2019 Meet of the Week (Wk 1): Virginia Hills @ Fox Mill Woods Preview
Virginia Hills and Fox Mill Woods meet on the first Saturday of the 2019 season for what should be a very interesting meet between two very different teams. The Virginia Hills (VH) Tidal Wave won D10 in 2018 with a 5-0 record, and also carried their divisional relay crown–VH went on to finish an impressive 23rd overall at All Star Relays, leading to their two division jump during the offseason. The Tidal Wave had several very strong swimmers at the top of their age groups, including 2018 All Swim Ninja selections Mary and Inez McNichols. This is an exciting year for the Tidal Wave, who find themselves in D8 for the first time since 1983, which is only the third time they have been this high up in the NVSL since 1970.
Fox Mill Woods (FMW) has been a middle division team through their 40 years of swimming in the NVSL. Recently, the Fintastics have gained notoriety by having the best 15-18 boys the NVSL has ever seen, as they breaking both league relay records in 2017 and again in 2018. In addition to key senior boys such as Virginia commit Daniel Gyenis and Northern Region IM champion Adi Khambhampaty, FMW has 2019 Preseason All Swim Ninja Second Team selection Evelina Kleczek leading their 9-10 girls, and 2018 First Team All Swim Ninja pick, Esther Swanson, providing additional firepower.
At this early point in the summer season, there is still a lot to learn about these two teams and we will get a good glimpse of it when the Fintastics and Tidal Wave faceoff tomorrow. Both seeded times and projected scores seem to be very different from the reality we expect to see tomorrow, so to break down this meet we are going to highlight a number of key matchups that will determine the outcome.
As previously mentioned, the Fox Mill Woods senior boys will need to carry the lion’s share of points in this one. Gyenis and Khambhampaty will have support from Jason Bookstaver and Isaac Swanson to help bear the burden. However, VH will challenge well in breast with Javier Talavera and Colin Klempner as well as in backstroke with Jean-Paul Talavera. FMW should be able to get the majority of the 36 possible points in this age group, but they need that number to be closer to 30 points than 20 and a relay win to help their home team out.
The Tidal Wave munchkins appear to be more ready to race on paper–however, this age group can hardly ever be considered a sure thing on paper because you never know when an 8 y/o will surprise everyone on deck, including themselves! Ryan Villarroel and Eleanor Hoeflich-Rodgers should get things going for VH in free with Orion Huang and Elizabeth Basom adding on in back and breast respectively. Watch for the youngest (?) McNichols sister, Rita (7), to put on a show in the girls fly to round out this group of standout swimmers.
Esther Swanson will look to fend off a strong group of Fintastic girls with one of the closer races of the morning happening in 50 free, as she will be challenged by Emma Lentini. Lentini will be back in a close matchup in the next event against Anna Dooley where the two are separated by two tenths on seeds. VH will be looking to sweep the breaststroke if they can because there will be no beating Swanson when we get to the 50 fly near the end of individual events.
Best Races to Watch
In addition to the races we have already mentioned, here are a few more that will be very close and ultimately critical in deciding the winner of this meet.
- Girls 15-18 50m Fly: Danielle Evinger (FMW) and Lauren Govert (VH) will be within a few tenths of each other as they vie for 2nd place after Jacqueline Montenegro takes 1st for the home team.
- Boys 11-12 50m Fly: Kedar Kambhampaty (FMW) and Luke Hales (VH) will battle it out for first with Dean Delorenzo (VH) and Colin Wheeler (FMW) just outside of them going after that last point for 3rd place.
- Girls 13-14 50m Free: Mia Foulk (FMW) will try to stave off Eleanor McNichols and Olivia Montante (VH) from winning this heat, with Olivia Williams (FMW) right in the mix to score a few points as well.
- Girls 15-18 50m Free: Ashley Teal (VH) will do what she can to give the Tidal Wave 5 big points at the end of the first event and some added momentum, but she will need to hold off Jacqueline Montenegro and Alexia Moreno to do it.
- Boys 13-14 50m Back: Matias Moreno (FMW) and Nick Teal (VH) will pick up where their sisters (mentioned above) left off. The two are joined by Joseph Lentini (VH) as a group of 13 y/os hoping to score important points at what could be the turning point in the meet for their team.
Without having enough data to truly predict how this meet will turn out, we must look at intangibles to make this final call. Virginia Hills is riding a tidal wave of good feelings following their 2018 season–perhaps a successful winning season has permeated their team’s culture and this is a club that is beginning to really make a name for themselves. Fox Mill Woods has the star power and experience any coach would want to be able to challenge a team who may be better than them because they know how to step up when it matters most. Right now it appears Virginia Hills is in a better spot to start their season off with a win, but it will be very close and even uncomfortable at times, especially when Fox Mill Woods’ relays start rattling off consecutive wins with their older kids.
Final Prediction: Virginia Hills 223 – Fox Mill Woods 197
There is a lot to be excited about on both sides of the pool Saturday and we wish the best of luck to both teams–go out and compete and let the scores work themselves out. 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!
Swim Fast Tidal Wave and Fintastics