February 23, 2014 at 9:55 PM
EWING, NJ - The front of Frank DiGiacomo's dark blue shirt was soaked with water.
That was the telling sign that the Chatham girls swimming coach and his team were having a very good day. DiGiacomo's shirt was soaked from hugging his swimmers after their performances in the NJSIAA Public B state final against Ocean City on Sunday.
Chatham won its fourth straight NJSIAA Public B Championship with a 99-71 victory over Ocean City at The College of New Jersey.
"We had no idea it was going to be like that," DiGiacomo said. "Every time we pointed out the meet, we had it tied or had us losing by two or four. We never were prepared to win this meet. The girls were just unbelievably fast. They swam their hearts out. I can't take any credit. These girls are unbelievable."
Seniors Shana McLaughlin, Kara Miller-Radest and Jess Gorham, along with freshman Alicia Iizuka each won individual races for Chatham. Regan Kology was second in both the 200 and 500 freestyle races.
McLaughlin won the 200 individual medley in 2:08.30, Miller-Radest took the 100 butterfly in 58.82, Gorham touched first in the 100 backstroke in 59.40 and Iizuka won the 100 breaststroke in 1:04.90.
"Oh, what a great day Shana had," DiGiacomo said. "All my girls had great days. I lost count on how many best times we had. Just stellar kids."
The key was the very first race when the team of Maddie Dobbs, Margaret Harrigan, Alicia Iizuka and Kara Miller-Radest won the 200 medley relay in 1:50.40.
"Seeing our first relay go 1-3 in such an unexpected way really fueled the whole team," McLaughlin said. "It took some of the pressure off the rest of the team."
Chatham earned the points to clinch the state championship when Alicia Iizuka, Emily McGovern and Anna Dexheimer finished 1-2-3 in the 100 breaststroke.
Frank DiGiacomo congratulates team after winning state title below
Alicia Iizuka wins breaststroke in 1-2-3 clinching finish for Chatham
Jess Gorham wins 100 backstroke for Chatham in video below
Shana McLaughlin finishes off 200 Individual Medley victory in video below
Kara Miller-Radest touches first in 100 butterfly in video below
Can Chatham keep it going next season?
"We're going to try," DiGiacomo said. "I have a lot of eighth graders and freshmen coming up."