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Cougars Head to State Tournament Saturday

The girls of Chatham High School's swim team head to their fourth state championship meet in five years.

After another successful season, the Chatham High School girls swim team heads back to a place they're very familiar with — the final round of state championships.

Coach Frank DiGiacomo said every member of the team has performed their best in this undefeated 15-0 season, which Megan Gesell has blogged about for Patch. "The whole team is very strong. They're all very good swimmers," DiGiacomo said. "I know exactly how fast they can go."

Chatham girls won the final round of the NJSIAA Group Tournament, Public B last week against Haddonfield, the same team they defeated in 2012 for the state championship.

They'll take on Kinnelon, a team they have already defeated once this season, for the state title at 12:15 p.m. Saturday at The College of New Jersey.

DiGiacomo is the team's third coach in as many years, working with both the boys and girls teams. One of his goals for the year, he said, was to lead both teams to a successful season, which can be difficult in a school where the the girls' success so brilliantly outshines their male counterparts. In 2012 a team T-shirt for the boys' team read in part, "Yes, we have a boys team." 

Still, DiGiacomo succeeded: Both teams brought home county championships this year for the first time.

His other goal, he said, "was to make sure the swimmers still had fun this season, and I think we've done that." And with state championships Saturday afternoon, he's not taking anything for granted.

"I don't want to jinx it," DiGiacomo said. "[Kinnelon] is going to be a tough team, they're going to show up to swim. ... It's going to be a great meet, a lot of fun to watch, and we're going to do our best there."

Team alumnae have written to the girls to wish them luck, and like last year, several may be in attendance as the girls try to bring home their fourth state title in five years.

"The only thing that's going to surprise me is how much faster they go this weekend than I'm expecting," DiGiacomo said.

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