As we enter the third week of the NVSL season the Ninjas are paying close attention to a few teams that have emerged as potential Divisional winners. With 3 meets remaining, a lot can still happen and technically nobody is completely out of contention. In the top divisions, the undefeated teams are on a collision course with one and other forcing them to battle it out for supremacy. This week we have two meets occurring that will leave one team as the lone squad with a perfect record – we are excited to see how things shake out!
*Predictions are based on available data*
This weekend, the Hamlet Green Feet (HSC) travel to Bailey’s Crossroads to challenge the Dowden Terrace Dolphins (DT). The Dolphins have been dominant in 2019–in two weeks DT has won both of their meets by an average of 146 points. Coach Evan Stiles has been building this team for a number of years and it appears as though he has a big group of athletes that have filled out across the age groups, leaving very few vulnerabilities. Hamlet is a powerhouse that has stayed in the top 3 divisions of the NVSL for the past 20 years–they have swum in their share of big meets and are familiar with contending for championships. Both teams are 2-0 and hope to emerge victoriously and on a clear path towards winning the Division 2 championship.
The Green Feet and Dolphins each bring a few big-time players in the form of Preseason All Swim Ninja selections. Additionally, each side has age groups that are pretty deep and will control the share of points. DT should be considered the favorites here and they have an undeniable edge when it comes to relays, where they are seeded to win 10 of 12. Nonetheless, Hamlet will make things very difficult for the Dolphins and have several opportunities to put themselves in a position to win. DT is about 70 points better, but only 30 without those 10 relay wins–the key for HSC will be to have a lead after butterfly. Let’s take a look at where this meet will be decided, breaking it down by closest races of the day–FYI there are a bunch!
- DT has a 12 point advantage in freestyle based on seed times
- The 15-18 boys are the best opportunity for DT to have a big point grab with Anthony Doll and Brendan Huber-Wilker hoping to go 1-2, but Chase Bradshaw and Alex Montano will be right in the mix hoping to mess that up
- The 11-12 boys are Hamlet’s best spot to score 8+ points–Charlie Palma and Alex Andrews should be able to get the job done but watch out for Nathanael Abrials in lane 3 for DT
- The 8-under boys will be a 3-way sprint to the wall with Hamlet hoping to get the majority of points with Zaidan Ghazal and Bodey Lissenden, but they will need to beat Peter Madigan from DT to do it
- Morgan Kass (HSC) and Yalguun Baterdene (DT) will have a fun head to head contest in the 11-12 girls race that should come down to the finish
- Tugu Baterdene (DT) and Trent McMichael (HSC) are only separated by a tenth at the moment–these will be critical early points to try to get
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- Hamlet has a 10 point advantage in backstroke based on seed times
- Hamlet’s 8-unders will flex their dominance with the possibility to sweep both of the first two races. The Green Feet need to get that done to help them out in the long run
- DT’s 13-14 girls should be able to get at least 8 points and possibly sweep with Anna Huber-Wilker in lane 1 who is seeded only .01s behind Lucy Palma who will try to steal as many points as possible in what will be a great race to watch
- Elena Stinson (DT) and Hayley Varacalli (HSC) will be neck and neck in the 11-12 girls race, with Norah Curry (DT) not far out
- One of the best races of the entire morning will be between Emma Flickinger (HSC) and Tory Atkinson (DT) in the 15-18 girls race–they are currently separated by .01s and it is an important race for both teams as they hope to control momentum at a critical point in the morning
- Dowden Terrace is 10 points stronger in breaststroke based on seeds
- Hamlet should be able to get at least 8 points in 8-under girls breast from Georgia Steele and Abby Pickard
- Jack Chervenic and Nathanael Abrials look safe to score 8 points for DT in the 11-12 boys race
- Ashley Varacalli will need to step up for HSC to keep Samantha Gearghty from going 1-2 with Natalie Kaldahl in the 13-14 girls contest
- Annabelle Bremner will put on a show in 9-10 girls breast, but Emme McMichael (HSC) and Caroline Smullen (DT) will duke it out for an important 2nd place.
- Dowden Terrace is 18 points stronger in butterfly based on seeds
- Hamlets 8-under girls and DT’s 13-14 girls are both seeded to get at least 8 points
- Yalgun Baterdene and Morgan Kass will have another great race in the 11-12 girls fly
- Owen Sullivan and Esteban Landivar will be as close as it gets fighting for 2nd place in the 13-14 boys race
- Anthony Doll, Chase Bradshaw and Brendan Huber-Wilker will all be back at it in the 15-18 boys race–Doll should win, but its anyone’s guess how all 3 will finish.
Hamlet has plenty of opportunities to flip 15 points and be at least tied at 180 going into relays. Furthermore, if they are fired up and have their best meet of the season, perhaps they can even give themselves a slight lead–however, the Green Feet need to be up by at least 10 points if they are going to win. Dowden Terrace is very strong but they are seeded to win most of the close races we are looking at–if they are having a bad morning the Dolphins could bleed points. However, DT looks to be in an advantageous position even if they don’t swim their best.
Final Prediction: Dowden Terrace 240 – Hamlet 180
Hamlet has a lot in front of them and we are excited to see them challenge DT. Dowden Terrace should be able to take the next step in what looks to be a historic season for their pool by taking the win tomorrow. We wish all the athletes good luck and can’t wait to see so many close swims. Be sure to check back here after the meet for all the race videos and meet recap.
Swim Fast Green Feet and Dolphins!