Swimming wasn’t exactly Karl Bishop’s favorite childhood activity.
Even though Bishop took lessons from an early age, he was more interested in soccer.
But when he was asked to join the Southington Stingrays, a club swim team, Bishop said, “All right, why not?”
It was a decision that would alter the direction of his athletic career, even if it took several years for Bishop to appreciate and enjoy the sport.
“In the beginning, the first four years I would say, I didn’t even want to go to practice,” Bishop said. “My parents would have to make me go.”
Bishop, a junior at Cheshire, has since developed into one of the state’s best. Bishop, the Register Area Boys Swimming MVP, placed first in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle at both the State Open and Class LL state championship meet.
It was through the Stingrays that Bishop met Kevin Reeder, who just finished his first season as the Cheshire High head coach. Bishop trained under Reeder for several years before moving on to the Cheshire Sea Dogs, another club team, around eighth grade.
“The last year with Kevin before I went to the Sea Dogs, it kind of just clicked,” Bishop said. “I started to get it. I started to really work at it, and everything kind of just went from there.”
Bishop won his featured event, the 500 freestyle, at the Class LL meet in 4:33.79, 24 seconds faster than his best finish during a regular season meet this season.
“He dropped a considerable amount of time between the regular season times and what he did (in Class LL),” Reeder said. “The final times surprised me a little bit as a coach. I’ve never had a swimmer drop as much time as he had. That’s a lot of time in the 500. But his overall success, I am not surprised. He puts the work in.”
At the State Open, Bishop finished slightly slower in the 500 (4:35.61) when he tied Staples’ Daniel Williams for first.
“I was hoping to come in and do as well as I did,” Bishop said about his State Open performance. “I actually wanted to do a little bit better in the 500. I guess I knew anything could of happened. I came in with an open mind.”
Bishop led for the majority of the 500 at the Open before a late surge by Williams. Earlier in the meet, Bishop won the 200 in 1:41.44 after entering the event seeded second.
“I think that (the 200) is still an event that he wants to swim very fast at,” Reeder said. “I always tell him that it really defends on how fast you go out. If you take the race out, and give yourself a chance, you’re going to get those times.”
Bishop helped led the Rams to a second-place finish at the SCC championship, third in Class LL and fifth at the Open.
“I’m really satisfied,” Bishop said. “We even have the potential to do even better (next season). Cheshire used to be an amazing team, they would win (championships). We’re getting back up there, but even fifth in the state is great.”
More New Haven Register All-Star Teams
- All-Area Boys Track :: Akiel Smith MVP
- All-Area Girls Track :: Danae Rivers MVP
- All-Area Wrestling :: Chidi Broderick MVP
- All-Area Gymnastics :: Abby McGuirk MVP
- All-Area Girls Basketball :: Maura Fitzpatrick MVP
- All-State Girls Basketball :: Kiah Gillespie MVP
- All-State Boys Basketball :: Mustapha Heron MVP
- All-Area Boys Basketball :: Tyreek Perkins MVP
- All-Area Hockey (coming soon)
- All-State Hockey (coming soon)
- All-Area Swimming :: Karl Bishop MVP