The Sea Colony pools are infested with sharks… the youth swim team, that is. The Sea Colony Sharks, boasting 105 members between the ages of five to 18, are preparing to send their top performers, 44 of whom qualified, to the annual Delmarva Swim Association (DSA) Championships in Dover this Saturday.
The young swimmers will hope to return with some honorable scores, following last Sunday’s impressive showing at the Marlin Junior Championships at the University of Maryland, Eastern Shore.
With a limited number of qualifying places at the DSA Championships, from 23 teams, the Marlin Junior Championship provides the opportunity for others to shine, and the sharks did just that. Under the watchful eye of head coach Alexa Thorton, 13 swimmers from the team came home with 40 trophies, spanning a number of different events. The Sharks’ very own Troy Cabetes and Christian Yandle even finished as highpoint award winners, netting the highest cumulative score, based on finishes in their events for their age group.
“There’s so much out there for the kids these days,” said Thorton, “and they are all great swimmers. There’s something nice for everyone, and these competitions let them know how incredible they are.” First-year coach Thorton knows a thing or two about the water, too, as she took on her role this May, after working as an assistant three prior summers. As a member of the YMCA in York, Pa., and a graduate of Millersville University in Pennsylvania, she found herself drawn to the water. “I’ve always enjoyed swimming,” she said, “and it’s a lot of fun to be out there now with the kids.”
Over the past five years, the Sea Colony Sharks have been teaching and training ambitious youths through a community-based program, developing sportsmanship and skills to excel and compete in events. “We’re now becoming one of the better swim teams in the DSA league,” said assistant coach, Lisa Hertz. “Last year, we finished seventh out of the 23 teams, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we got fourth this year.” Members of the Sea Colony team span from all around the tri-state area, but are also compiled of local athletes too. According to Thorton, 75 percent of the swimmers on the team are from the Bethany Beach and surrounding areas, including Ocean View and Roxana.
With dual meets, invitationals and a handful of other competitions each year, the Sea Colony Sharks had plenty of practice, and finished 5-3 this summer season, which ran from mid-June through the end of July. Practices continued this week, leading up to the DSA Championship, as the Sharks took to the Sea Colony pool for training each day from 7 until 9 a.m. Thirty-one of the 44 swimmers will each compete in four different events, the maximum allowed for each entrant. Like the Marlin Junior Championship, swimmers will be awarded based on their individual finishing as well as a cumulative point system for events in which they participate. There are 76 events, spanning a wide range of age brackets, for both boys and girls.
The DSA Championship will be held at the Dover YMCA on Saturday, Aug. 2, starting at 8:30 a.m. Based on personal records and times, Thorton is looking forward to this weekend’s event. “I’m confident that we have some swimmers that are going to place and win in their division,” she said. The Sharks will even face last year’s champs, the mid-Delmarva YMCA. “We’ve swam against some of the more competitive teams in the league this year and put up some great times.”