"SPA"tlight on—Ed Chilton
Head Pro at the Wilmington Country Club
Where did you grow up?
I was born in Wilmington (DE) and then bounced around between Greenwich (CT) and Atlanta (GA) for a few years. But I did most of my growing up on Martha's Vineyard Island (MA).
How did you get involved with squash?
I played just a few times at 15 years old in Falmouth (MA). I then played at Avon Old Farms School my senior year as they had just built courts that fall. I played tennis in college and didn't play squash again until I moved to Washington, DC. After having played tennis and racquetball in college, I really missed the game of squash. To fill the void I taught racquetball for a year and a half but it just wasn't the same as squash. I was lucky enough to get a teaching job at Capitol Hill Squash and Fitness Club soon after.
Did any other family members play? Children?
My wife, Ann, played at Princeton, and now currently plays doubles. My daughter Sawyer started playing tournaments two years ago and my son Kitchel plays a little, although prefers tennis. Two of my siblings played at Harvard and Yale, and two others play singles and doubles regularly.
Who was your first teacher?
My first real teachers were Wendy Lawrence and Howard Day in Washington, DC.
Do you still compete?
I still compete in doubles and a little in singles. I play a few ISDA events as well as several doubles nationals each year. I enjoy the competition and the camaraderie with the other players.
How long have you worked at the Wilmington CC?
I will finish up my 20th year on April first of this year. The club has been terrific and has done an amazing job of keeping all the facilities updated.
You have just launched the Delaware District Association, how do you see that affecting the growth of squash in DE?
I started the association with Todd Anderson, and our goal is to organize, promote, and preserve squash in the state. We want to better organize our existing events as well as to promote the game at the various facilities throughout the state. To do this we will have exhibitions, clinics, and events which will include both softball and hardball, singles and doubles. Our third goal is to preserve the history of Delaware squash and recognize the accomplishments of many of our players on the collegiate and national level, most notably squash hall of famer, Gretchen Spruance.
Among the others in the U.S., whom do you look to as the ideal teaching pro?
Over the years I have had the opportunity to talk and work with many teaching and playing professionals and hear their philosophies, and I am able to take different bits and pieces and incorporate them into my own teaching. Squash is a constant learning process.
Who is your favorite touring pro to watch?
Any pro that comes to Wilmington Country Club I enjoy watching. Every year I host the US Professional Squash Doubles Championship at Wilmington Country Club. This year we had Damien Mudge, Ben Gould Chris Walker, Mark Chaloner, Preston Quick, John Russell, Clive Leach, Matt Jenson among many others. Sorely missed were Viktor Berg, Gary Waite and many others.
Do you follow any other sports?
I love the playoffs of many sports. I am not a huge regular season sports follower as I think the real excitement begins with the playoffs. I just got into fantasy football this year so I learned many of the players names of many different teams. It made it far more interesting and worthwhile. I did win my fantasy league as a rookie!
What is your favorite shot to hit?
In singles I love to hit the overhead cross-court kill and in doubles I love the reverse corner.
What equipment do you use?
I am a big fan of the Harrow Vapor for singles and the Harrow Sting for Doubles. I use Ashaway Supernick XL Micro String and the Harrow Sneak squash shoes.