As we head into week 3 and approach the midpoint in the summer season, it is remarkable to think about all the great swimming, spirit, and fun we have witnessed so far this season! This week, we wanted to take the opportunity to return to the middle divisions for two interesting matchups that feature not only the exciting competitive nature of the NVSL but also a sense of rivalry, due to the history these pools share being in overlapping communities where the athletes are very familiar with their competitors. Both meets should bring plenty to watch for so check out what we are looking forward to below!
Walden Glen (WG Wahoos) and Waynewood (WW Dolphins) are the two top teams in Division 8, coming into this week 3 showdown a perfect 2-0. Walden Glen has won both of their meets by decisive margins of over 50 points, where Waynewood has looked confident in their 30+ point victories. This meet should decide the ultimate D8 champion and has the potential to be close, but the would require the Dolphins to step up and score unexpected points. On paper, Walden Glen takes this 222-198 although we have hardly had a meet of the week yet follow the paper seedings exactly. Waynewood only needs to flip about 10 points in the individual events to make this dead even going into relays, and there are more than enough opportunities for the Dolphins to do this.
To get an idea of how this meet should shake out, let’s break this down by stroke:
Freestyle is the most evenly matched event of the day for the two teams, and where Waynewood needs to cut down the point margin and pick up some momentum if they are going to beat the Wahoos. Starting with the first race of the day, Waynewood could swing 4-6 points back their way by stealing first–Benning Zipperer (WW) will be right with Jack Geraghty (WG) for 1st place, while Colin Vieira (WW) will need to take off about half a second to beat John Oliver (WG) on the other side of the pool to grab a third-place point. Hunter Zipperer will have a decisive win for the Dolphins in the 9-10 boys race and should be close to breaking his own record time of 32.07, which would be great for getting his team exited in the next few events. The two teams will trade first place wins back and forth over the next 4 races, with WG having the advantage in the girls contests, and the Dolphins looking strong in lane 4 during the boys’ heats. Event 8 will be one of the best races of the day, with less than half a second separating 3 13-14 girls–Waynewood could take as many as 8 points and as few as 4, so grabbing those top two spots will be critical as the morning goes on. Jenna Martin (WW) and Jordan Buechler (WG) will be an exciting close to freestyle in the 15-18 girls race, and look for one team to gain energy off this swim! On paper, Walden Glen is about 8 points better in this stroke, but as previously stated, Waynewood has plenty of opportunities to cut that down–they need to get about 4-5 points in these first 10 races.
Advantage: Toss Up
Walden Glen is the stronger team in the second 10 races and should outpace their rivals from Waynewood significantly, picking up a few 1-2 finishes and maybe even a sweep of the 9 points, which will come with the added bonus of a momentum boost for the home team. Waynewood will get a good chunk of points back in the first three races, and bring the score neck and neck until the 9-10 Wahoo girls hop in–WG could sweep this race, though less than a second is the distance between Emily Kay (WW) and Christina Reilly and Emilia Blake of Walden Glen. This is a big moment for both teams because Walden Glen should win 4 of the next 6 swims, so stealing away even a point will go a long way towards limiting the damage the home team will inflict. Keep an eye on lane 2 in the 13-14 girls race–Nora Kirby (WW) should challenge Rebekah Corbin (WG) well for second place, which is the last great opportunity to flip a few points away from the Wahoos. On paper, WG takes a double-digit lead after back–if that difference is closer to 10, Waynewood is going to be right in the mix coming down the stretch, but if the Wahoos can put it closer to 20 than the Dolphins will have some trouble making that up before relays.
Advantage: Walden Glen
Breaststroke is Waynewoods strongest event this weekend and will have the opportunity to jump right back into this meet after a tough backstroke if they swim the way they are seeded. The Dolphins should win 6 of the 10 races, and grab the majority of second and third place points as well. The Wahoos will be dominant with Holden Holliday, Michael Hubbard, and Jaxon Buechler in 13-14 boys, and Rebekah Corbin will be in the mix to win between two dolphins in the 13-14 girls race–Peter Jones will outpace the 15-18 boys by a few body lengths to give the home team plenty to cheer for. However, the Senior Dolphin ladies should pull off the sweep ending things on a high note for their sideline. If Waynewood can take more than 50 points in breaststroke after grabbing a few unexpected points in the first two events then they can win this meet–they need to press the strong suit which in this one is breast! Walden Glen can shut the comeback down, however, and take away those bonus points by simply taking 2nd and 3rd where they aren’t seeded to do so.
Unfortunately for Waynewood, butterfly looks to be the Wahoo’s strongest stroke, where they are seeded to win 55 of the 90 points possible, including seven 1st places. The 13-14 girls will be fun to watch as it will be for all their races Saturday, and the 15-18 boys could be close if 15 y/o Alexander Micheli can drop under 30.00 to beat 18 y/o Kyle Mittauer. Most of the 1st places should be won comfortably, but keep your eyes on what is happening as swimmers reach for 2nd and 3rd–by this point in the season, kids who only swim during the summer should be getting their strength back, allowing them to finish the difficult fly races that may have eluded them in the first two weeks. Walden Glen could be up by as much as 25 points going into relays, needing only a few to win, so Waynewood needs to fight hard through the fly races and get as close to 180 as possible!
180 is the golden number in NVSL meets–if your team can end up north of that number going into relays, you only need at most half of the 12 remaining swims to go your way. Walden Glen should be well over that mark heading into relays, despite Waynewood having ample opportunities to cut that down. If WG is over 190, they will take this meet by 30–however, if Waynewood brings the Wahoos close to 180, we could find these two teams separated by only a handful of points at the end! Both teams should win 6 relays, and the 13-14 girls is probably the closest swim of them all, so watch up for a thriller. Regardless, Waynewood gives up way too much in back and fly for this Ninja to like their chances–final prediction: Walden Glen runs up their margin early and creates too much distance for the Dolphins to close, winning 235-185 as they make their way towards winning the divisional crown. We hope for a close meet, so prove the predictions wrong and make it exciting tomorrow–Good luck both teams!