The Kel “legacy”

The Kelley brothers are ready to lead the Aqua-Panthers again this season.

Paxton in action

Paxton in action

It isn’t rare that multiple members of the same family will pass through sports teams at Elder. The reoccurrence of family names creates legacy and tradition like no other.

Kids can proudly say to how they wore the same jersey as their father back in high school. Baseball has the Orloffs, Football has the Ramseys and Elder swimming has the Kelleys. The Kelley family has kept Elder swimming going strong by sending four and soon to be five boys through the program.

The Kelleys come from a long line of athleticism. Two older Kelley boys have gone through the program but not only Duncan and Paxton remain on the squad.

I sat down with the legends themselves to preview this upcoming swimming season.

“We’re having a well-deserved off season after a hard fought state run. We compete in vigorous workouts, top athletes would not like the half sets of steps we do in the pit.” said junior Paxton.

Duncan commented, “Yeah this year we’re actually allowed in the weight room. So we out here grindin.

Our coach Mr. Ohmer even runs with us.”

That’s some real dedication.

The team is blessed with talent and has some great guys looking to lead this year. Both the Kelleys agree that first year swimmer Chad Brinker will have a huge role on the team. “We lost some key guys but you can never count out Brian Huhn to be the heart and soul of this team,” said Paxton.

Sophomore sensation Joe Bonovita is also thinking about trying out for the squad this year.

Last season ended with The Bombers barely edging The Aqua Panthers out for a victory. “Thank God we didn’t schedule St. X, so we might be able to save our dignity this year,” said Duncan.

Swimming isn’t something that people should take lightly. “It’s a mental grind; it’s all mental. If you have a negative attitude you’re going nowhere. It is also one of the most physically demanding sports,” said Paxton. Duncan added that “there is definitely a case for swimming to be the hardest sport.”

This season look promising for the Panthers as the Kelleys have predicted both the relays will qualify for districts as well as four individual qualifiers. (One of whom will be Paxton)

When asked what the best part of the sport was the two guys took completely different takes on the question. Paxton said, “It’s definitley the most rewarding accomplishing your own set goals and qualify.” While Duncan had the classic answer of, “it’s definitely the female swimmers in their one-pieces.”

I ended my interview by asking who is the best swimmer in the family. I almost forced Paxton to answer honestly and he said “myself but I hate saying it.” Some real character from that kid. On the other hand when I posed the same question to Duncan he just gave me a blank stare and said, “no comment.”

The swimming team is blessed with some raw talent this year. Hopefully the Panthers can put their hard work and swimming gifts to use and have a successful year.  And maybe we can even get a couple of guys out there for a cheering section!


Best of luck to the Kelleys and the rest of the aqua panthers on their quest for state.


If you want to check out any action shots of the Kelleys or highlights of their competitions feel free to check out their website or their mom’s youtube channel. That link is on their website.

Could you ever find yourself unknowingly stumbling into a swimming meet some day?

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