As is customary, Saturday’s NVSL Division 1 meet at Chesterbrook between the Tiger Sharks and the Oakton Otters began with an elaborate skit by the home team. A handful of Chesterbrook swimmers, convincingly dressed as a bevy of Otters, came running in from the parking lot onto the grassy hill between the competition and warmup pool. Seconds later, a host of swimmers dressed as Tiger Sharks crashed through a paper banner, swept up the Otters, and fed them to a massive homemade shark.
The shark’s mouth chomped realistically, gobbling up one and two Otters with every bite.
The same happened as soon as the meet started.
Andrew Bernstein, 8, was arguably Chesterbrook’s most dominant performer Saturday, never mind the short plaster cast on his right wrist. Bernstein (17.06) led Jay Gollob (20.06) and Rajan Bhargava (20.71) to sweep the Otters in the 8 & under freestyle. Less than 30 minutes later, he (20.90) combined with Gollob (25.44) and Akash Gupta (27.90) for a sweep of the 8 & under backstroke, including a powerful start despite the cumbersome cast.
“He’s a gamer,” said Chesterbrook coach Colin Stuver. “Cast, no cast, it doesn’t matter. He could have a cast on both hands and still be good.”
Thomas, 10, and Christopher Outlaw, 14, once again were responsible for a notable amount of Chesterbrook’s success. Thomas took first in the 9-10 freestyle (31.97) and in the 25M butterfly (15.14) as well as swam the fly leg of the winning 9-10 medley relay (1:10.18), fastest in NVSL. Meanwhile, Christopher swam to first place in the 13-14 freestyle (25.92) and backstroke (30.99). The older Outlaw also led off the first-place 13-14 medley relay (1:00.21).
Prior to their mixed age relay, Thomas and Christopher were serenaded by chants of “OUT-LAWS” from their Tiger Shark teammates. After being close initially, the Chesterbrook team pulled away to win by two and a half seconds (1:57.85).
Chesterbrook coach Jeff Linn put it simply: “They both have been stepping up; possible legends at the pool.”
The Tiger Shark girls, too, were outstanding, winning 14 of 19 individual events. Gabby Perotti, 8, was a double-winner (18.27, free; 23.81, back) as were Maddie McArthur, 10, (35.40, free; 17.36, fly), Sabrina Kersten, 12, (31.32, free; 34.43, fly), and Julia Green, 10, (39.81, back; 48.38, breast).
Nick Highman, 10, was a highpoint for Oakton, winning the 9-10 breaststroke by four seconds (42.29).
Said Stuver: “Tuckahoe, we’re coming for you.”
NVSL of note:
Division 14 looks to be tight this year, with two of the three weekend meets being decided by 10 points or less.
PWSL reaches halfway mark
Some top times from the first half of the season:
8 & under girls 100 IM: Allison Harner, 1:53.92 (Lake Ridge)
9-10 girls backstroke: Erin Quinn, 38.40 (Wellington)
13-14 girls breastroke: Reni Moshos, 35.71 (Piedmont)
9-10 boy 25 butterfly: Steven Butler, 16.30 (Sudley)
9-10 boys 100 IM: Noah Klipp, 1:24.12 (Sudley)
11-12 butterfly: Sam Pomajevich, 30.32 (Sudley)
Senior boys 100 IM: Ryan Dunne, 1:01.35 (Kingsbrooke)
– Taylor Knight
Theresa Banks digs deep
Just because Kelsey Carter and her Theresa Banks girls’ 9-18 200 free B relay team weren’t expected to win Saturday’s final event against MVP Dolphins didn’t mean they didn’t have an important job to do.
For the second week in a row, the Tiger Sharks needed the group to play a major role in a down-to-the-wire meet.
Carter, 18, touched the wall less than a second ahead of MVP Dolphins’s top team to give the Theresa Banks a sweep of the top two places in a 289-286 win. Last week, Theresa Banks took the top two spots in the event to pull out a two-point win against Bel Air Bath and Tennis.
“Once we started off, the adrenaline was just flowing like crazy,” Carter said. “It was like, ‘We have to win this. We’re going to win this.'”
Theresa Banks continued to show it takes a flair for the dramatic to survive in the Prince-Mont Swim League‘s Division A with their late-meet heroics. With the meet tied heading into the closing two relays, Theresa Banks’s top boys’ and girls’ 9-18 200 free relays each set team and home pool records. Taking the top two spots on the girls’ side ensured the Tiger Sharks would stay undefeated.
Theresa Banks’s relay team of Leah Broome, Alyssa Evans, Sydnee Minor and Danielle Jackson finished in 2:10.62 to win the final event handily. Kendall Carter, Sean Barbour, Darnell Hungerford and Darell Hungerford won the boys’ race in 2:02.62.
“It’s always unnerving when the meet comes down to the relays, but the girls always seem so optimistic,” Theresa Banks President Michelle Jordan said. “We knew they were going to get one-two.”
Minor, 12, swam up a division to take three individual races in the 13-14 year-old age group (50 fly, 50 free, 100 IM). Barbour (boys’ 11-12 50 free, 50 back and 100 IM) and Darnell Hungerford (boys’ 13-14 50 free, 50 breast and 100 IM) also were triple individual winners for Theresa Banks.
