The 2019 NVSL season is finally underway and we are headed to Sideburn Run for ‘The Showdown of the Sharks’ with Orange Hunt coming to town to battle for the first victory of the summer. Sideburn Run (SR) had a tremendous 2018 season, winning the D9 crown with a 5-0 record as well as their Divisional Relay Carnival in convincing fashion. SR also had one of the best stories of the summer–after tragedy hit with the loss of a young life, these Sharks rallied together to show the league what they were all about by finishing 11th overall at All-Star relays behind two upset victories from their stellar 11-12 girls. SR made the largest positive jump in divisions this year, (D9-D5) and they hope to contend with some of the best teams in the league despite having a significantly smaller team with many key athletes now at the bottom of their age group.
Orange Hunt (OH) moves up from D6 this year after finishing 4-1 and taking 2nd at their relay carnival by 1 point to Divisional champion Fair Oaks (FO)–FO would be their only loss despite many close challenges from their other divisional foes. OH is making its first appearance in the top-5 divisions in a decade (2009) after staying in D4 or better for the previous 24 years. Both teams have some star power in the form of two 2019 Preseason All Swim Ninja selections apiece, as well as a few holes in their depth that they hope to address starting this week.
On seed times alone, and having no true relay data to consider, Sideburn Run would be up 177-173 at the end of the individual events. Furthermore, there are a few close races that make this meet even closer than that in some ways–to gain an idea of how things might go, let’s break down this contest by stroke!
*Predictions are based on seed times/available data*
On seeds alone, Sideburn Run has a +2 point differential in the first 10 races, including Preseason All Swim Ninja selections Brennan Bardolf and Mary Kate Dobrydney getting things started for the home team with two expected first-place finishes. This will be critical momentum to pick up on because Orange Hunt responds well with their older age groups. The 11-12 boys will have an amazing 4-way race that could break for either team, and OH needs to pick up the majority of these points to turn the meet in their favor. The 11-12 girls should win back a bunch of points for the home Sharks before the visiting 13-14 boys have a dominant performance led by Brady Dasher. The ever important 2nd and 3rd place points will be closely contested in the 11-12 girls and 13-14 boys races, before 3 straight heats of great inside lane action. Preseason All Swim Ninja Honorable Mention Jessica Logan will be challenged to step up and win 5 big points for OH in the 13-14 race before Matt Mitros and Matthew Ferrari try to fend off the visiting Jeremy Dryer in the senior boy’s sprint. Ellie Oswald (OH) and Sarah Seiling (SR) will wrap up the first event with another nail-biter that should be determined by mere tenths of a second. Sideburn Run looks to not only be stronger in free but also have more room to improve upon their seeds and pick up a few handfuls of additional points.
Advantage: Lean Sideburn Run
Backstroke will be all Orange Hunt–the visiting Sharks need to capitalize on their strength and depth in this event to give themselves a solid lead if they want to come out on top at the end. SR will not only need to hold on to their expected points but also generate a lot of energy at the beginning of the meet and stay positive and excited race by race to get through these next 10 swims. Orange Hunt should win 9 of the 10 backstroke races and score 6 or more points in 6 of them. SR will look to senior Matt Mitros to step up and steal 2nd place to give the home team a big 8 point grab as they near the halfway point in the meet. All Swim Ninja Selection Charlotte Prunty will be challenged by Claire Dobrydney (SR) in the 11-12 girls race which may be the closest swim of the event, and potentially the most important if Claire can find a way to win–same thing goes two events later between Logan and Jackie Dobrydney as half a second currently separates their seed times. The younger Prunty, Rebecca, will dominate the field in the 9-10 girls race as will Ellie Oswald in the 15-18 contest. With Orange Hunt having a +26 point differential on paper they must make the most of these 10 events and are set up well to do so.
Advantage: Orange Hunt
Sideburn Run can charge right back into this meet with breaststroke if they don’t let momentum get too far away from them during backstroke–they have a solid +16 advantage in this event with Bardolf starting things off for them. The two 9-10 races will be a 3-way race for 2nd and 3rd place as will the 11-12 girls race. Mack Scadron will be neck and neck with Luke Baird of Orange Hunt in the 13-14 boys event, which will be one of the best swims of the entire morning. SR gets a big point grab with the 13-14 girls before two big swims from the 15-18s to close things out. Unfortunately for the home team, breaststroke is often the most improved upon event in summer swimming week to week so there could be a few upsets if Orange Hunt is fired up and determined to keep things in their favor. At the end of breaststroke, it will still be anyone’s meet, and both sides should have plenty to cheer for going into fly.
Advantage: Sideburn Run
Butterfly is another very strong stroke for Sideburn Run and they have a narrow advantage here, particularly with their younger swimmers who have begun to really get a grasp for it. Mary Kate Dobrydney will win big and potentially challenge the SR team record of 19.13. The 15-18 boys could give the home team a sweep of the points after an expected strong swim from three 13-year-old girls in the race before them. 9-10 boys fly will have 2nd-4th place decided by tenths of a second, then the Prunty sisters will give OH two enormous wins in the 9-10 and 11-12 girls races. SR will need to be careful with the visiting 13-14 boys who could put up a sweep of their own if they can get some help in lane 6 from Xavier Main. There will be mostly clear winners and close finishes outside of that in fly from both teams, with the energy building more and more as we enter the relay events
Advantage: Lean Sideburn Run
On paper, both teams look to be short of the golden 180 point mark, which signifies needing only half of the 12 relays remaining or fewer to get over the winning total of 210 points. With no true relay data to work off of, our best guess is that both teams will split the first 10 relays either 5-5 or 6-4 one way or the other, due to clear strengths in certain age groups that are unmatched by the other team. After that, we predict Sideburn Run to win both mixed age relays. However, this is week 1 and NVSL summer swimming, so forget paper–this meet is all about attitude and momentum. Seed times from time trials can be entirely misleading, especially after a cold morning like the one we had last week. The weather looks good for the morning and both teams have a lot to be excited about for their 2019 campaigns. It is hard to overlook the fact that Orange Hunt appears to have more top swimmers at the top of their age group in this meet; however, Sideburn Run will have home pool advantage and a few inescapable strong spots in their lineup. The Ninjas seem to have landed on a great week 1 matchup and are excited to see how this plays out.
Final Prediction: Sideburn Run 213 – Orange Hunt 207
We wish the best of luck to both teams and hope that our predictions are wrong because the swimmers step up and take control of this meet on both sides of the pool. Check back here after the meet for all the race videos and post meet analysis, and be sure to send us your pictures and videos from the morning as well!