GALION — Galion High School swimmer Kaisey Speck will continue her career as a student-athlete in southern Kentucky.
Speck signed a national letter of intent on Tuesday to attend the University of the Cumberlands, located in Williamsburg, Kentucky. Cumberlands is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Mid-South Conference.
Speck said a visit to the Cumberlands campus last August proved to be the deciding factor in choosing to attend school there. She plans to major in education with an emphasis on middle school education.
“As soon as I stepped on campus I basically knew that’s where I wanted to go,” Speck said. “The campus was beautiful and everything was basically what I wanted in a school. And then the coach offered me and I accepted the offer two weeks later. … I was looking at Niagara University (in Niagara Falls, New York) and Gannon University (in Erie, Pennsylvania). I went and visited those two schools the weekend after I visited Cumberlands, and Cumberlands was just it. I knew it, basically.”
Canton native Eric Skelly is head coach of the Cumberlands women’s and men’s swimming and diving program. He’s an alumnus of GlenOak High School and Ashland University, where he excelled in swimming. He is a former head swimming coach and assistant aquatics director at the Shelby YMCA.
The Cumberlands women’s program finished the 2020-2021 season ranked No. 2 in the NAIA women’s swim/dive coaches Top 10 poll. The team received two first-place votes. That honor came on the heels of the Patriots winning their ninth consecutive Mid-South Conference women’s swimming and diving championship.
“It’s a really strong program and I’m excited to join it,” Speck said. “I’ve improved a little bit over the past four years, but nothing drastic. I’m excited to see if that drastic change comes (at Cumberlands).”
Galion head coach Ted Temple said he’s proud of Speck and what she’s accomplished in high school.
“It’s always great to watch your swimmers sign for college,” Temple said. “I feel good for Kaisey. (Cumberlands) is kind of close to home. It’s not too far down to the mountains of Kentucky. I’m really proud of her; really proud. She really had a good career.”
Speck was a Northwest district and OHSAA state championships qualifier for Colonel Crawford High School in 2017-2018. She transferred to Galion in 2018-2019 and earned first-team All-Mid Ohio Athletic Conference honors and qualified for the district meet in the 200-yard freestyle, 100-yard breaststroke, and two relay events. She was also a Crawford County all-star that season.
In 2019-2020, she was second-team All-MOAC in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard breaststroke and was a district qualifier in both events. She also qualified for the district meet as a member of the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay teams. She earned all-district honors after placing third in the 100-yard breaststroke and qualified for the OHSAA state championships. She was also a Crawford County all-star.
In her senior season, 2020-2021, Speck was second-team All-MOAC in the 200-yard individual medley and 100-yard breaststroke and was honorable mention All-MOAC in the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. She qualified for the Northwest district championships in the 100-yard butterfly and breaststroke events and the 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay. The 400 relay squad set a Galion record, breaking the previous mark that Speck helped establish in 2018-2019.
“Kaisey has been a true leader,” Temple said. “She swam the specialty events — butterfly, individual medley, breaststroke — for the ladies team. Kaisey has been a captain her junior and senior years. Her leadership helped the Lady Tigers become so successful from 2018 to 2021. Kaisey was the second best in the 200 individual medley, breaststroke, and butterfly in team history.”
Speck said she will miss the close-knit atmosphere at Galion.
“I’m going to miss having my really good friends around me all the time,” she said. “But I’m excited to see what new friendships come out of the next step.”
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