Since the NVSL was established in 1956 there have been numerous teams that contended for league championships, creating rivalries that blossomed, thrived, and eventually died down. Over the years, different pools rose to the top and made division 1 their temporary home, setting their sights on the ultimate prize: a league championship. However, for the past 20 years, only two teams have been able to truly consider themselves a contender year in and year out and this year is no different. It’s week 5 and that means its time for the latest installment of the Overlee-Chesterbrook Shootout!
Chesterbrook comes into this meet as a strong favorite–the Tigersharks have won D1 the past three years and took the triple crown in 2018, and have already taken the first two jewels in the triple crown this summer with wins at D1 Relay Carnival and All Star Relays earlier this week. While Chesterbrook has been dominant this summer, winning their previous four dual meets on average by 194 points, they will definitely get their biggest challenge this weekend. Chesterbrook is hoping to 4-peat, which would be the first time a team has done that since Overlee completed the feat from 2006-2009. Chesterbrook pulled off four straight championships from 2001-2004--in this century no team has only won three in a row, putting history on the side of the Tigersharks.
Overlee has been the clear next best team in the NVSL–the Flying Fish were challenged well by Tuckahoe and Highlands, but they finished 14 points ahead of the Tigers at D1 relays and almost 150 points better at All Star Relays. Last year, Overlee came into this meet with an uphill challenge after Chesterbrook had handedly dismantled thier D1 competition and made things interesting before losing by 56 points. Keep in mind though that in this rivalry flipping 25-30 points is rather common, meaning Overlee certainly had a chance to win, and they will have their opportunity this year as well.
On paper, Chesterbrook needs to keep doing what they have done all year long and just be themselves–for Overlee to win they need to have their best meet of the season. CB has swum at Tuckahoe, widely considered one of the fastest pools in the NVSL, which could make their times look stronger than they are–of course, Chesterbrook is no joke and it would be foolish to think these athletes won’t show up. However, Overlee has swum most of their meets in less favorable conditions at Highlands, McLean, and Wakefield Chapel, which are not the most ideal venues for sprinting. In years past when both teams swam dual meets at Tuckahoe, you often saw these two teams post their best times of the summer in this meet–as both the Tigersharks and Flying Fish vie for the 2019 title, expect both sides to push each other to new personal bests. With existing times, we count at least 25 races (virtually half the meet) that could make things very close. With that in consideration, Overlee could be a dangerous and possibly undertested adversary–conversely, Chesterbrook might also be a beast that has yet to fully show its teeth.
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Regardless of seed times, no points have been scored in this meet–Overlee and Chesterbrook are the dominant teams they are because they harness the momentum gained from each big race won by their side. To win in this rivalry, you need to win more of the close races and keep the energy high on your sideline, hoping to quiet the other side. When things don’t go your way, you need short term memory loss and focus on the next race. Here are the races that we believe will ultimately determine the meet:
8-Under Boys Free: William O’Neill and Maddox Cory (CB) will go to the wall with Frederick Papadopoulos in lane 3.
9-10 Boys Free: Sully Portner (O) and Jack Perlish (CB) have nearly identical times and will battle it out for 5 important early points.
9-10 Girls Free: Moira Kinsella (O) will try to prevent Annabelle Francis and Chiara Mizzo (CB) from going 1-2 for the Tigersharks.
11-12 Boys Free: Evan Ingraham should take 1st for Overlee with Matthew Rose getting 2nd–a critical 3rd place point will be up for grabs between John Reyburn (CB) and Matthew Bailey (O).
11-12 Girls Free: Emily Reyburn will try to steal 5 points away from Grace Callahan with about a tenth of a second separating the two at the moment.
13-14 Boys Free: Luke Bernasek (CB) and Luke Aslaksen (O) might both go under 26s as they each try to earn 1st place points.
13-14 Girls Free: Caroline Burgeson and Patricia Leonard have led a stellar group of 13-14 girls for the Tigersharks this summer–Lauren Hartel will try to mess things up a bit if she can take more than 3rd.
15-18 Boys Free: Chesterbrook’s senior boys is arguably one of the toughest age groups in NVSL history–Thomas Outlaw, Ryan Soh, and Ollie Bernasek would love to earn an early sweep, but Ryan York has stepped up for his Flying Fish this summer and will be in contention for points with the group.
8-Under Boys Back: Manu Maher should take 1st, but his teammate Joshua Friend will have Lars Green-Orset and James Hanke (O) right with him fighting for those last 4 points.
9-10 Boys Back: Jackson Bravery (O) and Paxton Warin (CB) will have a very close race with only tenths separating them on paper.
9-10 Girls Back: McKenzie Cory should hit the wall first for Chesterbrook and Taylor Shen will try to grab 2nd away from Overlee’s Sofia Hess.
11-12 Boys Back: Billy Weber (O) will need to step up to beat Andrew Lohman (CB)–this will be a tight race between two very strong 12 y/o boys.
11-12 Girls Back: Grace Callahan (O) and Keira Gutierrez (CB) will head to the wall together, with Katherine Schmitt (O) and Isabelle Bernasek (CB) closely contesting 3rd place.
13-14 Boys Back: Tommy Weber (O) will try to edge out Luke Bernasek, but Andy Francis will be on the other side of him, hoping to take points away from the Flying Fish.
13-14 Girls Back: Cate Sheridan, Caroline Burgeson, and Kiera Johnson hope to sweep 9 points for the visitors–Olivia Grabman will need her best swim of the summer to keep that from happening.
15-18 Boys Back: No one will stop Ryan Soh from winning this race for Chesterbrook, but Robert Ridgeway and Ryan York will do what they can to take 4 points with Tyler Lentine (CB) right in the mix.
8-Under Boys Breast: Brian Kinsella (O) and Manu Maher (CB) will have one of the closest races of the morning for 1st with less than a tenth currently separating the two.
11-12 Boys Breast: Billy Weber (O) will get ahead of the pack quickly while Rory McNamara will go to the wall with the CB trio of Matthew Rose, Liam Khoriaty, and Andrew Lohman for the remaining 4 points.
15-18 Girls Breast: Kayle Park should win 5 points for Overlee, but she will have a good challenge from Gabby Perotti, while Sophia Grabman and Sydney-Cate Thornett battle it out for 3rd.
8-Under Boys Fly: Frederick Papadopoulos hopes to take 1st for Overlee, while Maddox Cory tries to upset him in lane 4.
9-10 Boys Fly: Sully Portner (O) and Jack Perlish (CB) will have a great 25 sprint with the win coming down to the touch.
9-10 Girls Fly: Taylor Shen (CB) will win this race, but it is a dead heat the rest of the way for Chiara Mizzo and McKenzie Cory for Chesterbrook and Sofia Hess, Natalie Anderson, and Molly Kinsella for the Orange and White.
13-14 Boys Fly: Tommy Weber will need to step up for his Flying Fish to take more than 3rd over Andy Francis and Arav Bhargava for Chesterbrook.
This meet will be a thriller regardless of the score–both teams have so much talent and firepower that you won’t want to miss a single race. We are fortunate to have the opportunity to livestream this meet so you can see the action and feel the energy of one of the most incredible local sports rivalries at any level.