The Tennessee Volunteers are thin in their breaststroke group headed into this season, as we highlighted in our season preview. Their first target this fall, though, has been to seriously stiffen that group up with the addition of Colleen Callahan from the Egg Harbor Township Seahawks. Callahan verbally committed to the Volunteers today, and should immediately become their number-two breaststroker and be at least an SEC contributor.
Callahan is the number-two sprint breaststroker in this class, with a 1:01.29 from last year’s New Jersey High School State Championship meet. She’s better in the sprint than the longer 200 yard breaststroke, where she’s been a 2:15.73.
She set the State Record both in that 100 and the 200 IM last year, where she was a 2:01.54 (also a best time) for Atlantic City High School.
Her stock rose even higher at the Olympic Trials, where she swam best times in both of her primary events, with a 1:11.11 in the 100 and a 2:34.16. While comparatively, her short course times are a little bit better, for a high school swimmer to go two best times where roughly three-quarters of the athletes are slower than their seed times would not go unnoticed by college coaches. That’s an indication that she’s still making big improvements, and that she’s well-able to step-up in big situations.
She’ll train alongside 2012-2013 sophomore Molly Hannis, who had an explosive rookie year for the Volunteers last season. After her though, no returning swimmer for the Volunteers was better than a 1:04 in 2012. It gets even worse the year after, where Hannis will be quite literally the only returning breaststroker, though as the third-best 100 breaststroker in the SEC last year with a 59.60, she’s a very good one.
Nobody else on the current Tennessee roster, who will still be there next fall, is better than a 1:07. For that need alone, Callahan probably will stand as Tennessee’s most significant signing this fall.