The Northern Virginia Swim League hosts its first meets of the season this weekend.
The 17-division, 102-team league boasts many of the area’s top swimmers and times on a perennial basis, rivaled only by Maryland’s MCSL. The NVSL format, in which successful teams are promoted to higher divisions and struggling teams are relegated to lower ones, creates clear separations in talent.
Chesterbrook opens the season with a matchup at the Hamlet Green Feet. The McLean-based Tiger Sharks have no problem attracting talent and use “assessments” to keep team numbers reasonable. The team’s top swimmers, then, are remarkable.
Last season, Jaya Kambhampaty, 11, was among Chesterbrook’s best 9-10 boys, taking third place at All-Stars in the 50 freestyle (32.90), and should have little trouble moving up into the 11-12 lineup. The same holds true for Duncan Green, 11, and Sam Gollob, 11, who took first (42.3) and second (42.49), respectively, in the 9-10 50 breaststroke at the 2010 All-Stars. Alston Offutt, 15, was Chesterbrook’s top female finisher at All-Stars last season, wrapping up second place in the 13-14 50 breaststroke (37.05), but aging up to 15-18s can be a daunting challenge for even the best swimmers.
An interview request via email was not immediately answered by a Chesterbrook team rep.
Overlee perhaps represents Chesterbrook’s greatest challenge for the Division 1 title, and Tuckahoe, too, according to Overlee head coach Joan Mountain.
“The beauty of summer swimming is it really depends how the team matches up,” said Mountain, who leads Overlee’s largest team in a decade with 290 swimmers.
The Flying Fish, which open with a contest at McLean, also follow the truism that younger swimmers win summer meets. At last year’s All-Stars, Nicholas Pasternak, now 11, finished second in the 9-10 50 freestyle (31.92) and fourth in the 25 butterfly (16.02). He also holds two Overlee records; one in the 8 & under 25 butterfly (18.69) and another as a member of the 8 & under 100 freestyle relay (1:09.37). His older sister, Isabelle, 15, also turned in an impressive 2010 All-Stars with a third place in the 13-14 50 backstroke (32.55) and seventh in the 50 butterfly (31.58). Jonathan Day, 11, was also outstanding, winning the 9-10 50 backstroke in 36.87. Overlee graduated Kaitlin Wolla, but the 15-18 girls shouldn’t take much of a dip with the likes of Katherine Bennett and Emma Leheney to fill the holes.
And although McLean has just been promoted to Division 1 this season, the Flying Fish refuse to overlook any opponent.
Mountain said: “As a team, we take each meet week-by-week…I know that they have really strong 13-14 year olds, and I think their 8 & unders are pretty strong, too.”
Nevertheless, the Division 1 meet of the season could come July 23 when Chesterbrook to Overlee.
But not all of the elite talent resides at the top.
Because most swimmers elect to compete for their neighborhood clubs, NVSL’s best are sometimes buried deep within the double-digit divisions.
Ian Thompson, 9, was the fastest 8 & under breaststroker a season ago, but swims for Poplar Heights of Division 8. Max Cruz, also 9, swims for the 11th Division’s Holmes Run Acres, but that didn’t stop him from winning the 8 & under butterfly at All-Stars. Alessandra Troncoso, 17, is an Old Keene Mill Osprey (Division 13) and won the 15-18 50 breaststroke at All-Stars (34.25).
- Taylor Knight
FAMILY AFFAIR AT TANTERRA
Karen Zarchin takes the time to commute from Annapolis to coach Tanterra during the summer largely because some of her best memories came growing up at the Brookeville pool.
But the family environment that has long attracted Zarchin to Tanterra will take on a whole different meaning on Saturday. Many of her immediate relatives will be either competing or rooting on the latest in the line of swimming Zarchins when the Tarpons meet Lakelands in a Montgomery County Swim League Division H meet.
Zarchin will coach four of her nieces and nephews in the meet as they compete against two others. Her parents, Sue and Mike, will be in attendance, along with all five of her siblings. Afterward, they’ll have a little family time at the pool — with the Zarchin representatives from the winning side buying the pizza.
“I think we’re all just going to be really happy to be there and cheering for each other,” Zarchin said. “It’s about family and fun, and I think that encompasses everything the MCSL and Tanterra are about.”
The Zarchin cousins have made an impact early on this season, particularly 12-year-old Maddy Zarchin of Lakelands.
In the Lionfish’s season-opening 403-385 win against Littlefalls, Maddy Zarchin won the 100 IM (1:17.75), 50 free (31.06) and 50 fly (32.65), while placing second in the 50 back. Her performance in the 50 fly ranked second among all league swimmers in her age group. Her 10-year-old brother, Brian, scored points in three individual events.
They’ll get help from 14-year-old Brandon Goldstein — the only Lakelands swimmer to win four individual events (100 IM, 50 fly, 50 free, 50 back) at the opening meet.
On the Tanterra side, Zarchin’s nephews Jack, 9, and Brooks, 8, and nieces Logan, 7, and Allie, 7, will compete on Saturday — with Jack and Brian slated to swim against each other in the boys 9-10 50 free. Both Brooks and Logan scored points in Tanterra’s season-opening loss to Northwest Branch.
Morgan Page, 11, starred for the Tarpons in that meet, winning four individual events and swimming a leg on the team’s winning 175 free relay.
Even Zarchin’s siblings without children on the team have ties to the meet as her brother, Danny, is the Tanterra pool manager and sister, Debbie, still holds a Tarpon team record in the 50 breast for the girls 11-12 age group.
The family gathering was set up when each team was slotted in Division H this season with Tanterra moving down a division from last summer and Lakelands jumping up two. It didn’t take long for the Zarchins to single out Saturday’s meet as the event of the season.
“I’m really excited,” Maddy Zarchin said. “We’ve been looking forward to it for a long time. My cousins and I are really close, so it will be fun.”
- Eric Detweiler, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: Alessandra Troncoso, Alston Offutt, Brooks Zarchin, Chesterbrook Tiger Sharks, Duncan Green, Emma Leheney, Hamlet Green Feet, Holmes Run Acres, Ian Thompson, Isabelle Pasternak, Jaya Kambhampaty, Joan Mountain, Jonathan Day, Karen Zarchin, Katherine Bennett, Lakelands, Maddy Zarchin, Max Cruz, McLean Marlins, MCSL, Nicholas Pasternak, NVSL, Old Keene Mill Osprey, Overlee Flying Fish, Poplar Heights, Sam Gollob, Tanterra, Tuckahoe