Freshman Alicia Iizuka carried Chatham to victory in the breaststroke. Her twin sister, Karen, placed third in the same race Credits: TAP Chatham
Jess Gorham talks with Chatham coach Frank DiGiacomo after her 1:00.81 victory in the 100 backstroke Credits: TAP Chatham
Kara Miller-Radest won 100 butterfly and helped Chatham win the 200 medley relay in the state semifinal against Mountain Lakes Credits: TAP Chatham
February 19, 2014 at 11:15 PM
PERTH AMBOY, NJ - If anyone looked at the score and thought Chatham was trying to rub it in against Mountain Lakes in the State Public B semifinal round, it just wasn't so.
It was the snowball effect that began with the very first race of Chatham's 125-45 victory at the Raritan Bay YMCA on Wednesday.
Chatham placed first in every single race.
"It's kind of funny, I've noticed this the last four years," Chatham senior captain Regan Kology said. "As our girls go through events, like our first relay, all the girls went so fast and it gets me fired up to go fast in the 200 free. And then Shana (McLaughlin) swims IM and she nearly swims a best time and it just keeps going and going and building."
"Not so much the score, but seeing everyone do well gives you that drive. Not only to hit their goals, but for what's coming ahead Sunday. I'm just really excited to do this for them. Now everyone is going to get the experience of a state final meet. It's like an honor and a privilege to lead them to this point. I'm really excited."
Kology will be trying to swim Chatham to its fourth straight state title when it meets Ocean City for the Public B championship, 2 p.m. Sunday at The College of New Jersey.
Against Mountain Lakes, Kology won the 200 freestyle in 153.81 and the 500 freestyle in 4:55.08. Shana McLaughlin won the 200 individiual medley in 2:09.85 and the 100 freestyle in 53.56. Also winning two individual races was Jess Gorham, who won the 50 freestyle in 24.81 and the 100 backstroke 100.81.
"A second off my best time, which I didn't see coming at all," said Kology of her 200 time. "That just shows me just how much we internally feel each other as a unit. It's how we feel mentally."
Senior Anna Dexheimer was part of a 1-2-3 sweep for Chatham in the 100 breaststroke, finishing second in 1:11.81, between the freshman Iizuka twins. Alicia Iizuka won in 1:10.59 and Karen Iizuka was third in 1:13.08.
"It's good to have competition and it's great to see freshmen come in and show their talent," Dexheimer said. "This season has been kind of roiugh, but I'm really excited. We worked really hard to earn this."
Chatham also swept the top three spots in the 50 free with Jess Gorham being followed by her sister, Emily, second in 25.78 and Margaret Harrigan, third in 26.42.
In the 100 butterfly, Kara Miller-Radest was first in 59.39 and Emily Gorham second in 1:00.50.
"We swam fantastic today," Chatham coach Frank DiGiacomo said. "We knew we would have to swim fast. The girls really push each other to do well. The energy and enthusiasm stays high."
Chatham has been to five straight state finals and is seeking its fourth championship when it meets Ocean City, which defeated Princeton, 94-76, in its semifinal.
"They've got a lot of good girls and depth," DiGiacomo said. "It's really going to come down to who wants it more on Sunday. Our girls have the abiltiy to win the meet and so do theirs. It's a matter of which team shows up and is ready to go. One of our favorite things is being considered an underdog. Last year we faced Kinnelon twice and each time we were considered the underdog and swam our best times."