Community Christian Academy recently recognized its first collegiate athletics signee since 2011, as John Carter Chappell inked with Campbellsville University to continue his swimming career.
“It meant a lot because I didn’t plan on swimming in college until I toured Campbellsville,” Chappell told The Sun in a phone interview after signing in mid-May. “Campbellsville is the first college I toured that had a swim team, and I toured campus and saw the pool and talked to the coach, and that flipped a switch for me. I was like, ‘I want to swim in college now.’ I didn’t see any other college I wanted to swim for, so I decided to swim for them.”
Chappell started swimming competitively when he was 8 years old and continued to stick with the sport. He was a member of the Paducah Swim Team for 10 years — during which he met Olympic swimmers Ryan Lochte and Cody Miller — and started swimming for CCA as a seventh-grader. He ends his high school career having qualified for state every year from eighth through 12th grade.
Chappell’s high school career also included three years of basketball and two years of archery.
“I like to hunt and fish, so I thought archery would be a cool little side hustle,” he said. “And then I got more into basketball, and I liked that better so I stayed with that.”
But swimming has always been his favorite. Chappell said he has competed under several coaches during his career but none better than current Paducah Swim Team coach Jordan Wessels.
“Jordan Wessels is by far the best coach I’ve ever had,” he said. “He’s making the team so much better and is making me better.”
And he credits swimming for helping him focus academically.
“With swimming, I have to have a schedule and a routine that disciplines me into having to study and get everything done and be able to practice and sleep,” he said. “The discipline helped me study more and be able to do good on my tests and focus.”
Chappell also found time to be involved with the National Honor Society and Fellowship of Christian Athletes and has over 60 hours of community service to his name. He said it was the combination of his academic abilities and swimming skills that drew the interest of Campbellsville’s coaches.
Chappell’s main events are the 100 breaststroke, 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley, and he plans to compete in those races at Campbellsville, where he’ll major in business. He’s looking forward to going to school and swimming there because of its smaller size and friendly environment.
“The campus was really nice, and everyone was super nice to me — they acted like I was part of their family,” he said.
He’s really looking forward to the opportunity to continue competing in a sport he loves.
“I’m on my 10th year so far, and I can’t get enough of it,” Chappell said of swimming. “I love being in the water — it’s relaxing.”