Sussex Academy girls’ swimming hopes to defend Henlopen title

Boys’ swimming looks to get back into conference conversation
December 7, 2023

As dawn breaks in the County Seat during the frigid mornings of late fall and into winter, a group of athletes has already been at it for a while inside the Sussex Academy Aquatics Center.

The swim teams practice when most high schoolers, including their competition, are nestled snugly in bed. It’s what champions do, and the Henlopen Conference Champion girls' team has no plans to relinquish such a title. The boys may not have been crowned champions, but are certainly eager to work their way into the conversation.

Sussex Academy’s girls' swim team won the conference title for the second season in a row last year. 

“The girls need to trust in the fact that they are one of the best teams in the state,” said coach Tom Martiner. “We graduated three last year, but we also have an influx of very talented kids. Our depth as well as our star power will enable us to pursue another undefeated season.”

The girls have gone undefeated for three straight regular seasons. Martiner believes it would be a disappointment to not repeat as regular season and conference meet champions, but his goals are much higher.

“Last year, we finished ninth in the state, and we are shooting for top five this year,” he said.

One swimmer to keep an eye on is University of Rhode Island commit Gracie Maughan, but the team also features the likes of Itzel Gomez Sanchez, Victoria Evans and newcomer Anna Mumford.

“We have a strong team again this season, and even though we lost a few girls, I think we have a really good group again,” Maughan said, adding that Mumford will bring a new presence to their distance swimming.

Last season snapped the boys’ Henlopen Conference Championship winning streak, but Martiner believes it’s time to start another streak.

“Last year, only one senior graduated and we had an influx of new kids. We’ll be establishing depth,” Martiner said.

Junior Matthew Perchiniak is optimistic about the flexibility of the young squad.

“I think we can all do different strokes, and we have a versatile young group of boys that do them all well,” Perchiniak said.

The school and team are smaller than some of the competition, but Perchiniak said his coach puts the lads in a position to succeed.

“I think it’s a great environment. I wouldn’t trade anything for our morning practices,” Perchiniak said.

Martiner believes his teams have the type of character that breeds success.

“This is a highly competitive group; however, what excites me is their inclusion and friendships,” he said. “They both push each other to be better and support each other both in and out of the pool. Each person checks their ego in the locker room and is appreciated for the unique qualities that they bring to the group.” 

Sussex Academy’s swim teams open up the season at home against Sussex Tech at 3:30 p.m., Friday Dec. 8.


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