"Winning isn't everything, but it feels pretty damn good", preaches Chatham Swim Coach Frank Digiacomo, new to Chatham High School, after an epic meet versus Kinnelon on January 17th, 2013. After weeks of training, bonding, and mental preparation, the Chatham Swim Team came out on top against our biggest rivals. Boys won 114-56. Girls (a much tighter margin) won 93-77…. a little history here: the competition started last season when Chatham Girls defeated Kinnelon by only four points. Ever since then, as a team, we have thought of nothing else but defending our title against Kinnelon.
The pressure was on! Especially since we lost our four key swimmers, our entire "A relay", who graduated last season. On top of that, we learned that Kinnelon lost no seniors, but rather gained a few game-changing freshman. This clearly amped up the intensity and gave us an opportunity to test our incoming freshman as well, praying that their talent could match the competition. Kinnelon's swim team also had Olympic-trial swimmers. The odds were against us, but our girls stepped it up for some incredible swims.
Coach D felt the pressure as well. However, he reacted as only the best coaches would. Coach D pumped our brains with positive energy for weeks before swimming Kinnelon. He is quickly becoming the catalyst to the heart and soul of the Chatham High Swim Team. After beating Kinnelon, I think everyone would agree Coach D is and always will be a Cougar!
There are 11 girls events and 11 boys events for every swim meet. The halfway point of a swim meet is typically marked by the first eight events. This night against Kinnelon, we were down by eight points at the half. Kinnelon had taken the first relay and the 200 Individual Medley (I.M.). Even though we know we are back-end strong, eight points was a little too close for comfort. At the break, Coach D came around to make sure we kept our heads held high and kept our smiles. We knew we had to keep our faith to win this. The turn-around came with the 500-Freestyle. Regan Kology came out with a one-lap lead for first place, and Cristina Barrett came and closed a half-lap gap to a 2/100ths of a second touch-out, receiving third place.
With Charlotte Morrissey bringing in fourth place, Chatham received 11 out of 16 available points for that event, bringing the score to a 55-55 tie. The energy on the pool deck was electrifying from the crowd, the swimmers, the officials, and the coaches.There was no stopping us now. The rest of the meet, we never lost our mojo in any event, receiving sixth place only once the whole night. After the 100 Breaststroke, we were pretty confident we could take the meet. Our last relay was golden, with Shana McLaughlin, Morgan Conley, Regan Kology, and Jess Gorham anchoring in lane three. Kinnelon needed first and second to win, or first and third to tie. Our team touched in for first and second which left us with a win and a moment I don't think anyone will ever forget.
If there is one thing this meet proves, it is that we are nothing less than a family. We continue to keep our confidence without getting arrogant. No one on the team assumed we were going to win on Thursday. We all went into this meet with lots of nerves, a little fear, and most of all, incredible excitement, knowing that whatever happened that night, we would leave it all in the pool.
Chatham High School Swim Team will always have an unbreakable bond, and will continue to work hard and push ourselves to the limit. We now will move past this glory to accomplish new goals and keep going with the season. Up next, stay-tuned for Mendham, Counties, and another State-Tournament. We trust our teammates, our coach, and most importantly ourselves to keep our dedication and commitment to the sport and to our team.