Week 4 brings a few interesting matchups that the Ninjas have their eyes on. While some teams are hoping to continue their winning ways to better position themselves to take at least a piece of their divisional championship, others are hoping to score their first win of the season and avoid dropping out of their respective division. Regardless of their total wins and losses, we have two great head to head competitions with a lot at stake. These four teams exemplify the fact that in the NVSL, nothing is over until it’s over, and going out and competing hard any given Saturday makes all the difference in the long run!
*Predictions are based on available data*
The McLean (ML) Marlins and Wakefield Chapel Wahoos (WC) head into week 4 in the difficult position of both being 0-3 and face dropping out of D1 without picking up a win this weekend.
McLean moved up to D1 in 2011 and has managed to stay in the mix with the titans of the NVSL, narrowly losing to Overlee and Chesterbrook in various years and even winning an All-Star Relay’s trophy in 2015! Wakefield Chapel is one of the most storied teams in NVSL history, having spent the majority of the 70s, 80s, and 90s in the top division and even claiming 3 league titles over that period. In recent years, Chapel has bounced back and forth between D1 and D2, struggling to break through with a critical win that would keep the Wahoos from dropping out, but this could be the year that WC finally establishes themselves. McLean has been hurting this summer with the departure of a number of key swimmers over the past few years, which has left holes in their age groups that once were absolutely stacked.
Regardless, don’t be confused by these statements because the Marlins and Wahoos are still of the two strongest and deepest teams in the league–beating Chesterbrook, Overlee, Tuckahoe, and now Highlands takes an incredible amount of firepower, but these two squads are nearly identical in their strengths and weaknesses making for one of the closest meets we have seen this summer. Based on seeds this meet will come down to the final relay, but there are about 20 races before that which could tip the scales one way or the other–McLean has the decided advantage in individual events, but Chapel should win 7 relays and might be able to pick up a few more. To break this meet down, let’s take a look at those races that will determine who wins and, potentially, stays at the top of the NVSL in D1.
- 8-Under Boys Free: Eli Tiffany and Jonah Corbin (ML) hope to take the majority of the points in the first race, but Michael Pham will be right with them the whole way and might give the Wahoos the first win of the day
- 8-Under Girls Free: Leah Eubanks should give WC the win, but her teammate Reya McClellan will need to hold off Lexi Dayoub (ML) to get 8 points for the home team
- 9-10 Boys Free: Henry Williams looks safe to win for the Marlins but his buddy Paxton Sand will be challenged hard by Seamus McNamara for 2nd who is seeded less than a tenth slower
- 9-10 Girls Free: McLean might be able to sweep this race if Ridgely Neppl can outgun Anna Ryder (WC) from lane 6
- 11-12 Girls Free: Maya Sharma (ML) will be neck and neck with Colleen Reed (WC) for first while Taylor Bryce (ML) and Keira Arenholz (WC) will fight for 3rd just outside those two
- 13-14 Boys Free: Ryan Campbell will try to deliver 5 points to the Marlins but Jacob Parker is going to be going to the wall with him
- 13-14 Girls Free: First Team Preseason All Swim Ninja Victoria Valko (ML) will get a great challenge from Jillian Ferrari (WC) for 1st, while Anna Laszlo (ML) will be pushed by Meghan Murry (WC) for 3rd with only .03s separating the two on seeds
- 15-18 Boys Free: Robert Luebke and Declan Sheeran are seeded to give the Marlins 6 points, but Joseph Schaefer and Nicholas Parker are going to make this a 4-way race in one of the most interesting races of the day
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- 8-Under Boys Back: Pietro Ennaboulssi and Eli Tiffany will try to steal the last 4 points away from WC’s Javier Salazar after Janni Weeks takes first
- 8-Under Girls Back: Addie Dayoub, Ellis Sofia (ML), Amelia Ryder, and Alexa Steider (WC) will be hurrying to the wall to try to get the last point up for grabs with Leah Eubanks and Christina Lee expected to get 1st and 2nd for Chapel and McLean respectively
