Senior Swimmers Lead Tigers in CAL

Lower Cape swim captains, from left, Samantha Downes, Mark Ryan, and Iris Sanchez are proving to be quality leaders for their team. Outside of the pool, they excel as students.

During the 2016-2017 season, Britney O’Donnell, Lower Cape May Regional High School's swim coach for both the boys and girls teams, had a premonition for the Tigers.

She felt that one day, Samantha Downes, Mark Ryan and Iris Sanchez, all from the class of 2020, would become team captains.

Turns out, she was right.

“All three of my captains have been on the swim team since their freshman year and have received a varsity [letter] all four years,’’ said O’Donnell. “Since their freshman year, they have shown their dedication to the sport and their drive to get better every day.

“I knew early on in their high school swimming careers that they would be captains for their senior season. Sam Downes was also a captain for her junior season.’’

Individually, all three captains have demonstrated the ability, willingness and dedication needed to improve in their respective events.

“All three of them have posted personal best times in their events this season,’’ said O'Donnell. “Although it is definitely not their favorite event, Iris and Sam have swam the 100 Butterfly a lot this season because they are the only two girls that can complete this event.

“Always putting the team first is just another reason I knew they would be great captains. Mark has dropped over five seconds in his number one event, the 100 Breaststroke.’’

Out of the water, all of the captains are successful at their desks.

“They are in honors classes, members of the National Honor Society, and involved in multiple sports and clubs,’’ said O'Donell. “They are very well rounded student-athletes.’’

Besides being excellent swimmers and students, O’Donnell is proud of how her captains interact with their teammates.

“They are some of our biggest cheerleaders,’’ she said. “They support the team and help to motivate all their teammates. I can always count on them to help run a set during practice if I am preoccupied by other issues on the team.’’

Lower Cape May will participate in the South Jersey Invitational Meet Jan. 25 at Gloucester County Institute of Technology, in Sewell. The Tigers will also compete in the Cape Atlantic League (CAL) Championships Jan. 30 at the Dr. Martin Luther King Junior School Complex, in Atlantic City.