The Sea Colony Sharks finished their season this past weekend with a strong showing at the Delmarva Swim Association Championships meet in Dover.
The team, represented by 39 swimmers who met qualifying time cuts to compete at the league-wide meet, finished ninth overall, with 420 points, and dropped a combined 67.41 seconds from previous best times.
Three Sea Colony swimmers came home with individual gold medals, finishing first in the blue division. The league divides the 23 member teams into three divisions — blue, red and white — according to each team’s showing at the previous summer’s championship meet.
Josie Swagart, 10, completed her 25-yard breaststroke event with a personal best time of 20.45 seconds to take home the gold for 9- to 10-year-old girls and earn her team 16 points. Swagart, who was seeded eighth, went on to finish third overall.
Brody Lynch, 8, won the 7- to 8-year-old boys’ 25-yard breaststroke event with a personal best time of 23.46 seconds, earning the team 16 points. Assistant coach Becca Webb added that Lynch’s win was particularly significant, as he started the meet seeded ninth and finished second overall in the breaststroke event, just 0.49 seconds shy of first place.
Anna Mumford, 7, earned her team 16 points when she finished first in the 7- to 8-year-old girls’ 25-yard butterfly event, with a time of 23.75 seconds. Mumford, who was favored to win, was also the only Sea Colony swimmer of the meet to finish first overall in an event.
Other noteworthy swims included a second-place finish from both the girls’ 11- to 12-year old 200-yard freestyle relay and the boys’ 7- to 8-year-old 100-yard freestyle relay. Walker Devine, 9, finished third in his 25-yard butterfly and 25-yard freestyle; Brody Lynch finished third in his 25-yard freestyle; Logan Riggione, 7, finished second in his 25-yard freestyle and third in his 25-yard butterfly; and Brayden Trout, 10, finished third in his 25-yard breaststroke.
Evan Davis, 13; Walker Devine, 9; Sanne Elling, 11; Brooke Kenyon, 11; Sean Lamiman, 8; Megan Raines, 10; Morgan Riggione, 10; Ella Suozzi-Auberry, 12; Kaitlyn Troiano, 7; Brayden Trout; and Sam Yenovkian, 10, all placed in the top five in at least one of their individual events.
Head coach Janna Schneider said that almost every swimmer swam at least one personal best time, adding that some even swam a best time in all of their events. She also said that many swimmers and relays finished within the top five in their events, adding significantly to the team’s point total.
Assistant coach Johanne Danver noted that one of the unique benefits of swimming in a championship meet is that Sea Colony swimmers get to compete against some of the fastest young swimmers on Delmarva. She said that, even if it means getting beaten by another swimmer, having the opportunity to swim against fast competitors only serves to make everyone else in the race swim faster.
Although big meets like the DSA Championships can bring with them a stomach full of butterflies for anxious swimmers, assistant coach Cathy Gallagher said that the Sharks used “team love” to overcome the nerves.
Gallagher also said that she “loved all of the best times and evidence of hard work. Even if it wasn’t a best time, it was a really good looking swim for the kid, and they weren’t far off from their best time.”
Following the championship meet, the Sharks gathered on Sunday for their annual end-of-season banquet to celebrate six weeks of hard work, fast swims and friendships.
Danver said that the Sea Colony team is particularly unique because it comprises both local swimmers and kids who only live in the Bethany Beach area during the summer.
“You have kids coming from all over, from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Baltimore and the D.C. metro area,” she said. “Lifelong friendships are created between kids who would have never met one another had they not swum for us.”
During the banquet, coaches recognized swimmers who demonstrated outstanding effort and positive attitudes with the annual “Shark Award,” which is traditionally awarded to two swimmers from each age group.
This year, coaches said that because they had such a difficult time deciding who to give the awards to, they added two new recognitions. In all, 11 swimmers were named the “most improved” swimmers in their respective age groups, and two swimmers were named the team “powerhouses” for their fierce competiveness and grit.
Sharks swimmers, parents and coaches will now take a break before beginning pre-season practices in October. To swim for the team this winter, prospective Shark families should call the Freeman Fitness Center at (302) 539-4511 or email Mike Pitts at Michael.Pitts@resortquest.com.