- 9-10 Boys Back: Bennett Otto will need to do everything he possibly can to prevent McLean from sweeping this race and keeping things close in backstroke
- 13-14 Girls Back: Jillian Ferrari should win this for the Wahoos but Victoria Valko is in the race–she will need to watch out for Brigid Donohoe stealing 2nd from her
- 8-Under Girls Breast: Breast should be Chapel’s best event of the day, so it will be important for Brook Collins to try to keep the Marlins from sweeping this early race
- 11-12 Boys Breast: Timothy Watkins will try to grab 3rd place for the home team over James Lampkin in lane 2 for the Marlins
- 13-14 Girls Breast: Wakefield Chapel could really use 9 points here–Kristin Sargent is all that stands between Chapel and a sweep, but her closest competitor will be Paige Murray 3 lanes over in lane 1
- 15-18 Boys Breast: Joseph Schaefer (WC) and Declan Sheeran (ML) only have tenths separating them on seeds–both sides will be hungry for every 1st place they can get at this point
- 8-Under Boys Fly: Javier Salazar (WC) is seeded .11s ahead of Billy Costello–with Jonah Corbin taking first, 3 points would be pretty sweet for Chapel
- 8-Under Girls Fly: Reya McClellan should be able to hold off Lexi Dayoub for first but Sophia Wang (ML) and Alexa Steider (WC) will need to surge towards the wall to get 3rd
- 9-10 Boys Fly: One of the best races of the day will be right here with Charles Lannin expected to get 5 points for the Marlins, but Bennett Otto will challenge well with Haughton Neppl not too far back looking to add another point for McLean
- 13-14 Boys Fly: Brendan Read will need to hold off the two Marlins, Jack Forde and Rowan Frew, outside of him to take first
- 15-18 Girls Relay: McLean is swimming Anna Laszlo and Victoria Valko up to try to make up the difference in this relay and get a huge 5 points that could win the meet
- Coaches Relay: Even after one team has won, perhaps the most important race of the day will be between the Marlins and Wahoos coaching staffs–McLean had this to add:
- Backstroke– Olivia J Gore. Swimming Experience: took surfing lessons once at age 12 on the outskirts of the Arctic Circle. Her 8&Under 25 backstroke time was a 26.29.
- Backstroke Legs: Anna AMP Sargent. Was once Robert Luebke’s legs, but he said they were too slippery. Has had Botox injections due to excess sweating. #alwaysgrinding
- Breaststroke: William Henry Soobert: Previous Swimming Experience: N/A, but is proficient with an ab roller. He DQed as an 8&under in 25 breast. Also DQed at all stars when he was 12. #dontflinchyouidiot
- Butterfly: Elizabeth (Liddy) Cleopha McCulla. Previous Swimming Experience: Was recruited to swim D1, but has a bum leg and is prohibited to talk about it. Crutched around campus and earned the nickname Crip. 8&Under butterfly time was a 26.93.
- Freestyle: Riley Glenn Pfadenhauer– AKA Skeletor, AKA Pumpkin, AKA SkinnyBoi. Previous Swimming Experience: Took a canoeing class freshman year of college, also enjoys playing pickleball with his mother. 8&under freestyle time: 21.93
McLean and Wakefield Chapel are so well matched up we had to go through this exhaustive process of listing half of the races and how they may shake out because any one of them could be decisive if they break different from how they are seeded. McLean is stronger on paper in Free, Back, and Fly which might be problematic for WC if they can get on a roll early and take care of business. However, bleeding points after halftime in breast and not being able to do anything other than watch the Wahoos surge back in relays will be painful for the Marlin faithful. It appears as though Wakefield Chapel has more room to improve and will be swimming in their most important D1 meet in a generation–given home pool we are barely giving them the nod to win here:
Final Prediction: Wakefield Chapel 211 – McLean 209
We are so excited to have a meaningful meet to cover that is not all about winning a championship. Both McLean and Chapel have great spirit and tradition leading us to believe that there will be a lot going on outside of the pool adding to the overall atmosphere. We hope everyone races well and let the times take care of themselves!