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*
The Waynewood (WW) Dolphins and Sleepy Hollow Bath and Racquet (SHBR) Seals come head to head in this fantastic D7 week 2 matchup. Waynewood moved up in the offseason from D8 where they were an absolute force, but could not knock off eventual champion, Walden Glen. SHBR dropped from D6 after a tough 0-5 season, and both teams will enter Saturday’s contest hoping to move to 2-0 and possibly have a clear path towards winning the divisional crown.
Waynewood will field the only Preseason All Swim Ninja pick in this meet with Moses Wolf in the 9-10 boys. Both teams have their strong spots which they will need to utilize well to give themselves heaps of points as well as swing momentum in their favor. There are a number of close races that could make this meet go either way, but on paper, SHBR looks to be slightly stronger. It is very early in the season, and athletes will continue to make huge strides as they improve from week to week. For this reason, the aforementioned momentum is so important to harness in giving those budding athletes an intangible motivator to secure unexpected points!
Waynewood will have some work to do if they hope to win–in order to get a better idea of how this meet will be won, let’s break this down by strengths and weaknesses.
8 – Under Boys
Waynewood’s boys look to be able to sweep the points in Free, Back, and Fly. Mason LoCascio will be in lane 4 for one of the best races of the entire morning, as he hopes to score 5 more for the visiting Dolphins in the 25m breast, as he squares off with Phoenix Oneil (SHBR). Even with 3 points in breast and a near-certain relay win, the Dolphins will take 34 of 41 possible points. Furthermore, the Dolphins will have a nice boost in momentum to start every stroke thanks to great performances from the youngins.
The home Seals have a nice advantage with the opportunity to get major point pickups with this age group. Allan Engstrom and Natalie Enochs will win their 50m Free races comfortably, and Grey Bremer and Fiona Goo will have a great opportunity to make it 8 points going 1-2. Fiona will be closely challenged by Ava Vieira who is seeded only a tenth behind her. SHBR should win all 8 races in this age group and grab supplemental 2nds and 3rds that will help them get closer to victory.
Waynewood has a great chance to sweep the backstroke and butterfly in this age group–though they look to comfortably cruise to 9 points in both races, Ellen Chadwick is seeded without a time in backstroke–seeing as how Chadwick looks to be able to win freestyle by nearly 2 seconds, it is hard to count her out in backstroke, but there will be a group of Dolphins going to the wall together to take no fewer than 4 points. There will be a great relay at the end of the meet between both sides to determine which group is most dominant.
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Most Critical Races
- 8-Under Girls 25m Free: Sammi Decareau (SHBR) will need to get on her horse because Marley-Grace Clift will be right by her side to the wall. These are very important points to take back after the Dolphins boys sweep the race before.
- 11-12 Boys 50m Free: 1st place looks to be all SHBR, but Waynewood could really use any additional points here. Jake Benningfield will need to hold on to keep Grayson Kusic (SHBR) from jumping in and stealing 3 points.
- 9-10 Girls 50m Back: Maya Dahlberg will need to surge towards the wall to secure 3 points for Waynewood because Taeryn Graham in lane 1 should be coming in at the same time and would love to flip those points for the home team.
- 11-12 Girls 50m Back: Sarah Rose and Reagan Kampschror hope to finish 1-2 here for SHBR, but Andrea Arnoldi Nanis will be with them the whole way as only half a second separates the three in a great contest.
- 15-18 Boys 50m Breast: Tryn Dunne and Thomas Freireich (SHBR) will have a close challenge from Aidan Lansburgh (WW) with less than a second difference between the group.
SHBR has a very unsettled advantage in this important meet. There are several races that can quickly go the other way if Waynewood puts their head down and hits the wall hard. By flipping 20 points throughout the entire meet, including potentially taking 3 close relays, the Dolphins might just be able to take this meet. However, the Seals appear to be somewhat under-seeded and look to handedly win the majority of the events. SHBR will be excited at home and will have numerous big races to keep momentum on their side:
Final Prediction: SHBR 224 – Waynewood 196
We look forward to seeing how this plays out, and expect to be wrong about some of these predictions. Be sure to check back here for all the race videos after the meet as well as our meet recap!