(Dec. 7, 2018) Although the Stephen Decatur boys’ and girls’ swim teams are smaller in numbers this year than last season, both squads are stacked with veterans and experienced athletes.
“The team is well-rounded this year. Even though we have less swimmers this year, we have a number of swimmers who excel at each stroke,” said Steve Deakyne, coach of the Decatur boys’ team. “This year’s team will be a scrappy, hardworking group of swimmers with an equal amount of upper and lowerclassmen.”
There are 15 boys participating this year. Ten of them competed last season.
“The team is smaller this year, but our strength will be in our diversity,” said Mary Hathaway, coach of the Decatur girls’ squad. “The girls have been working hard in the offseason and are looking great for this early in the season.”
Of the 15 Lady Seahawks on Hathaway’s roster, all but two were on the team last year.
Both Decatur squads were successful last year.
The boys’ team finished with an 8-1 record, going undefeated against Maryland schools. They also captured the 3A/2A/1A East Region title.
“We are the defending regional champions and are hopeful to be in the running again this year,” Deakyne said. “It has only been a couple weeks, but everyone has been working hard and we are definitely seeing improvements across the board.”
Deakyne, now in his fifth year as coach, said he is very excited for the season.
“We have a great group of swimmers and I am looking forward to watching them grow and progress throughout the season,” he said. “We graduated six seniors last year. We are hoping that our new and returning swimmers will be able to step up and fill that void.”
He will count on his captains – senior Chase Deickman and junior Richard Poist – as well as the upperclassmen and veterans to lead the team to success.
Deickman will most likely compete in the 100-yard and 50-yard freestyle, and Poist in the 100-yard butterfly, as far as individual events.
“I’m excited this year to find out how we’re going to do. I think we have a strong team so far,” Deickman, a four-year swimmer, said. “Everyone has a certain goal and I want them to exceed that goal. Some of the guys have been on the team before and I want them to do better than they did last year. Hopefully, I can help motivate and encourage them.
“I think this is going to be my best year so far,” he continued. “I’m in better shape than last year and motivated to do better.”
Also returning are sophomores Jack Slaysman (200IM and 100-yard breaststroke) and Patrick O’Halloran (200IM) and senior Wyatt Sperry (500-yard freestyle).
Sophomore Caleb Vaxmonsky is a new addition and will race in the 500-yard freestyle and 100-yard backstroke.
There are also 15 female swimmers participating this season.
“We did lose some top contributors and some senior leadership, but the girls are really stepping up and it should be another successful season for us,” Hathaway said.
The Seahawks went 8-2 last season. The squad finished second in the regional championship and ninth overall at states. The boys’ team came in 18th out of 28 at states.
“Last year, we were second in the region and I would like to reach that level, if not better this year,” Hathaway said. “I am excited for the season and to see what this small, but mighty girls’ team can do.”
She will look to senior captains Kirsten Graham and Allison Hunter to lead the team this year, both on the sidelines and in the pool.
“Both girls placed individually at states last year and should do the same this year,” Hathaway said. “Kirsten will focus on the 100 fly and 100 back and Allison will be swimming the 500 free and 100 breaststroke.”
“We don’t have as many people as we did last year, but we are definitely very strong. I like to say that we’re small in numbers, but big in strength,” Hunter, a four-year swimmer, said. “I want to lead the team by motivating, giving pointers if anyone needs help with their strokes, things like that, and just try to bring the team closer together doing things outside the pool.”
The only new additions to the team are freshmen Farrah Brown and Gracie Coker.
“We only have two freshmen girls, but both have been swimming for awhile and are going to add to our success,” Hathaway, now in her fourth year as coach, said. “I am not sure what our two freshmen will swim yet, but [the] new additions … will bring depth to the team.”
Decatur kicks off the season, Tuesday, Dec. 11, against Kent County at 3:30 p.m. at the Salisbury YMCA.