KCHS swimming returns six state qualifiers, including school record holders Joiner and Martinez

CHESTERTOWN — Talent alone won’t necessarily guarantee Kent County High School a team victory in swimming this winter.

The Trojans — led by school record holders Mary Jane Joiner and Henry Martinez — have talent, but they don’t have depth.

KCHS has a modest roster of four girls and nine boys.

The Trojans aren’t able to fill every event on the girls side and aren’t able to fill every lane on the boys side.

Grayson Wise, who returns for the third year as head coach at her alma mater, said Kent County (0-2) has not been at full strength for either of its first two meets against Queen Anne’s and The Gunston School.

“We swim Easton on the 4th (of January), and I am expecting everyone to be at that meet,” she said.

Though Kent County has experience — there are seven returnees from last year — the team overall is young with 11 underclassmen. Ben Loller and Aaron Saunders are the only seniors.

Henry Martinez, who established school records in the 50 and 100 freestyle and 100 butterfly in a breakout sophomore season, and Isabelle “Izzy” Anderson are the only juniors. They were the team MVPs last year.

The other returnees are sophomores Mary Jane Joiner, the school record holder in the 100 fly and 200 free, Andy Messick and Lynden Saunders.

The other sophomore is Marta Maleo, an exchange student from Spain. She joins freshmen Liza Loller, Bjorn Birkmire, Tucker Ervin, Ben Hinton and Bryce Jacobs as the newcomers.

Martinez (50 freestyle, 100 free, 200 medley relay and 200 free relay), Joiner (200 free and 100 butterfly), Anderson (200 individual medley and 100 backstroke), Loller (200 medley and free relays), Aaron Saunders (200 IM, 100 back, 200 medley and free relays) and Lynden Saunders (500 free and 200 medley and free relays) were state qualifiers a year ago.

In the season opener against border rival Queen Anne’s on Dec. 7, at the newly opened YMCA in Centreville, Anderson, Joiner and Martinez each won two individual events, Aaron Saunders and Loller placed one-two in the 100 backstroke, and Kent County also had a winner in the boys 200 free relay of Loller, Birkmire, Jacobs and Ervin.

Against Gunston on Dec. 12, in a home meet at the Chestertown Y, Kent County’s girls won three of the six events they entered — Joiner in the 100 fly and 200 free and Anderson in the 100 back.

On the boys side, Ervin, who has many years in with the Sho’men Aquatics age-group program, led the 100 breaststroke to pick up his first high school win.

Also, Martinez won the 50 free and 100 fly and combined with Aaron Saunders, Messick and Ervin to win the 200 free relay.

Though the Trojans are looking for their first win as a team, Wise said, “Overall, everyone is swimming well for this time of year. … We’re working on our conditioning.”

Wise said she is “very impressed with the newcomers. They are doing excellent so far.”

After the winter holiday, the Trojans will return to practice on Tuesday, Jan. 2. Their first meet of the new year is Jan. 4 at Easton.

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