Carol Chidester of Edgewater was a swimming coach to her final days.
Chidester, the Navy Juniors senior age-group coach who died Monday at age 49 after a long battle with cancer, was directing workouts as recently as three weeks ago. She worked with Navy Juniors head coach Mike Schofield for nine years and previously coached summer youth teams for more than 10 years.
"Carol said she wanted to prolong her quality of life as long as she could," Schofield said. If continuing to coach shortened the length of her life but improved the quality, she would do it. Working with those kids was near and dear to her heart."
Even when she was hospitalized, Chidester would check out at 4 and conduct workouts with an IV in her arm then return to the hospital.
A mother of four, Chidester specialized in the backstroke, setting many national Masters records in age groups from 30-34 to 45-49.
In February 1993, she competed in the Maryland Masters Winter Meet at UMBC after a round of chemotherapy.
"She sat huddled in towels and a sweat suit, looking pale and drawn," said fellow swimmer Lynne Bragg. "Then she got in and swam the 200 backstroke. She did it on sheer will."