Though only the second week of the season, we already have a few critical divisional matchups that we believe could determine the eventual champion this season. While there is still a lot of racing to come, the way divisions are seeded, it is not uncommon for the two best teams to meet each other at such an early stage in the summer. This by no means should allow anyone to rest on their laurels, but for the four teams we will be watching this weekend, this meet could be the difference between taking home some hardware at season’s end and just missing out.
*Predictions are based on available data*
Springboard and South Run are two very hungry teams in Division 12 this season–after very difficult 2018 campaigns, both sides are looking to get back on track in 2019. With dominant week 1 performances, winning their first meets by about 100 points each, the Barracudas of Springboard (SB) and the Seahawks from South Run (SOR) have sent a clear message to their divisional foes that they aren’t playing around this year. South Run fell out of D11 with an 0-5 record and taking 6th at their divisional relay carnival last summer. Interestingly, Springboard moves up from D13 with a 1-4 record, however, the Barracudas managed to win their relay carnival by a dominant 22 points. Both teams had a good showing at 2018 All-Star Relays, so perhaps we are looking at two teams that are beginning to trend upwards.
Springboard brings a well-balanced team into this contest that has consistent strength across the board, and an impressive group of 11-12 boys. South Run packs a little bit more of a punch in a number of age groups, behind two Preseason All Swim Ninja selections, Vivien O’Hara in the 8-Under girls and Sarah Vollbrecht in the 11-12 girls. Watch for SOR to pick up points in bunches, especially with their dominant 8-under girls and budding 13-14 boys.
This meet will be dominated by the inside lanes, but ultimately determined by the outside lanes with so many 2nd and 3rd place points up for grabs, especially early on in the meet. It is only week 2, so it must be assumed that there is an enormous amount of progression happening week to week as true summer swimmers begin to establish their aerobic base and racing technique. South Run enters this meet favored by about 40 points, but flipping that margin can easily be accomplished by stealing back a handful of points in each event, which is absolutely on the table for the visiting Barracudas. To get a better idea of how this meet might play out, let’s break it down by event.
The way freestyle looks on paper, Springboard is actually in a good position to really upset South Run. Naturally a team’s free will be stronger early in the season, as the coaches continue to work with their team on the other strokes and help their athletes build up their endurance, especially in kick-dominant events like backstroke and breaststroke. SB looks to get out to an early lead with a 14 point margin in the first 10 races. As previously stated, they will need to find a few places in every stroke where they can add a point or two to their tally to help in the long run. The 8-under boys will give the visitors a jolt of momentum if they can pull off the sweep and take the first 9 points of the morning–Kendrick Shia in lane 6 hopes to go undetected by Louie Pollock (SR) inside at lane 3 to get that last point. SB will need this because SOR looks to have no problem pulling off a sweep of their own in the very next race behind Vivien O’Hara, Marin Clark, and Hayden Hasle. The third race of the morning will be a consequential thriller as Charlie Pollock hopes to defend his home turf, but he will need to drop some time to beat the visiting Barracuda Jack Downey who is seeded slightly faster by about 7 tenths of a second. Before anyone even has a moment to breathe, we will find ourselves with another close race, this time for both 1st and 3rd in the 9-10 girls race–a few tenths separate Scarlet Olweiler (SOR) from Sloane Quaid (SB) as they hope to bring 5 points back to their sideline, while Lily Fasano (SB) will be chased by Zoe Luong (SOR) on the other side of the pool. South Run can really take control of the meet early on by locking down their seeded points in the 11-12, 13-14, and 15-18 girls races–Springboard will be looking move up to overcome tough matchups early on and in the 13-14 boys, by will enjoy a bunch of points behind their 11-12 boys and possibly their 15-18 girls if Maddie Krotine can hold off Brianna Krug and take second for the visitors. Springboard needs an early lead with the meet defining momentum that comes with it–they certainly have the window wide open to do it.
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South Run looks to have their other strokes more developed as a team at this point in the season and needs to get to backstroke ready to surge forward. This event should favor the home team with big point grabs in 8-under and 11-12 girls, and 15-18 boys. However, SB will have a few major moments of their own in the 11-12 boys and 13-14 girls, where the Baraccudas look safe to take at least 8 points in each event. Second place in 9-10 girls back will be very close and Lily Fasano can do a lot for SB if she can knock off Amelia Cole. Owen Cole (SOR) and Ryan Quaid (SB) will have one of the best races of the morning in the 13-14 boys race with only 2 tenths currently separating them as they vie for big 1st place points. As we near the halfway point in the individual events, Andrea Gallegos (SB) and Maeve Burns (SOR) will need to break up their current tie at 40.73s to deliver 3 points for their team–they will be right next to each other in lanes 2 and 3 so be sure to watch this race closely. Seed times like South Run here, but there is too much that has to be determined head to head on race day.
Advantage: Toss Up
Breast and Fly look to heavily favor South Run–Springboard will need their early points in the first half of the meet, and take everything they can in the back half. The Barracudas are only expected to win 3 of the remaining 20 races–there are a few that they can certainly challenge in, and will need every last 2nd and 3rd place point they are expected to get to make a push in relays. South Run’s 8-unders should take 30 of 36 points which is difficult to offset. Collin Finnegan can swing 4 points towards SB in 11-12 breast by edging out Doc Clark (SOR), and Meghan Lankford might be able to do the same over Kealani Nanz in the 15-18 race. Logan Landrum (SOR) might be able to shut the door on the visitors if he out-muscles Ethan Oleksa (SB) in the 15-18 boys 50 fly, potentially setting up a clear course to victory for his Seahawks.
Advantage: South Run
South Run has this meet set up to only need 2 or 3 relays to win, which they will certainly get out of the 12 that will go off tomorrow. It’s worth noting that the 4 point swing that comes from jumping from 2nd to 1st or 3rd to 2nd can erase what should be a comfortable margin, and Springboard has more than 5 races that can go their way in the blink of an eye, as we have noted. That potential 20 point swing would bring this meet neck and neck entering relays, with both teams needing to win the majority of 12 to win. Springboard should lean into that underdog attitude and look to play upset, while South Run needs to not only believe but know they can win this meet. The Seahawks bring too much firepower to ignore in areas that Springboard does not look to be able to respond, leaving this Ninja to predict a win for the home team.
Final Prediction: South Run 225 – Springboard 195
This will be great NVSL action and we look forward to following it every step of the way. Remember that predictions are made to be proven wrong, and times on paper are here today and dust tomorrow. Be sure to check back here after the meet to see every race from the morning as well as our recap of how things played out!
Good luck Barracudas and Seahawks!