McChesney, Battagliese steer Hillsborough swimming to state sectional title

In the girls’ swimming pool, Jordan McChesney is a sprinter.

Her coach at Hillsborough High School, Todd Sudol, recognized that from the first time he saw her swim a lap as a freshman.

Katie Battagliese is not a sprinter. As an underclassman, Battagliese stepped up to swim any time Sudol needed a body.

She didn’t care which stroke it was. She didn’t even think about that. Now, after so many varsity reps with so many different strokes, Battagliese is a complete swimmer.

“Doing different strokes boosted my confidence,” she said.

In their own ways, both swimmers were essential to Sudol’s lineup this winter. McChesney owned the sprints and Battagliese stepped up in a variety of races.

On Feb. 14 at the Neptune Aquatics Center in Neptune City, the duo guided Hillsborough to the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group A sectional championship. Hillsborough beat Hunterdon Central Regional High School, 96-74, to earn its fourth consecutive state sectional title.

McChesney, true to form, helped the Raiders win four freestyle events at the Group A meet. The senior finished first in the 50-meter freestyle (24.70) and in the 100-meter freestyle (52.73). She also anchored winning units in the 200-meter freestyle relay and in the 400-meter freestyle relay.

“Jordan has a very efficient freestyle stroke,” Sudol said. “Combine that with her power and speed, and it makes her the ideal sprinter.”

Battagliese, also true to form, triumphed in two different strokes at the sectional championship. The junior took first in the 100-meter backstroke (1:01.21) and in the 200-meter freestyle (1:58.01).

“Katie always finds a way to come up big in close races,” Sudol said. “She has a lot of endurance and always pushes in the back half of her events.”

Hillsborough’s team season ended a week after the sectional meet, on Feb. 21 at the Passaic County Technical Institute in Wayne. In the NJSIAA Public A semifinals, Hillsborough fell to the state power, Bridgewater-Raritan High School, 122-48. 

It was the last team meet of McChesney’s career. The senior will likely continue her career at the collegiate level.

A lot of coaches are recruiting her. After attending Hillsborough’s practices and meets, they usually tell Sudol they like what they see. 

McChesney should have her choice of schools. But she does not have a favorite as of now.

“Wherever she decides to go, the team will be lucky,” Sudol said. “She will get faster and faster.” 

But McChesney is one of just three seniors in Sudol’s program. Every other key contributor will be back next winter, including Battagliese.

The junior will try to lead the Raiders to a five peat in the sectional championship meet. Battagliese will have plenty of help, too, like she did this year.

Sophomore Danielle D’Ambrosio won the 100-meter butterfly against Hunterdon Central, finishing in 59.78. D’Ambrosio also led off Hillsborough’s victorious races in the 200 and 400-meter freestyle relays.

Junior Skylar Ward placed first in the 500-meter freestyle with a time of 5:15.63. Ward also swam third during Hillsborough’s freestyle relay victories.

With so much talent back, the Raiders should enter the season with championship expectations yet again.

“I’m feeling super confident,” Battagliese said. “I think next year we’ll be in the same place.” 

“There is a lot of pride, history and tradition on the swim team,” Sudol said. “I know that is always a motivating factor.”