, breaking the school record by five seconds.
“Junior Kennidy Quist was outstanding,” Callahan said. “She won the 50 free with All-American consideration time and broke the school record. She also made All-American in the 100 free.”
She also swam a time that will set a state record, if she can match it at the state championships.
“No one has ever swam this fast in the history of the Western Slope League,” Callahan said, adding that Quist’s goals at state include taking more time off her best and placing well.
Aspen freshman Davy Brown also broke two school records winning the 200 IM and the 100 back.
She also was a member of the 200 medley relay and the 400 free relay. They placed first and broke school records.
A senior, Kelli Callahan swam on the winning 200 medley and 400 free relays.
“Due to illness, this was not the best meet for Kelli,” the Aspen coach said.
Still, she finished second in the 100 fly and third in the 200 free.
Her season-long accomplishments earned her the league swimmer of the year honors.
“This is a prestigious honor based not only on her swimming, more so on what she has been able to accomplish academically and with her extracurricular activities,” the Aspen coach said.
Aspen sophomores Emily Driscoll and Hannah Freeman also had strong finishes at the league meet.
Driscoll, on the winning 200 medley relay, also finished third in the 200 IM and the 100 fly. She’ll swim those events at state this week.
“These were the highest placements for Emily at league championships,” Kathleen Callahan said. “She was beside herself with joy and wonder at how fast she swam. Emily has also been a easygoing team member. It’s nice to see her break through and bring it this weekend.”
Freeman, who was a member of the winning 400 free relay, added a third in the rugged 500 free and fourth in the 200 free.
“Hannah is just starting to realize what talent she has,” Callahan said. “I can’t wait to see her results in the future.”
Aspen freshman Taylor Patillo swam a huge personal best last weekend, dropping 35 seconds in the 500 free to place seventh and qualifiy for state.
“That kind of time drop at this level of swimming is amazing and rarely accomplished,” Callahan said. “Taylor is young and learning to believe in her abilities as a swimmer.”
Sophomore Lelia Arthur collected a seventh in the 50 free, just missing a state berth.
She went on to take ninth in the 100 back, qualifying for state in that event.
The Aspen 200 free relay team finished third with Arthur, Patillo, Freeman and Driscoll.
“I am so excited for these girls,” Callahan said. “Their hard work and effort are paying off.”
Kelli Callahan has served as team captain for the Aspen High School girls swim team for the past two seasons.
A member of the Aspen Speedos, Callahan is a four-year swimmer at Aspen, qualifying for state all four years.
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For Basalt, one of the preseason frontrunners in the Western Slope League, Friday’s loss puts its playoff hopes in jeopardy, while Aspen’s loss to the Bulldogs all but eliminates it from postseason contention.