PDT Sports Writer
Swimming is in the Taylor family’s blood, equal parts love and equal parts fate.
Following in the footsteps of older brother Jacob who is at Berea College, Notre Dame senior Keely Taylor has decided her swimming career will continue into college as she will join the St. Catharine College swim team.
Keely started competing her freshman year. In a span of four years, she has shaved nearly 10 seconds off her 50 meter freestyle, 35 seconds from the 100 free, 39 seconds from her 200 free, more than tripled her top three finishes and finished with five times as many points in meets. Her prior experience in swimming came from hotel pools.
“It was kind of like love at first experience for me,” she said. “…When I first started out, I wasn’t very good like pretty much everybody I guess because we don’t have as many options in Scioto County as in other places.”
Keely Taylor has been coached the previous four seasons by her father John who took the job in order to keep the program running.
“It’s pretty exciting,” John Taylor said about the day when his daughter made her college choice official. “Fortunately I’ve had the opportunity to coach both her and her older brother. Now they’re both going to be swimming in college.”
Keely feels her father, who is also the coach of the track team on which she competes during the spring, is her biggest inspiration. On May 11, he will earn a degree at Rio Grande after starting over two decades ago.
“I couldn’t imagine swimming without him,” Keely Taylor said.
Although the initial visit to the campus was an eye-opener because of its location, Keely Taylor ultimately felt the school was the right fit. She passed on an opportunity to swim at Wheeling Jesuit and will study sports managment. The goal is to go into athletic training while competing in the short individual freestyle events.
“I looked around and everybody was really nice,” she said. “It was kind of like a family atmosphere, like what I experience here at Notre Dame.”
From one moment playing Marco Polo and swimming for leisure to the next where she was competing on the district level at The Ohio State University was a dream come true for Keely and she knows there is plenty of room for improvement. This year, she was a part of a Titan swimming squad that won the Scioto County Meet as well as the SOC Meet for the 14th time and first since the 2007-2008 season.
Although she has not watched Keely compete in swimming, St. Catharine coach Lindsey Pfoff has faith in the word of mouth that she may have a diamond in the rough. Pfoff leads a program that just finished its third year of existance.
“Keely has come a long way from when she first started and I think she’ll be a great part of our program,” Pfoff said. “Also, she has the dedication and that’s something that we look at.”
One reason for the resurgance to the top for the Notre Dame girls this season, according to Keely, was the maturity. Another is the feeder program on the junior high level built by the school, the only one in the county.
“We’ve had a lot of success at Notre Dame with girls swimming,” she said. “We’ve had so many championships in the county and we’re just going to keep getting better.”
She is not the final one of her family to compete for the school as younger brother Tris will soon be competing.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.