Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Uncharted Waters

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Uncharted Waters

Article excerpt

WAYNE -- Though the DePaul boys swim team was considered the favorite heading into Saturday's Passaic County Championships, second-year coach Jess Valdivia wasn't taking any chances.

Winning teams traditionally throw their coaches into the pool after being crowned champion, but Valdivia, admittedly a little superstitious, left her extra set of clothes in the car.

She's not too much of a scoreboard watcher, either, but about halfway through Saturday's meet, she couldn't resist. She knew she and her Spartans team were on the precipice of making history.

All the superstitions in the world couldn't have stopped this year's DePaul squad, as it ran away with the program's first county title (boys or girls) in the meet's six-year existence. The Spartans put up 362 points, while Wayne Valley finished a distant second, with 277.

"Excited, overwhelmed and happy is how I feel right now," said a smiling Valdivia, seemingly ignoring the fact she still was soaking wet from the post-meet celebration in the water.

"There was always that thought we could win, but you really never know until you get here. I don't know how many times these kids came up to me and set new goals for themselves, gave themselves new times to hit, new records to break. I really couldn't be more pleased with them. We have so much depth on this team and that really shines through in meets like this."

Perhaps shining brightest was senior captain Matt Delaporte, who was a part of two relay-winning teams (200 medley and 400 freestyle), took first in the 500 freestyle (5:15.82) and finished second in the 100 breast stroke. Serving as the second leg in the 200 medley, Delaporte and the Spartans broke their own meet record, set last year, with a time of 1:44.25.

"We see that banner in the gym and it's been empty," said Delaporte, whose team missed out on a county title last year by eight points in a meet that came down to the final relay. …

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