Sports

100 in a row and Counting as Chatham Girls Swim to 8th Straight Morris County Championship

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Coach Frank DiGiacomo gives Emily Gorham some last-minute advice before Chatham's record-setting 200 free relay. Nicole Tingley listens in. Credits: TAP Chatham
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Chatham was poised to win from the start of the Morris County Championships Credits: Glenn Clark
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Credits: Glenn Clark
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Hannah Womer, Margaret Harrigan, Emily Gorham and Nicole Tingley set a Morris County record in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:50.00 Credits: TAP Chatham
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Credits: Glenn Clark
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Coach Frank DiGiacomo wore his Morris County Championship shorts for the occasion Credits: Glenn Clark
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MORRISTOWN, NJ - The Chatham girls swim team made it look routine in winning the program's 100th straight meet, racking up 326 team points to overwhelm the competition in winning its eighth straight Morris County Championship Saturday at Morristown High School.

The only suspense came right before the 200 freestyle relay when Chatham swimmers Emily Gorham, Margaret Harrigan and Nicole Tingley were wondering if teammate Hannah Womer was going to join them in time.

"I saw her sprinting down the stairs and I was like, 'Hannah Go,' " Chatham senior Amy Duren said. "We love her."

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Womer arrived in plenty of time from the gym upstairs to anchor Chatham's winning relay, which set a Morris County record of 150.00. Gorham led off with a 28.29 split, followed by Harrigan's 27.79, Tingley's 26.76 and Womer's 27.16 to barely touch ahead of the team from Morristown, which was second in 150.10.

The 200 free relay broke the Morris County record of 150.32 set by Chatham in 2013.

The same four swimmers closed out the meet by winning the 400 freestyle relay in 4:00.73, this time with Tingley as the anchor.

The 326 points put up by the Lady Cougars was 137 points ahead of runner-up Morristown with 189 points. Mendham was third with 143.

The winning streak began in 2011 under coach David Steele and continued with current coach Frank DiGiacomo, who has stretched the state championship streak for the girls team to five in a row. 

"It's surreal," Chatham junior Jackie Crater said of No. 100 in a row. "I never expected we would get this far, even though we have an amazing team. One hundred wins is insane because the team is very different.

"The freshman group it started with were seniors when I was a freshman, so they've completely handed it off to a new group of swimmers and it's crazy that we've continued it even though they've moved on and they're in college now."

Chatham coach Frank DiGiacomo talks about 100th straight victory the program gained in winning the Morris County Championship

Chatham started off the meet by placing fourth in 200 medley relay with Jackie Crater, Alicia Iizuka, Amy Duren and Caroline Paulson clocking 2:04.48.

Nina Barrett (2:10.74) and Harrigan (2:12.02) placed second and third, respectively, in the 200 free while Abbie Bigham of Chatham was sixth in 2:14.50.

By the fifth event of the meet, it was clear that it was going to be big day for the Lady Cougars when Womer (2:25.04) and Tingley (2:25.23) finished 1-2 in the 200 individual medley. Womer took the lead in the breasstroke and then held off a charge by Tingley in the closing freestyle to win it.

In the 50 free Gorham placed fourth in 27.55 and Harrigan took sixth in 28.15. In the 100 butterfly, workhorse Gorham touched second in 1:05.10 and Duren was third in 1:06.15.

Tingley swam second in the 100 free with a time of 59.48 and Womer took fifth in 1:01.37.

Chatham had another strong team showing in the 400 freestyle, which had been dominated by Regan Kology for Chatham before she left for Harvard two years ago. Barrett won the 400 in 4:27.78; Jackie Crater was third in 4:34.70 and Bigham was fifth in 4:39.65. Crater also was third in the 100 backstroke in 1:04.93.

In the 100 breaststroke, Alicia Iizuka was second in 1:14.85 and Chatham received a fourth-place finish from Emily McGovern (1:17.25).

 

 

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