In a town like Jacksonville, Florida, home of the world-renowned Bolles School Sharks, lesser-known teams filled to the brim with talent are often overlooked. Among these unsung talents are three athletes of the North Florida Swimming Inc. (NFS): Tyler Watson, Tate Callahan, and Jackson Skigen. These gentlemen can be found at NFS’s quaint swimming headquarter supervised by former Texas A&M Aggie head coach, Indiana Swimming alumni, world, national, and Pan-American champion Mel Nash. Although not the ideal world class training facility, Holly Oaks Community Pool houses the budding club team and gives them just the right environment to tap into their potential.
At the end of the summer 2017 season, Tyler, Tate, Jackson and Mel hit the road for the boys’ shave and taper meet at College Station. With a nostalgic head coach excited to be back in Texas, the boys were ready and eager to remind Mel of the good ol’ days and the taste of victory. That they did!
Finishing 7th for men’s teams at Long Course Southern Senior Zones, NFS raked in 404.5 points with the fewest swimmers in the top 25 men’s teams in the meet. Overall, with a meager 3 swimmers, they ended the meet 16th out of 47 teams!
Individually, Tate Callahan ended his age group swimming career with 120 points before taking his talents to Gainesville. With him he brought US Open cuts in the 200 (1:52.90) and 400 freestyle (4:00.96) events that he earned at the meet. Jackson Skigen, 16, acquired 142.5 points. He also emerged from the meet with a Summer Juniors cut and Winter National cut in his signature event: the 200 breast (2:22.25). And perhaps the most impressive performance of all was that of Tyler Watson. He ended the meet with 142 points, Summer Juniors cuts in the 200 (2:04.52) and 100 fly (56.58) as well as the 400 IM (4:31.26), and Winter Nationals cuts in both the 200 fly and 400 IM. Currently, he has the number 1 time in the 400 IM for 15-16 Boys in the state of Florida!
And with that, their season drew to a close. Callahan left for Gainesville while Skigen and Watson began preparing for the junior year of high school swimming as much more seasoned and accomplished athletes.
With an impressive season in their rearview, what’s next for these three superstars? Tate Callahan’s main goal for his first year of collegiate swimming is to represent the orange and blue at SEC Championships. Jackson Skigen hopes to dominate his high school states meet, and Tyler Watson’s plans are to keep dropping time and keep improving.
Written by NEW STAFF WRITER Payton Titus (Welcome to the team Payton!)