Those who knew Chuck Iacono knew at least one thing about him — he was a natural-born athlete. Chuck played Little League baseball, loved gymnastics, and was a great swimmer, diver and skier. He was incredibly strong and had great balance.

At Steinert High School, Chuck joined the football and swimming teams and made a big splash in both.

A three-year varsity football player and captain his senior year, Chuck’s leadership and athletic ability was always an important part of the teams’s success. Chuck was a fan of the annual Thanksgiving Game against Hamilton High West. During his senior year, Steinert was trailing West 20-0 and came back to win that game 21-20. Chuck, who passed away in 2010 at age 51, used to attend the annual rivalry game every year in his post-high school days.

Chuck spent a lot of time in the pool area during his time at Steinert. His focus and passion was mainly diving, but he also swam the butterfly stroke. His senior year he helped the Spartan swim team to a 10-5 record and he also set the school record for highest point total in a single meet for diving that season. A three-year participant, he was widely considered the best public school diver in Central Jersey during his senior year.

“Chuck was always up for the challenge of learning new dives,” former SHS swim coach Jim Barrett said. “He had no fear of the diving board, and learned quickly."

“We could always count on Chuck to bring the points needed to help our team, as he consistently finished first."

“The height he was able to achieve and speed of his spins was incredible, and was always impressive to the judges."

“Chuck was a force to be reckoned with on the diving board,” said teammate Jack Blair. “His strength, power and comfort on the board made him one of the most feared divers in Central Jersey. It was not unusual for him during practice to regularly be able to touch the ceiling to humor everyone. He was a unique combination of power and grace on the diving board. Combine that with his tremendous balance and fearlessness, and he was tough to beat.”

He credited Coach Barrett, as well as former Spartan football coaches Frank Lugossy and Steve Simek, for their guidance and coaching ability during his time at Steinert. He always looked to them for guidance and noted that they were influential in his development.

After Chuck graduated and started his family, he also helped coach and cheer his own children in sports. He encouraged them to play all kinds of sports and develop their own athletic abilities. His three children – Charles, Stephanie and Gina — were all excellent athletes in their own right, and participated in baseball, softball, wrestling, soccer and gymnastics.

He enjoyed the Jersey shore area and loved to fish. Family members and others marveled at his ability to walk on his hands for long periods of time, which also fascinated people.

He was married for 28 years to his high school sweetheart Lori Getek Iacono, who noted that “Chuck was not only a great athlete, but he also was a great guy and a great father!”

Photo: Accepting on behalf of the late Chuck Iacono are his children Charles and Stephanie.