Pam Pack’s Kelly takes home top honer
Published 6:05 pm Sunday, April 1, 2007
By EUGENE L. TINKLEPAUGH, Staff Writer
When asked to describe the highlight of his season, Pam Pack swimmer Tyler Kelly immediately thinks of the big win. But the Washington win he talks about was a race he didn’t swim.
Even still, the high school senior and team captain believes he owns a piece of that regional relay race.
One of the Pack swimmers, Matt Powell, who was on the original foursome in the relay event was too tired to swim after competing earlier in the breastroke event.
So Washington looked to alternate Dane Winstead, who came to the regional competition for just such an occassion.
Kelly has led the team by taking a page out of the motivational playbook of his mentor, Pam Pack swim coach Spencer Pake. And though Kelly has competed in his last meet for Washington, he says he’s not done with the Pam Pack swim team. He wants to return to Washington next season — to be Pake’s assistant coach.
Pake said Kelly “meant wonders to the team,” calling his team captain “a good leader, a good swimmer, and a motivation for the rest of the team.”
The culmination of his high school career was making it to the state meet his senior year, where he had high hopes but outside interference would rule in his final races.
Kelly considered it a “big honor,” to receive the Daily News nomination as male swimmer of the year. “I worked pretty hard to do my best and to be there for my team,” he said.
The senior spoke highly of his posse of Pack swimmers, saying the team had a lot of new faces this year, but everyone came together nicely and was able to go pretty far.
He’s also seen individual success in his four years swimming for Washington.
Kelly said he came close to breaking a couple school records. His fastest time in the 100-meter freestyle swim was 52.7 seconds, and he mustered a 50-meter relay split in the mid 23-second mark.
Kelly medaled in all four events that he competed in at the conference meets his senior year, helping Washington to its second consecutive conference championship.
He said he has decided to go into construction and will enroll in Pitt Community College next semester.
He first became interested in the sport in his freshman year when coaxed by a friend to try out for the team.
Now, the swim team is well-known and well-respected at the high school, Kelly said.
Kelly’s proudest moment in the water was at a conference match in his sophomore year. He was racing in the 100-meter freestyle, which would become his favorite race.
Kelly finished up the race cinching first place.
He’ll cherish those memories, he said, and looks forward to new ones from the sidelines coaching on up-and-comers.