Graham Chatoor shined in the University Athletic Association Swimming and Diving Championships by setting new pool, meet and team records, establishing himself as one of the top long-distance swimmers in the nation. He earned two berths at nationals, where he is seeded second in the 1650-yard freestyle and ninth in the 500-yard freestyle.
A CAS first-year from Glencoe, Trinidad and Tobago, he has been a welcome addition to the NYU swimming team. Standing at 6 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 160 pounds, Chatoor has greatly strengthened a team that was looking to build off of last year’s successful season, when it ranked third out of the eight teams in the UAA and eighth out of the 25 teams in the NCAA’s Division III.
At the UAA Swimming and Diving Championships held at the University of Chicago on Feb. 13, Chatoor emerged as a star after a quiet first half of the season. His two most notable performances came in the 1,000-yard and 1,650-yard freestyle where he clocked in at 9:16.61 and 15:24.13, respectively.
“It was just so shocking,” Chatoor said about his record-breaking performance. “As soon as I touched the edge, I looked at the board and saw that I had won. It turns out I out-touched the other guy by like 0.6 seconds. Everyone there was going absolutely crazy and one of the coaches just started jumping up and down.”
However, this kind of success is nothing new for Chatoor, who is a four-time finalist at the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Federation Swimming Championships and a champion of the Caribbean Free Trade Association Swimming Competition.
Chatoor attributes his growth as a swimmer this year to the support of his coaches and teammates. He said that the new experience of competing on the collegiate level is not easy, but his teammates have made all the difference.
“I just love the camaraderie we all have,” Chatoor said. “They’ll always cheer you up if you have a bad race, which happens. But the best is when they encourage you during the race. At UAAs they were all by the side of the pool screaming at the top of their lungs and I love that.”
Chatoor brings the same drive and determination he has in the pool to the classroom. Currently studying Politics in CAS, he hopes to become an attorney one day.
When asked about his transition from the sunny island of Trinidad to New York City, Chatoor made it clear that it hasn’t been a walk in the park for him.
“I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to the weather,” Chatoor said. “But I really love the independence and freedom that comes with living here. I also had to get used to the coaching adjustments. There are no dual meets here and I’ve been doing a lot of lifting which I wasn’t used to.”
The team is now preparing for the final stretch of this year’s season and hopes to make a splash at the National Championships which will be held on March 20 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Chatoor is determined to build off of his performance in the Regional UAA Championships and put the league on notice at this year’s biggest competition.
A version of this article appears in the Monday, March 11, 2019, print edition. Email Nico Davidoff at [email protected]