In early 2009 at the Washington Post’s All-Met photo shoot, Georgetown Prep Coach Matt Mongelli and Churchill Coach Rodney Van Tassell – the respective boys’ and girls’ coaches of the year – chatted about the possibility of scheduling an early-season meet against each other.
The two schools were at the top of the private and public hierarchy in the local swim world but usually faced each other only at the Metros Championships and both thought an early meet would be a good way to allow a local rivalry to bloom.
“These kids, most of them… train together whether at Rockville or Curl-Burke. We’re so close together you kind of fall into same training circles and summer pools,” Mongelli said. “You see each other and everybody wants to beat their friends.”
The vision of a public versus private meet became a reality last week when Prep, Churchill and Holy Cross met on Wednesday and started to put the pieces together for the 2009-10 swim season. Georgetown Prep, last year’s Metros champions, downed Churchill, 112-74, and Churchill’s girls, which also won Metros, defeated Holy Cross, 155-71.
The emphasis was not on the results, both coaches said, but rather on getting an idea of the right formulas for the season, especially when training is in its early and more demanding stages.
“We looked good considering nearly all of the kids are training real hard at this point,” Van Tassell said. “I thought our freshmen class, while small, proved they are going to contribute substantially this year.”
For Georgetown Prep, the meet also provided an opportunity to see swimmers step up – especially after losing a star like All-Met swimmer Brady Fox, who is now at the University of Virginia.
“I think they always want to win Metros and I think a lot of people look to Churchill as the [team] to really challenge us, and that’s one reason [it was big], this is our biggest challenger,” Mongelli said. “They know DeMatha and Gonzaga graduated a lot more seniors than we did. They wanted to go out and say, ‘We’re still here. Yeah, we lost Brady and we lost Adam [Spencer], but don’t forget about the rest of us.’
“We keep losing a kid here or there but there is always somebody who decides to step up.”