(Dec. 5, 2014) Steve Deakyne has joined Damien Sanzotti as coach of the Stephen Decatur swim teams.
Although the squads train together, Deakyne is head coach of the Lady Seahawks, while Sanzotti leads the boys’ team for the third season.
“I’m really excited to join the program. I don’t know many of the swimmers, but I’m excited to get to know them and to have a good swim season,” Deakyne, a physics teacher at Decatur, said. He has been a member of the Sea Colony Beach Patrol in Bethany Beach, Del. for about eight years. Deakyne has also worked and trained both male and female junior lifeguards.
“Coaching the girls team is definitely new to me,” he said, “I think I’m still finding my coaching style. I’m definitely laid back, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have high expectations for the athletes.”
Forty swimmers (20 boys and 20 girls) are participating this year.
“So far, [swimmers] have been diligent and hard working during practice and both teams show great potential and should have a great season,” Sanzotti said.
Even though the season just started Nov. 15, Sanzotti said there is already team unity, the swimmers’ work ethic is high and they are eager to learn.
“There is an unbelievable amount of potential on both teams,” he said.
Approximately a dozen boys and about 14 girls competed last season.
The Lady Seahawks were unstoppable last year. They went undefeated, 10-0, during dual meets and captured their second consecutive 3A/2A/1A East Regional title. The squad finished eighth at states.
“I’m inheriting a very good team,” Deakyne said. “I think we’re going to have a really good season.”
The girls’ team only lost two swimmers to graduation so a core group is back to compete.
Returning to the pool is senior Carly Deickman, 2014 regional champion in the 100-yard breaststroke.
Deickman, a four-year team member said she hopes to lead the girls’ squad with her experience. This season, she plans to swim the breaststroke, 200 IM, 200-yard medley relay and 400-yard freestyle relay events.
“Hopefully I can help [teammates] with their strokes and anything else because I’ve been swimming for 10 years, and just motivate them,” she said. “The girls’ team is going to be really strong this year. I hope it will be the best year because it’s my last year.”
Also returning is senior Madison Tinus, 2014 100-yard freestyle regional champion, who will also swim in the 50 freestyle, and junior Hailey Williams (200 and 500 freestyle). Marley Rakow, a junior, (100 freestyle, backstroke) and seniors Molly Wooten (100 butterfly, backstroke) and Maria Zweifel (200IM) are veterans. They were members of last year’s 200-yard freestyle regional champion team.
Sanzotti said newcomer Stephanie Smith, a senior, is a welcomed addition to the squad.
The Decatur boys’ team finished 5-5 in dual meet competition last year. The squad took third at regionals and tied for 11th at states.
Five of the six seniors who competed in the state championship meet were major contributors last year. Despite graduating several strong swimmers, the team returns a number of talented athletes including seniors Dalton Warren (100-yard backstroke) and Chris Poole (50- and 100-yard freestyle).
“This year is definitely a building year. We lost a lot of really good seniors,” said Warren, a member of the team since his freshman year. “Having experience helps me lead by example in the pool because the freshmen swimmers don’t really have any competitive experience at all.”
Warren will race in the backstroke event and possibly the medley relay and 200IM.
“Everyone needs to pitch in because we don’t have as much depth as we’ve had in the past,” he said. “Everyone needs to be working hard.”
Newcomer, freshman Kevin Williams will compete in the breaststroke, and fellow first-timer, junior Andrew Gottfried will participate in the butterfly and IM.
Sanzotti said he will look to the seniors to lead both squads.
“We want to get as many practices in as we can and see who really steps up as team leaders,” he said.
Sanzotti said he would like to see the boys’ team win a regional title, which, he added, will be quite a challenge, and for the girls to repeat as champions for the third consecutive year.
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