BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - In her first year as head coach, Meghan Guinee had high expectations for the Berkeley Heights Community Pool swim team, and they delivered. Despite the change in coach, the team was hardly affected as they swam their way to an impressive 6-2 record.
"I don’t think we’ve ever had that record,” Guinee said. “Last year we were 5-3, so [six wins] was a very big accomplishment this year.”
The transition to head coach for Guinee was a big jump from the assistant coaching role that she had held for the past five seasons, but she knew that she was well prepared to step into that role.
“It was a really different role from what I had last year [as assistant coach],” Guinee said. “It’s a completely different job description, so it was a big responsibility, but I think the season ran pretty smoothly. We had a lot of parent volunteers who I would not have been able to do my job without, and my assistants were great.”
With an undefeated home record, the BHCP beat each team at least once, with their losses coming at Mountainside and at Verona.
A big highlight of the season was their victory over the Berkeley Swim Club in the Second Annual Battle of the Pools, claiming the title from BSC after they won the inaugural meet last year. It was a tight meet from the start, and had no shortage of excitement throughout.
“That was crazy, it was such a close meet,” Guinee said. “Neither of the coaches could tell who was winning the entire meet, so it was absolutely crazy. Our kids went absolutely nuts when we won, it was so much fun.”
One of Guinee’s biggest moves as head coach was to bring back the “pre-team”, a practice-only squad that allowed younger swimmers to be able to practice without the stress of having to compete in meets.
“We had so many pre-team kids this year because it’s for kids who are either brand new to the team, or are just nervous because competing can be really scary,” said Guinee, who was on the pre-team herself when she started swimming for the BHCP at five years old. “The kids were really comfortable being on it and it just made a much more fun environment for kids who didn’t want to compete. We’re definitely going to do that again next season.”
With her first year under her belt, Guinee is looking forward to having swimmers improve in the off-season on their club and high school teams so that BHCP can have their best season yet next year.