By Alex Lippa
---- — After Michael Horgan lost his battle with cancer last year at the age of 63, his friends and family sought to find a way to honor him.
They decided that since he was avid member of the city’s swimming community, there was only one way to properly pay respect to him.
“We see a lot of fundraisers like road races and bike races,” said Melissa Cerasuolo-Lachance. “But there aren’t really any swim meets.”
Cerasuolo-Lachance is one of the creators of the annual Michael J. Horgan Memorial Swim Meet, which began last year. The meet raises money for scholarships for two local swimmers in Horgan’s memory.
Horgan held many positions at the Bradford Swim Club. He would often officiate and organize swim meets which Haverhill High participated in.
He was a member of the Haverhill Recreation Department and the Haverhill YMCA swim team, and served as president of the Summer Aquatic League and the Eastern Massachusetts Swimming Officials Association. He was also a member of St. James Church.
“He was a prominent person in the swimming community around Haverhill,” said Cerasuolo-Lachance. “He was a wonderful man we had all known for so long. “
Horgan had two children, Greg and Allyson. Both went to Haverhill High School and Allyson ended up swimming at Boston College, while Greg swam at Catholic University in Washington, D.C.
The meet will be held Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Haverhill High School pool. It will feature nine races. The 200-yard freestyle race will be the showcase event. Gift certificates will be handed out for the winners of both an adults’ race and a children’s race.
Organizers hope they can build off the successful turnout at last year’s inaugural meet.
“We got a huge turnout last year,” Cerasuolo-Lachance said. “We had 250 people at the swim meet and 70 people swam. We raised a good amount of money and had a good time remembering our childhood.”
Cerasuolo-Lachance said there is small group of people who began swimming in various pools around the area while growing up. This event gives them an opportunity to rekindle some of the memories from years ago, she said.
“It’s fun reconnecting with the swimming world,” she said. “We talk about how hard it is getting up at 6 a.m. and being in the pool for 3 hours a day.”
Last year, Alyssa Nelson and Steven Maura of Haverhill both received scholarships from money raised at the memorial meet, but only five people applied for the scholarships. This year, the organizing committee hopes more students will apply. High school senior swimmers around the region are eligible for the scholarship.
“We tried to get the info out to all the high schools, but we didn’t get many applications last year,” said Cerasuolo-Lachance. “This year, hopefully we will get more interest in scholarships. We want to make sure we are giving it to well deserving kids. We are looking for 50 applications this year ....”
Registration for the meet is $25 and all proceeds will go toward the scholarships. Each swimmer will receive a long sleeve t-shirt, as well as a bathing cap. Non-swimmers are asked to give a $10 donation. Registration is online at www.mikehorganswimmeet.org.