When you hear the words rivalry in the context of sports, one may think Red Sox-Yankees, Lakers-Celtics, Texas-Oklahoma, Redskins-Cowboys–now forget everything you thought you know about rivalries and look here: Overlee vs Chesterbrook!
The two pools are less than 3 miles away from each other–the kids and families all know each other well from going to school together–they swim with each other on middle school, high school and club teams throughout the year, as well as play on other sports teams together–they attend the same grocery stores, places of worship, and even live in the same neighborhoods. However, for 10 weeks of the year, Tiger Sharks and Flying Fish fall back to their summer swimming tribes, bitterly opposed to the other side as they vie for the top spot among the 102 teams in the NVSL! For the past 18 years, a regular summer dual meet has grown beyond just a rivalry and into the definitive moment for each pool’s summer swim experience.
Overlee is the winningest team in NVSL history–in 61 years of NVSL competition, the Flying Fish, one of the original teams in the league, have won 29 Division 1 championships, and have never dropped out of the top division since getting there in 1962! Chesterbrook, once a journeying team through the middle divisions of the league, has 14 divisional championships during that same period of time, including 10 Division 1 championship banners–9 of which have come since the year 2000. Since joining the top division in 1999, Chesterbrook is 11-7 against Overlee, winning titles from 2001-2004, and then again in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2016, and 2017! During that same period, Overlee has claimed the D1 banner in 2006-2009, 2011, 2014, and 2015! From 2001 to present date, Overlee and Chesterbrook have not only won every D1 championship except in 2005 when VAC won the triple crown, the Tiger Sharks, and Flying Fish have won every divisional relay and All-Star Relay crown as well except 2005 (stated above), the 2011 D1 relays (Tuckahoe), and 2013 All-Star relays trophy (McLean), for a grand total of 48 of 53 trophies during that stretch! From 2006-2017 Overlee and Chesterbrook have finished first and second atop the league every year (except 2007–VAC finished 2nd), making the week 5 matchup between the two pools a regular fixture in the season schedule with both teams entering the final meet 4-0, and this year is no different–this meet is truly the clash of the titans!
This year, Chesterbrook has looked nothing short of dominant–the Tiger Sharks took the D1 relay crown, beating out Overlee by 44 points, which is a massive margin in this meet’s recent history, seeing as how the two teams usually swim within 10 points of each other on that Wednesday. Chesterbrook followed up that performance with an impressive win at the league’s All-Star Relay Carnival, taking the big trophy with a whopping 135 point margin between them and the second place Flying Fish. The Tiger Sharks have beaten their D1 opponents on average by 178.5 points this season! Chesterbrook clearly enters this meet as the heavy favorite, and on paper, look to be about 100 points better than Overlee. However, that means relatively nothing when put in the context of this meet!
Since 2006, the average point margin between the teams is 35.5 points, with both teams winning a few lopsided victories during that stretch. From 2012-2014 the margin of victory was 2 or 3 points, making one second-place finish going the other way the only difference in a 52 event meet! Overlee and Chesterbrook have both won this meet when they were seeded to lose–they have each bounced back from losing both relay carnivals to the other side before going on and upsetting the favorites in the dual meet! With that said, we wouldn’t put too much stock into what this meet looks like on seed times, and instead point to the history of this rivalry.
This meet in many ways will be won before the meet–Overlee and Chesterbrook have very strong traditions of team spirit that they have built into their winning culture to help propel them in tight spots. If Overlee shrugs off the relay meets and comes into Saturday morning determined to flip the script they can will their team to an upset win. In 2006 Overlee was at least 60 point dogs coming in and had lost both divisional and All-star relays, but throughout the meet, they found points in the outside lanes, and gradually inched their way back in, only needing 1 more relay than they were supposed to get, which came with the 15-18 boys clinching it with their medley. Chesterbrook has to keep the pedal to the medal and refuse to believe this is anything other than just another meet–if they go and do what they have been doing all season, taking things race by race and staying positive throughout the morning, they will come out on top. In 2010, Chesterbrook was simply an unparalleled force compared to the rest of the league, and they rode the tides through each victory and relay championship meet. By the time they got to Overlee, the Tiger Sharks’ confidence was sky high, giving them more than belief, but faith in knowing they could beat the Flying Fish, despite Overlee having gone 5 years without losing a meet–sure enough they won convincingly early in relays, bringing home their first D1 championship since 2004!
This meet is about attitude and channeling that energy into kids stepping up to score points when they shouldn’t. This meet is about history and learning from the generations of swimmers and coaches who have duked it out with the other side before. This meet is about community, and how two similar groups of people approach one contest in different ways to give their side the edge. This meet is Overlee vs Chesterbrook–the ultimate showdown between the heavyweights of the NVSL–the final test to determine the 2018 Division 1 Champion!
Good luck Flying Fish and Tiger Sharks – Swim Fast and Keep it Fun!
Swim Ninja and Chesterbrook Streams are teaming up again to provide a live stream of the meet — come back here Saturday morning to see all the action from the meet as it happens, or for race videos and recap afterward!