Ocean City Today

Decatur swimmers head to states

Ten boys and seven girls to compete in championship competition this Saturday
By Managing Editor, Lisa Capitelli | Feb 22, 2018
Photo by: Lisa Capitelli Stephen Decatur swimmers who placed eighth or better during the 3A/2A/1A East Regional meet last Saturday at the Arundel Swim Center won rib- bons, which they displayed on Tuesday at the Sports Core pool in Ocean Pines. Seventeen Decatur swimmers – 10 boys and seven girls – will compete in the state meet this Saturday at Eppley Recreation Center on the University of Maryland-College Park campus.

(Feb. 23, 2018) After coming in second or third place over the past five years, the Stephen Decatur boys’ swim team finally brought a regional title back to Berlin last Saturday.

“It was awesome. Almost all the times were faster than their seed times – relay and individual,” Decatur Coach Steve Deakyne said. “We had a number of firsts and if we weren’t first we were usually in the top three.”

Deakyne said Easton led after the first event of the 3A/2A/1A East Regional meet, but then Decatur took over and never looked back.

“It was relatively close for the most part, but the gap kept getting wider as the meet went on,” he said. “I felt pretty confident going in, looking at the seedings, and that we had beat Easton during the season. I knew if we did what we’re capable of we should win.”

Decatur scored 364 points in the victory. It was the first time the Seahawks have won a regional title since 2012. They were back-to-back champions in 2011 and 2012. Since then, the squad came in second place in 2013, 2015 and 2017, and third in 2014 and 2016.

Easton finished in second place last Saturday at the Arundel Swim Center, scoring 327 points. Queen Anne’s took third with 276.

“I’m proud of how everybody swam,” Deakyne said. “The majority had they best times, which shows how hard they’ve been working lately.”

The top-three finishers in each regional event automatically advanced to the 3A/2A/1A state championship, scheduled for Saturday at Eppley Recreation Center on the University of Maryland-College Park campus. Individual competitors or relay teams that had the next top-12 statewide times during regional meets also qualified for the championship.

Seventeen Decatur swimmers – 10 boys and seven girls – will compete at states.

Nine Decatur male swimmers automatically advance to states because of their top-three performances in individual and/or relay races.

Senior captain Kevin Williams won the 100-yard breaststroke (1:07.40) and placed second in the 200-yard freestyle (2:03.28).

Junior Chase Deickman was victorious in the 100-yard freestyle (54.53 seconds) and freshman Jack Slaysman outswam his competition in the 200IM (2:20.15). Slaysman came in second in the 100-yard breaststroke (1:08.61).

Sophomore Richard Poist took first in the 100-yard butterfly (1:00.50) and third in the 100-yard backstroke (1:03.92).

Freshman Patrick O’Halloran finished third in the 200IM (2:26.34), as did senior Ryan Duncan in the 100-yard butterfly (1:03.07).

Sophomore Hunter Grunewald joined Poist, Slaysman and Deickman for the 400-yard freestyle relay race. The boys won in 3:43.61.

Poist, Williams, Duncan and Deickman placed second in the 200-yard medley relay race (1:50.29).

Slaysman, Duncan, senior Liam Deck and senior captain Hayden Zaiser were runner-up in the 200-yard freestyle relay event (1:39.27).

Poist and Slaysman will both participate in four events at states.

“I think it’s pretty exciting. I did pretty well,” Poist said. “After a season of hard work and dedication to the practices, it’s nice to see it pay off.”

His goal this season has been to win the 100 butterfly and he was happy to accomplish it.

He knows he will face strong competition in his individual events, so he hopes to help the relay teams bring home ribbons at states.

Slaysman also thought he performed well at regionals and was excited to win the 200IM.

“At the beginning it was close, but at the end I beat him by five seconds,” he said.

Slaysman said he is looking forward to his state meet debut and admitted he is both nervous and excited.

Junior Wyatt Sperry came in fifth in the 500-yard freestyle, but his time of 5:59.38 was good enough to qualify him for the state meet.

Grunewald and freshman Luke Crisanti finished fifth in the 100-yard backstroke (1:07.99) and 200-yard freestyle (2:10.63), respectively, and have been named alternates in those events.

Easton won the girls’ competition, racking up 359 points. Decatur scored 305 points for second place. Queen Anne’s rounded out the top three, recording 288 points.

“They did awesome. Every swimmer got PRs in almost every event,” Decatur Coach Mary Hathaway said. “The girls swam their hearts out. I’m really proud of them.”

Hathaway said it was a fun meet to coach and enjoyable to watch.

“This is what they’ve been building for all year. It was time to step up and they did,” she said. “It was a great day and they swam really well.”

Lady Seahawks who advanced to states for placing third or better in their individual events at regionals are: juniors Kirsten Graham (100-yard butterfly, second, 1:00.25; 100-yard backstroke, second, 1:02.91) and Allison Hunter (500-yard freestyle, second, 5:47.83) and freshman Alexis Rakow (100-yard backstroke, third, 1:04.27).

Rakow, Hunter, Graham and sophomore Kiley Hamby came in third in the 200-yard medley relay race (1:59.85).

Hunter, Graham, freshman Taylor Barrett and junior Abby Crisanti placed third in the 200-yard freestyle relay race (1:49.54).

Graham will compete in four state events.

“I think I did really well. All of my times including my relay splits were best times,” Graham said. “It’s great to see that I’m swimming my fastest at the end of the season, which is ideal.”

She is excited to make her third state appearance.

“I’m seeded second in the 100 fly, which is a really big accomplishment considering my freshman year I was pretty much seeded last,” she said.

Graham would like to break one minute in the event.

“I’m seeded fifth in backstroke. Last year, I placed sixth,” she said. “I’ve been doing backstroke faster now than I did last year, so it’s looking pretty good.”

Rakow, Crisanti and Barrett were joined by sophomore Mikayla Denault for the 400-yard freestyle relay event. The girls finished in third (4:10.61).

Crisanti is unable to attend the state meet, so Hamby will swim in her place in the relays.

All of the girls will participate in other events as well at states, because their regional times qualified them.

Swimmers and their events are: Barrett (200-yard freestyle, fourth, 2:13.22; 100-yard freestyle, sixth, 59.66 seconds), Hamby (200IM, fourth, 2:32.26), Denault (200IM, fifth, 2:32.44; 100-yard breaststroke, eighth, 1:19.82), Rakow (50-yard freestyle, sixth, 27.82 seconds) and Hunter (100-yard breaststroke, seventh, 1:18.97).

“I thought I did really well. I dropped three seconds in my 200 free and one second in my 100, which made me really happy, and then the relays we did really well and I also dropped time in both,” Barrett said.

In her state championship debut, Barrett will be swimming in four events. It is a big accomplishment to qualify in four events as a freshman, she added.

“My goal is to drop time in both my events and see if I can do better than I did at regionals,” Barrett said. “I’m very excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

To prepare for the state competition, this week the swimmers worked on starts, turns, fine-tuning and “the little things that can make a difference,” Deakyne said.

The girls’ team came in seventh and the boys’ squad finished in 23rd place last year at states. A number of swimmers recorded their best times of the season and several took home awards for placing top-eight.

Deakyne and Hathaway hope the teams can both crack the top 10 this year. They would also like to see swimmers recorded their fastest times for the year.


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