A shoulder injury cut short Danielle Griggs’ junior season at Wall Township High School last year.
But the determined senior swimmer wanted to return stronger and make her final season, one of her best.
“I went to the Monmouth County meet last year and I won my events there but after that meet my right shoulder started bothering me a lot because I had a posterior labral tear,” Griggs said. “The doctors said you might as well take off from swimming for a while, rest up and go to rehab.”
And that’s what Griggs did. She returned for the 2014-2015 high school swimming season and simply turned this winter into a career season. She didn’t lose a 50 freestyle or 100 freestyle race in either the Monmouth County or Shore Conference meet this season and she also broke several meet records in the process.
“Danielle was undefeated in any event she swam throughout the dual season. Her Monmouth county 50 and 100 free record-setting wins set the tone for her postseason,” Wall Township coach Greg Grober said. “She duplicated the feat (winning both events) at the Shore Conference meet with style and composure.”
Griggs swam a record-setting 23.51 in the 50 freestyle and a record-setting 55.88 in the 100 freestyle at the Monmouth County meet. At the Shore Conference meet, she was once again a double individual event winner by winning the 50 freestyle in a record-setting 23.50 and then won the 100 freestyle in 51.42.
“For the Monmouth County meet, I was gunning for the 50 freestyle record and to beat my own 100 freestyle record. And it was really surprising when I saw my time up on the board. Because I hadn’t gone under 24 seconds in a few years since the Meet of Champions my sophomore year,” Griggs said. “It was at the beginning of the season and I wasn’t sure where I would be in racing just yet. When I saw that time, it was one of the happiest moments of my life. All my nerves fell away and I knew where I belonged.”
And Griggs belongs near the top of the discussion of the best female sprinters to ever come out of the Shore Conference.
After her record-setting day at the Monmouth County meet, she was named swimmer of the meet. At the Shore Conference meet, she was one of two swimmers to win two individual events and was also one of two swimmers to set at least one meet record. And she did all of this, a year after hurting her shoulder and missing two of the three championship meets (Shore Conference and the Meet of Champions in 2014).
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“I was really scared that I might not swim again. Swimming is my life. I love it. I go to practice. I see all my friends. It is my social life. My way to get rid of my stress,” Griggs said. “It is a lot of hard work but it pays off in the end. I love racing. It is very hard to wrap my head around the fact that I injured my shoulder. But I was just determined to work hard in physical therapy. Then I would get back to swimming.”
And of course leave an indelible mark at Wall Township High School.
According to Grober, Griggs holds the Wall Township High School girls swimming school records in the following events: 50, 100, 200 and 500 yard freestyle, the 100 backstroke, the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley. She also has the Monmouth County records in the 50 free and the 100 freestyle (51.38). She also holds the Shore Conference record in the 50 freestyle.
“Danielle was most important to the girls swim team as a role model, she was one of two senior girls on the teams and 30 plus underclassmen benefited from her experience, patience, kindness, and ability,” Grober said. “She always made time to instruct and encourage the younger swimmers and I believe she has made an impression that will last after she has graduated.”
Griggs will attend Virginia Tech and plans on majoring in Engineering and will swim for the Hokies swim team.
Staff writer Sherlon Christie: email@example.com