In the latest installment of the great Overlee – Chesterbrook rivalry, fans of both teams sat through pouring rain for large stretches of the morning, as each team took their chances to land blows against the other side, in and out of the pool. As the stakes continued to get higher with each swim sending some division of 9 points one way or the other, the two cheering sections, situated on opposite sides of the pool, grew louder and more antagonistic. Parents and alumni of each team were on hand, packing the pool deck for one of the greatest spectacles in the Northern Virginia Swim League.
Freestyle was an exciting back and forth event–Overlee was able to offset a few of their weaker spots by getting critical second and third place points. Chesterbrook swept 8-under girls and 9-10 boys before Overlee responded with a 1-2 finish in 9-10 girls and a sweep of 11-12 boys! Overlee suffered another 1-2 finish at the hands of the Tigersharks in 11-12 girls before taking the majority of points in the final races to tie things up at 45 a piece. As we stated in our preview, this rivalry is full of familiarity and that is certainly true at the 15-18 level–Overlee won both of those races in free and took a second and third place as well to take 14 of 18 points in the final two swims, giving the visiting team a much-needed boost of momentum.
Backstroke was a little more even from race to race; however, breaststroke was always going to be a difficult time for Overlee, so they had to take advantage of holding points as much as possible in the second 10 races. Chesterbrook shut those plans down going 1st-3rd, 2nd-3rd, 1st-2nd, and 1st in the final 4 swims with the 13 and overs. The 15-18 boys back was a critical moment where Ryan Soh and Grant DeWitt managed to beat Nick Pasternak to the wall, sending Chesterbrook fans all over the pool into a frenzy. This energy carried over into the next race where Jillian Johnson was able to just get to the wall sooner than Mary Kate Reicherter, putting the home team up by 14 heading into breast.
After those big races in back, Chesterbrook never looked back–they went 1st and 2nd in 3 of the first 4 races in breaststroke, with the 4th being a Tigershark sweep. Having now stretched that lead to 30 points, Chesterbrook was firmly in the driver seat, and surging towards that critical 180 point mark, where they would only need 6 or fewer relays. Overlee held their own in the senior races with Paul Kinsella managing to overcome his longtime Tigershark rival, Sam Gollob, on senior day, before Kayle Park, Sophia Grabman, and Mary Kate Reicherter completed the sweep. Nonetheless, the 26 point spread after breast was the closest the Flying Fish would ever get to Chesterbrook before this one ended. By the end of fly, Chesterbrook was only two relays away from taking the victory, which they got after the 9-10 boys medley–the Tigersharks completed the triple crown and three-peating performance by a total of 238-182.
There were plenty of exciting races, and certainly enough moments in the meet where Overlee could have picked up another 15 to 20 points or so if they could have overcome their rivals, but that would have been an absolutely perfect scenario. Overall, the Flying Fish outperformed expectations for most of the meet and made things interesting, but at the end of the day, this Chesterbrook team was not going to be beaten this year. The strength in their younger swimmers, and depth in older athletes, not to mention the energy they bring to the meet, made Chesterbrook an absolute force to be reckoned with. We were happy to be on hand to witness this contest and look forward to seeing how each team progresses over the next year before they meet again. Congratulations Chesterbrook on your 12th NVSL title!