While warming up for the Morris County Swim Championships, Chatham senior Shana McLaughlin was thinking about past trips to this meet.
She realized, she couldn’t remember the county meet from her sophomore year.
And with good reason.
That’s when McLaughlin was swimming through chemotherapy to treat Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Back then, thinking about winning an individual gold medal was almost foreign.
But on Saturday, it was McLaughlin touching the wall first in the individual medley — something she had never even dared to imagine. And the Cougars, the same team which got her through the long days in the hospital — and many lengths of the pool — also walked away with their sixth straight girls title.
“I never put myself in this position,” McLaughlin said. “Now, doing it, is extraordinary. … I’ve come a long way since freshman year. Swimming is more than a sport to me. It’s my passion. Counties is one of my favorite meets. You get to see every swimmer on the team step up. Going to treatment, Chatham swimming became my priority, and this meet is the epitome of Chatham swimming.”
The Cougars piled up 365.5 points. Villa Walsh opened the meet by breaking the medley relay record, and finished second with 183, with Kinnelon third.
Host Morristown won the boys championship, its third since 2009.
Keeping with their traditional depth, the Cougars girls had at least two swimmers in the top six in seven of the eight individual events — all but the IM. Chatham senior Regan Kology repeated her distance double for the fourth straight year, winning the 200 and 400 free and breaking her own meet records. McLaughlin, Kology, and sisters Jess and Emily Gorham were also part of the Cougars’ winning 200 and 400 free relays.
Cougars senior Kara Miller-Radest won the butterfly, and freshman Alicia Iizuka surprised even herself by taking first in breaststroke.
“I was scared I was going to let (my teammates) down, because they are really, really fast people,” said Iizuka, just after getting wrapped up in a group hug by a crowd including her twin sister Karen.
“I felt really, really, really good, and I kept that up. They said (the county meet) was really, really, really fun, and I should enjoy myself, and I did.”
* Allyson Kleinsorgen of Roxbury doubled in the 50 free and backstroke, edging Chatham senior Jess Gorham in both. Kleinsorgen, a tall, slender junior who describes herself as “five-foot-12,” knew most of the girls in her heat, which made her more secure. She was also more familiar with the meet itself.
“Last year, I wasn’t really sure where I stood with everyone, but this year I was more confident,” said Kleinsorgen, whose younger sister, freshman Jackie, took fourth in the 50 free — behind Gorham’s younger sister Emily.
“It’s awesome. I’m so excited.”
* Senior Meghan Thompson helped Kinnelon make an impact on Saturday. After being edged by Kology in the 200 free, Thompson rebounded with her typical cheer to win the 100 free. The Colts, too, relied on depth, placing at least one swimmer in the top six on more than half of the events and taking second in the medley and 200 free relays.
“I knew I had to keep pushing the entire way,” Thompson said. “Once I hit the wall, it was nice to see the ‘1’ by my lane. It’s counties, and I’m swimming for my team.”
Team scores: Chatham 365.5; Villa Walsh 183; Kinnelon 147; Mendham 114; Mountain Lakes 107.5; Roxbury 94; Morristown 72; Morris Knolls 49; Pequannock 43; Park 41.5; St. Elizabeth 31; West Morris 22; Montville 20.5; Randolph 8; Parsippany Hills and Mount Olive 2.
Medley relay: 1. Villa Walsh (Carolyn Silverman, Rebecca Morel, Allison Morel, Caroline Feeney) 2:02.53* (old record: 2:02.55, Mendham, 2013); 2. Kinnelon (Christina Cirillo, Lauren deTorres, Mackenzie Heffernan, Meghan Thompson) 2:04.45; 3. Chatham (Maddy Dobbs, Alicia Iizuka, Kara Miller-Radest, Margaret Harrigan) 2:05.78; 4. Roxbury (Allyson Kleinsorgen, Stephanie Shulkowski, Moira Fulton, Jackie Kleinsorgen) 2:06.77; 5. Mendham (Kate Alexy, Charlie Trinco, Mary Laurita, Emily Mountain) 2:07.53; 6. Mountain Lakes (Kelly Shi, Katie Tsang, Erin Kiely, Emily Zimmermann) 2:12.28.
200 freestyle: 1. Regan Kology (Ch) 2:04.63* (old record: 2:04.73, Kology, 2013); 2. Meghan Thompson (K) 2:05.07; 3. Erin Kiely (ML) 2:11.24; 4. Sara Cecere (Mend) 2:14.68; 5. Abbie Bigham (Ch) 2:14.9; 6. Alison Pigott (VW) 2:16.46.
