MORRISTOWN _ Chatham's Regan Kology has made a habit of deflecting attention and praise.
Kology doesn't swim for herself. She swims for her teammates because of what they do for her. Their support and wild cheering propel her, not her exceptional talent and determination.
In addition, Kology credits rival swimmers, like Mendham's Isabelle Cecere, for making her successful.
On Saturday, Feb. 2, Kology, with the Cougars on their feet and screaming and Cecere in the lane beside her, set a record in the 200-meter freestyle at the Morris County Swimming Championships held at Morristown High School.
"It's great that I accomplished it for myself but I did it for the team," said Kology, who swam the 200 free in 2:04.73, breaking Cecere's meet record of 2:05.75 set in 2012. "I represent the team. They make me go faster.
"Everyone's so loud. Isabelle pushes me. I love bring next to her in the pool. It's so much fun."
With Kology leading the way, Chatham gained the team title for the fifth year in a row. The Cougars had 260.5 points followed by Kinnelon and Mendham, who had 196 and 183.5 points, respectively.
"Kinnelon and Mendham are great teams," Chatham coach Frank DiGiacomo said. "My girls swam unbelievably well. Almost every girl swam her best time in every event. There were 88 swims and we beat times in 87. What's best about this is it sets us up well for the state tournament."
Kology and Cecere swim on the same private team at the Somerset Hills YMCA so they go at it several times a week. They're friends and there are never any hard feelings.
"It's comical with us," Kology said. "We wish one another good luck and congratulate each other. Being here is like one big party. I'm friends with so many of the swimmers."
Although getting over a cold, Kology's performances didn't suffer. A three-time winner at the championships last winter, Kology also took gold in the 400 freestyle and was a member of the winning 200-meter relay team along with Shana McLaughlin, Morgan Conley and Jessica Gorham.
"I thought there'd be fast times because of the atmosphere," she said of the 400. "I didn't expect to go as fast as I did. I went in feeling anything can happen. I saw 4:19 and was surprised. I didn't feel I had it in me."
Those who know Kology well know what she's capable of. Her schedule at school is rigorous. She takes four AP classes and is devoted to her high school and private squads as well as her family and friends.
"There's a lot of pressure," Kology said. "It gets crazy. I have tons of homework. Everything is worth it. I don't regret it. I put my all into everything."
Putting in her all means making sure she mentions everyone involved in her training. That's why she praised her Somerset Hills YMCA coach, Peter Barry, for fixing her stroke and first-year coach DiGiacomo for "reflecting his positive energy on all of us."
"Regan is a workhorse," DiGiacomo said. "She works harder than anyone. She has intense drive. That's why she does well in swimming and in life."
Jessica Gorham also had a big day for the Cougars, winning the backstroke in 1:05.18, taking third place in the 50 freestyle and being on the 200-meter freestyle relay squad. The latter relay squad, too, set a record of 1:50.32 bettering the time of 1:51.20 established last year.
Kara Miller-Radest garnered third in the 100 butterfly. McLaughlin was second in the 100-meter freestyle and third in the IM. In the 400-meter freestyle, Cristina Barrett was third.
Mendham seniors Maya Scheidl and Celia Frick were double winners. Scheidl topped the field in the 50-meter freestyle in 26.96 and broke her record in the 100-meter freestyle, swimming a 58.05. Frick prevailed in the 200-meter IM and the 100 backstroke. Both girls were on the victorious 200 and 400-meter freestyle medley relay teams.
"I'm very excited," Scheidl said. "I'm happiest about the relays. We all felt great and had a lot of energy. That propelled us through this meet."
Scheidl, bound for the University of Chicago, cried after Mendham closed out the championships by taking the 400-meter freestyle relay.
"I was crying with happiness," she said. "They were bittersweet tears. We beat a county record. I was upset because it means my time on high school swimming is almost over."
Frick enjoyed "going out with a bang."
"We had a lot of adrenalin," Frick said. "We didn't expect to win the 200-meter medley. That got us going. We were very fast and it carried over to the rest of the meet."
Switching things up seemed to make the difference in the 200 freestyle. Freshman Charlie Trinco swam breaststroke, not backstroke. Fricke swam the breaststroke instead of freestyle. Scheidl did the breaststroke, not the freestyle. Cecere stuck with butterfly.
Cecere took the butterfly in a record time of 1:03.74. Emily Miles of West Morris had the previous best time (1:04.13).
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