2019 NVSL Preseason All Swim Ninja: 13-14s
The 13-14s face many of the same challenges that we discussed with the 11-12s as far as competition and development are concerned. Additionally, this year’s class of rising 13 y/os feature some of the best 12 year-olds the NVSL has ever seen, including several League Record breakers from 2018. While it is often difficult for athletes at the bottom of the age group to get into a Saturday meet in their strongest events, if they make it at all, very few 13 y/os can really compete at the top of the league while at the bottom of the age group. That is why this year’s preseason selections are very exciting because there looks to be a good mix between rising 12s and 13s–there undoubtedly will be a few break out athletes at the top of the age group over the summer and we are paying close attention!
- James Ewing (Tuckahoe): As the lone 13 y/o who made the 2018 All Swim Ninja team, James is a heavyweight 14-year-old in 2019. Ewing has the fastest back and 2nd fastest fly coming back this summer, as well as the 4th fastest 50 free. Look for Ewing to dominate this summer for the Tigers in D1.
- Nolan Dunkel (Tuckahoe): After an incredible 12 y/o year where he set the NVSL record in 50 fly, Dunkel starts 2019 second only to his older teammate Ewing in back and actually has the fastest fly time overall. The Tigers should put together a very strong relay with these two standouts. Watch Dunkel win his 50 fly at Overlee from 2018 below
- Michael Mullen (Old Keene Mill): In a year that saw much of the NVSL record board rewritten, Mullen set a new mark in the 11-12 50 free at All Stars (see below). His time is fast enough to be the best in the 13-14 age group to start 2019. Mullen also has the 10th fastest 50 back and 6th fastest 50 fly after finishing with the 3rd best times in those events a year ago as a 12 y/o.
- William McClough (Herndon): William just missed the NVSL mark in 50 breast as a 12 y/o in 2018 by .10s (see below), but still earned First Team All Swim Ninja honors, and will start 2019 as the fastest breaststroker in the 13-14 age group by nearly a full second. McClough also brings the 8th fastest returning 50 free (seen taking 3rd above).
- Luke Bernasek (Chesterbrook): Luke is 3rd in both free and back to start 2019 after finishing 17th and 12th in those events in 2019 at the bottom of the age group. Perhaps a little growth and another year of training will push him to the top of those events this summer competing against D1 rival James Ewing.
- Ian Ching (Canterbury Woods): Ching has the 3rd fastest 50 fly coming back this summer for the Serpents this summer. Ian also has the 7th fastest 50 free which is less than a second behind top seed Michael Mullen.
- Donovan Kovalsky (Mount Vernon Park): Donovan broke the NVSL 11-12 50 free record last summer at divisionals before Mullen broke it by .02s a week later at All Stars–the 2018 First Team All Swim Ninja selection still had the 2nd fastest time of the summer which will be in the same spot to start the 2019 season in the 13-14 age group. Kovalsky also has the 10th fastest 50 fly.
- Jack Renner (Greenbriar): at 34.00 Jack has the second fastest returning 50 breast in the age group in 2019 by well over a second of the 3rd best swimmer.
- Noah Dyer (Hiddenbrook): Dyer has the 4th fastest 50 fly and back to start 2019 after aging up to the 13-14s.
- Jack Tsuchitani (Donaldson Run): Jack has the 3rd fastest breaststroke entering the summer
- Victoria Valko (McLean): Valko had the fastest 50 free as a 13 y/o in 2018, earning her a spot on the 2018 All Swim Ninja team at the bottom of the age group. Valko also finished 10th in back and 11th in fly, putting her at 6th in both events amongst returners for this summer.
- Kathleen Modder (Wakefield Chapel): With the Wahoos coming back to D1, Modder will have a great few races against Valko–Kathleen is the fastest returning flyer after finishing 3rd a year ago. Modder also has the 3rd fastest 50 breast returning to the age group.
- Courtney Watts (Cardinal Hill): Courtney had a stellar 12 y/o year, finishing 2018 as the fastest freestyle and backstroke swimmer and 2nd in fly–she moves into the 13-14 age group with the top back time and 2nd only to Valko in free. Watts is also the 6th fastest 50 flyer.
- Catherine Hughes (Tuckahoe): As a 12-year-old, Catherine had the 8th fastest 50 breast in the entire NVSL, regardless of age, as she set the league mark in the event. Hughes will also have the 3rd fastest backstroke (see her win at Overlee below) to start 2019 and the 4th fastest free.
- Bridget Morris Larkin (Highlands): Bridget won All Stars as a 13 y/o with a 34.55 in 50 breast last summer (see below). Only a tenth behind Hughes to finish the summer, watch for these two ladies to have a great race in week 2. Bridget is also the 7th fastest 50 flyer starting 2019.
- Sophia Brown (Vienna Woods): Sophia has the second fastest returning fly and the 8th fastest 50 free coming into the summer. Brown finished in the top-18 in both events last summer, so expect to see her near the top in both events now that she is 14. See Sophia win 50 free at Virginia Run in 2018 below
- Hannah Charters (Little Rocky Run): Charters finished 6th in 50 free at the bottom of the age group and is now the 3rd fastest returner by about half a second. See Hannah take first in 50 free at VAC last summer below
- Sarah Anderson (Rolling Forest): Anderson has the 5th fastest 50 free and is right in the mix with many of the names previously mentioned above. Sarah also sits less than a second back of Hughes and Morris-Larkin in 50 breast as the 4th fastest returner in the event.
- Cate Sheridan (Chesterbrook): Cate has the 2nd fastest 50 back to begin 2019 and will have plenty of opportunities for great races this summer against the top talent in D1.
- Kendall Vess (Country Club Hills): Kendall had the best 50 fly in the 11-12 age group in 2018 and now has the 3rd best time entering the summer for the 13-14s.
- Kathryn Connors (Burke Station): At 31.62, Connors had the 5th fastest 50 back in 2018 and is now the 4th fastest returner this year.
- Jessica Logan (Orange Hunt): Logan has the 5th fastest 50 back and 10th fastest 50 free to start 2019
- Ellie Leonard (Chesterbrook): Ellie ages up into the 13-14s with the 5th fastest 50 breast–with Hughes, Morris-Larkin, and Modder this may be the fastest girls breast division in recent memory!
- Madison Albright (Villa Aquatic): Madison has the 4th fastest 50 fly after finishing 8th in 2019
- Leena Knepper (Oakton): Leena has the 5th fastest 50 fly to begin the summer