Senior Derek Peabody leaves his mark as a KSC school-record holder


Michelle Berthiaume

Social Media Director
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On the pool deck at Keene State College, high up in the corner, hanging from a wall, is a list.

This list reads the names of KSC swimmers and divers that currently hold school records.

Senior Derek Peabody is new to this list.

The graphic design major set a school record for 11 dive meets with a score of 395.90 on Feb. 11, 2012 at the NEISDA Diving Championships.

“You don’t have many opportunities to break this record. It’s an 11-dive meet record. And we only have one or two 11-dive meets a season,” Peabody said. “This record means a good amount to me. I thought I broke it last year and it turned out I didn’t. So I am glad I finally got it this year.”

The previous record was set by Zach Hastings in 2004 with a score of 366.90.

Following Peabody’s record-breaking performance, he spoke with the former record holder.

“He helped out as an assistant coach this year and I dove with him my freshman and sophomore year. We were pretty close. He said congratulations. He was happy I got it,” Peabody said. KSC Swimming and Diving Head Coach, Jack Fabian, credited Peabody’s work ethic for helping him break the record.

“Derek’s work ethic is very strong. He’s good in his studies. He’s diligent at being a captain. And he is very focused on his dives. He picks the dives that are hard enough so he can score those points,” Fabian said. He added, “I think he just had a great performance at that meet. Just like any kind of musician, all of the sudden all the practice came together and he was just on stage out there. It really was a beautiful thing to watch; it came together perfectly for him.”

Derek Peabody now joins a very elite group of Keene State College athletes: the record breakers. There’s something very special about this group of people.

Not only did they break a school record, but most of them still hold onto that school record, despite the ever growing talent pool that comes through KSC each year.

One may ask, what makes these athletes special?

“A record breaker has to have a goal. For example, Cody Larrimore, one of my great first-class swimmers, walked in as freshman and he said, ‘I want my name on that board,’” Fabian said. “By the end of his freshman year, he had broken the record he wanted.”

Fabian continued, “That’s someone who came in with a specific goal. When somebody broke his record, he worked extra hard to break it again.”

Larrimore still holds six school records and occupies a good portion of the record board located in the pool area.

Another remarkable Keene State record breaker is Michelle Mason from the 2005 graduating class.

Not only did Mason break a record in one sport, she broke records in two sports, soccer and lacrosse.

“I think that you need to be a bit fearless if you want to break records,” Mason said. “You need to be really competitive, hard-working.”

Mason continued, “You need to want to be the best one out on that field. You also need to be willing to go the extra mile. You need to be the one to take the last shot, stay after practice, do anything it takes.”

Mason is now the head lacrosse coach at Iona University, a Division I program. “As a coach, you have to trust what you’re doing and saying. I think it’s helpful to have a little backing to it by being the type of player I was. But not every great coach was a good player and not every great player is a good coach,” Mason said.

Keene State Track and Field Throwing Coach, John Napolitano, knows what record breakers are made of.

“Most of the record breakers that I’ve coached have all had what I call the five D’s: dedication, desire, drive, discipline, and determination. Above all that, they have a nasty must win attitude that drives them through,” Napolitano said.

He added, “I think that they have a gene or a trait where winning is just not enough. They want to be remembered forever. And they want to push themselves so that they are remembered forever.” Before any of these athletes broke Keene State records, they were right where Keene State junior thrower Glenn Guillmette is right now.

“I have a kid on my team right now, Glenn Guillmette, who throws the javelin, and came in fifth place in the country last year. But he was so angry that he didn’t break the school record. It’s another thing that he wants to achieve. And if he does achieve it, he will feel satisfied,” Napolitano said. Michelle Mason stresses to her players that it’s not always about breaking the record.

“For athletes that are almost at that point, I would say keep plugging. Play your game. And be mindful that all that really matters is that you go out there and perform. And that breaking the record is something great that comes from all of the hard work you’ve put in,” Mason said.

Napolitano also said that sometimes the thought of breaking the record gets inside some athletes’ heads.

“It’s another level of pressure for these kids, especially college kids,” Napolitano said. “Sometimes they can get too focused on the number itself as opposed to their performance for that meet.”

Napolitano continued, “When you start to put a certain number in your head and you don’t meet it a few weeks in a row, it can take its toll on you mentally.”

“I never thought about the fact that I was breaking records. My coaches didn’t really cue me in until afterwards. I think when a coach or a teammate cues someone in that they are about to break the record, it puts extra pressure on them. It can often cause a player to have one of those games that they wish they didn’t have,” Mason said.

Most Keene State College record breakers wanted to be remembered forever when they broke their respective records. Even if they aren’t remembered forever, their record-breaking performance is something they will never forget.


Michelle Berthiaume can be contacted at

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