200 individual medley: 1. Shana McLaughlin (Ch) 2:24.74; 2. Mackenzie Heffernan (K) 2:28.12; 3. Allison Morel (VW) 2:28.23; 4. Lauren deTorres (K) 2:28.35; 5. Caroline Feeney (VW) 2:30.83; 6. Christina Cirillo (K) 2:31.72.
50 freestyle: 1. Allyson Kleinsorgen (Rox) 27.13; 2. Jess Gorham (Ch) 27.24; 3. Emily Gorham (Ch) 28.05; 4. Jackie Kleinsorgen (Rox) 28.29; 5. Rebecca Morel (VW) 28.3; 6. Mary Laurita (Mend) 28.4.
100 butterfly: 1. Kara Miller-Radest (Ch) 1:05.85; 2. Mary Laurita (Mend) 1:06.08; 3. Emily Gorham (Ch) 1:06.46; 4. Amy Duren (Ch) 1:08; 5. Elizabeth D’Altrui (Park) 1:08.77; 6. Carolyn Silverman (VW) 1:08.96.
100 freestyle: 1. Meghan Thompson (K) 58.63; 2. Shana McLaughlin (Ch) 59.49; 3. Emily Zimmermann (ML) 1:00.89; 4. Rebecca Morel (VW) 1:01.79; 5. Jane Ewald (Ch) 1:02.12; 6. Margaret Harrigan (Ch) 1:02.75.
400 freestyle: 1. Regan Kology (Ch) 4:19.65* (old record: 4:19.66, Kology, 2013); 2. Erin Kiely (ML) 4:43.43; 3. Cristina Barrett (Ch) 4:36.05; 4. Abbie Bigham (Ch) 4:41.84; 5. Sierra Castaneda (WMC) 4:46.68; 6. Elizabeth D’Altrui (Park) 4:46.91.
200 free relay: 1. Chatham (Jess Gorham, Emily Gorham, Regan Kology, Shana McLaughlin) 1:50.57; 2. Kinnelon (Lauren deTorres, Christina Cirillo, Mackenzie Heffernan, Meghan Thompson) 1:53.03; 3. (tie) Roxbury (Jackie Kleinsorgen, Allison Brosco, Stephanie Shulkowski, Allyson Kleinsorgen) and Villa Walsh (Caroline Feeney, Isabel LaRaia, Allison Morel, Rebecca Morel) 1:54.41; 5. Mendham (Sara Cecere, Emily Mountain, Kate Alexy, Mary Laurita) 1:54.54; 6. Mountain Lakes (Erin Kiely, Kelly Shi, Heili Truumees, Emily Zimmermann) 1:54.59.
100 backstroke: 1. Allyson Kleinsorgen (Rox) 1:05.18; 2. Jess Gorham (Ch) 1:05.42; 3. Carolyn Silverman (VW) 1:06.44; 4. Kate Alexy (Mend) 1:08.63; 5. Jackie Crater (Ch) 1:08.88; 6. Caroline Feeney (VW) 1:10.62.
100 breaststroke: 1. Alicia Iizuka (Ch) 1:13.74; 2. Liza MacCowatt (MB) 1:14.25; 3. Allison Morel (VW) 1:15.39; 4. Lauren deTorres (K) 1:15.89; 5. Charlie Trinco (Mend) 1:18.1; 6. Emily McGovern (Ch) 1:18.73.
400 free relay: 1. Chatham (Emily Gorham, Regan Kology, Shana McLaughlin, Jess Gorham) 4:02.61; 2. Villa Walsh (Blair Boyle, Isabel LaRaia, Carolyn Silverman, Alison Pigott) 4:18.6; 3. Morris Knolls (Stephanie Harris, Julia Dottinger, Devyn Somogyi, Allie Kaufmann) 4:18.64; 4. Morristown (Emilie Breslin, Bianca Karpinski, Victoria Ratliff, Erin Hession) 4:19.9; 5. Mountain Lakes (Jessica Schicke, Katie Tsang, Heili Truumeees, Kara Zimmermann) 4:22.18; 6. St. Elizabeth (Maura Mullaney, Tracey Collins, Ellie Martine, Mackenzie Collins) 4:23.27.
Site of meet: Morristown High School. Distances in meters.