EWING, NJ - When the Chatham girls swim team won its 12th straight Morris County Tournament championship in January, no Cougar swimmer had a first-place finish in a single race. The depth of the Chatham team overwhelmed the competition.
There was a lot of depth on display Saturday when Chatham and Moorestown met to decide the NJSIAA Public B state championship. Moorestown proved to be both deeper and faster, scoring a 98-72 win at The College of New Jersey.
"They definitely are a solid team," Chatham senior Olivia Polemeni said. "You can see that they work together."
Chatham (15-1), which had its undefeated season snapped by Moorestown (12-2), did not have a single swimmer touch first in any race. That negated the depth the Cougars had coming in.
"I added time in a couple of my events, but if I had my best times, I still wouldn't have beaten the girls that won first," Chatham senior Hailey Harkins said. "They have the depth that we have, but their speed was too much. If you see me with tears later, it's not because we lost to this team. It's because this was my last meet."
Chatham coach Frank DiGiacomo has guided six Cougar teams into the state final over his eight years as the coach. Chatham was coached by Dave Steele and assistant coaches Chrissy McGookin and C.J. McCabe when the Cougars started a run of five straight state championships, beginning with the 2011 state title. Karen Gaba took over to guide the 2012 team to the state championship before DiGiacomo arrived in 2013.
DiGiacomo coached Chatham to state championships in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2017 and two state final losses in 2016 and this year. DiGiacomo knew his team was the underdog going in against Moorestown.
"We swam really well today," DiGiacomo said. "We swam a lot of best times. New best swims all-time from swimmers across the board. It was unbelievable. There were a couple of spots where we got touched out where we didn't want to get touched out and that made a big difference in the meet.
"Moorestown stepped up today and they swam really well. Going into it, I had us losing something like 106-66. Our girls actually swam better than I thought. Our girls swam incredibly fast. Moorestown swam faster."