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Big week for McCall, BHS AquaDogs’ swim and dive team
Dual event state champ McCall likes Richmond

On the brink of setting a state record entering her senior season, Bearden High School multi-event swimming state champion Sarah McCall has passed up the big time for a smaller university.

McCall signed National Letter of Intent papers to swim as a student/athlete at the University of Richmond during a signing ceremony in the BHS East Mall “Pit” Wednesday, Nov. 17.

McCall, 18, is the defending state champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and 200 individual medley. In the 200 IM, “at this point, she is only slightly off of twenty some-odd year (state) record of Tracy Caulkins, who is a name in the swimming community that is very recognized, and (Sarah) should have a good shot at breaking that record possibly this next year,” BHS co-head coach Jason Baxter said. “Sarah’s just an all-around leader and really a team player as a high school student who is so dedicated to her sport.

“She’s incredibly talented, not only using the gifts she already has, but she really reaches out to others on the team to make sure that they’re that much better as well.”

Addressing the “Pit” crowd, Pilot Aquatic Club head coach Gardner Howland said, “The combination of great athleticism, excellent character and just plain toughness, I’m not likely to see (again) in my career … she’s been an awesome kid and she’s got great things ahead of her.”

The praise was mutual. “My coach, Gardner Howland, I have so much respect for him,” McCall said. “I think he’s done an awesome job coaching me.”

In addition, McCall credited her success to “All the support on both Pilot and Bearden that I’ve gotten, and mostly my parents (Bob and Belinda McCall), mostly for keeping me in line and helping to do my best.”

As for why she chose Richmond, “I really like it, it’s just a great school academically,” McCall said. “They have a wonderful coach. I was just really impressed by everything that was going on there … I looked at a lot of top fifteen Division One schools and thought that (one of those) might be the place for me. But after going to Richmond, I just knew that a smaller school is what I wanted.”

McCall said she also took recruiting trips to the University of Michigan, Texas A & M and the University of Virginia.

On the national level, McCall competed in the Phillips 66 National Championships in Palo Alto, Calif. last summer in the 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 IM. Her best finish was 20th in the 100 breaststroke.


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