Takoma Park D.C. stayed on track for its third straight Division A title by winning its closest meet of the season on Saturday. It dispatched Bel Air Bath and Tennis, 298.5-278.5, getting three event wins apiece from eight-year-old Raylen Jackson, 11-year-old Jon Bendana, 12-year-old Deangela Fobbs, 14-year-old Jalyn Robinson and 15-year-old Jared Miller.
Takoma Park D.C. and Theresa Banks are scheduled to meet in the season-ending dual meet on July 16, possibly with the division crown on the line.
“That’s great motivation to tighten up our relays and make sure we do everything perfect,” Carter said. “We’ve had some great matchups with Takoma Park. Knowing that we’re neck and neck with them, it’s a great feeling. It’s going to either make us or break us, and with the team we have this year, I think it will make us.”
The Division A rivals are just two of 10 undefeated squads remaining in the 40-team league.
While Westlake Village (Division B) and Kingfish (Division C) have taken control of their respective divisions, they are the exceptions. Late-season showdowns between unbeatens are brewing in several other divisions. Those include Russett and Fort Washington in Division D, King’s Landing and Severn Crossing in Division E and Prince George’s Pool and Hawthorne Country Club in Division F.
Cedarbrook hangs on
Cedarbrook Coach Dave Crocker likes to keep his team’s goals simple. If the swimmers improve and have fun throughout the season, Crocker, a former Seahawk swimmer now in his 20th summer coaching at the Kensington pool, will be happy.
On Saturday, both those factors came together and produced Cedarbrook’s first win of the Montgomery County Swim League season in exciting fashion against River Falls. The Seahawks won just 20 of 50 events but used their depth to slip past the Dolphins, 397-395, in a Division C meet.
“It was definitely a barn-burner,” Crocker said. “We’ve swum them so many times in the last few years, so we knew we’d at least have a shot if we stepped up and swam great. And we certainly did.”
Sydney Kirsch, 13, won all four of her individual events, including the girls’ 13-14 50 free in a team record time (28.66).
Cedarbrook led by two points after the individual events and won by the same margin when they split the closing graduated relays. The Seahawks lost the meet’s final event (girls’ 175 graduated relay) by just 0.15 seconds but still did enough to hold on.
After struggling to keep up with Darnestown (the only undefeated squad left in Division C) and Flower Valley (a team that spent 2010 in Division A), Cedarbrook broke through with its first win of the summer and sparked hope for a strong finish.
“This can go one of two ways now,” Crocker said. “The kids were so excited all meet long, and now they have to work hard to make sure there’s no let down. If they can keep the momentum going, maybe they can turn it into a little winning streak.”
Elsewhere, Upper County‘s Diana Hanson and Poolesville‘s Elizabeth Pepper cemented their places among the league’s top girls’ swimmers. Hanson turned in the top time in the girls’ 15-18 100 IM (1:08.23), while Pepper grabbed the top spot in the girls’ 15-18 50 fly. With those swims, Hanson (100 IM and 100 breast) and Pepper (50 fly and 100 free) both currently hold the top times in a pair of events.
Saturday proved a good time to swim the girls’ 13-14 100 IM with seven of the top nine all-star times posted in Week 3 meets. Palisades‘s Katie Ledecky, 14, swam the league’s fastest time of the season (1:06.81) in a win against Little Falls. Rockville turned out three of the fastest performances in the same race with Scarlett Sun, Emily Zhang and Elaina Gu, sweeping the top three places in their meet against Stonegate in impressive fashion.
Bethesda‘s Leah Kannan (girls’ 8-and-under 25 breast), Tallyho‘s Phoebe Bacon (girls’ 8-and-under 25 fly), Darnestown‘s Jaycee Yegher (girls’ 11-12 50 breast), Rockville’s Jessica Chen (girls’ 13-14 50 breast), Stonebridge‘s Kristina Li (girls’ 15-18 100 back) were the other girls to post league-best times on Saturday.
Last week, Rockville’s Darius Truong made his mark on the league record book, dropping a 12-year-old record when he swam the boys’ eight-and-under 25 back in 18.09 seconds. But the eight-year-old still found room for improvement this week in the Rays’s win against Stonegate.
Truong bettered his times in the 25 free (15.50) and 25 fly (17.19) and now holds the league’s top time this season in all four of his individual events. With one league record already in hand, he has a chance to push for more as he’s within a second of the league record in the 25 free and 25 fly.
His older brother, Devin, has been nearly as impressive, setting a league record in the boys’ 11-12 100 IM in the opening week and pacing the league in several events. This week he posted season-best times in the boys’ 11-12 50 back (31.34), 50 breast (35.22) and 50 fly (30.16). The only individual event in his age group in which Devin Truong does not currently own the season’s top time is the 50 free. Upper County’s Samuel Tarter (28.19) is slightly ahead of him in that event.
Westleigh‘s Andrew Gibson (boys’ 13-14 50 back), Old Georgetown‘s Carsten Vissering (boys’ 13-14 50 breast), Lakelands‘s Brandon Goldstein (13-14 100 IM), Northwest Branch‘s Adrien Downey (boys’ 15-18 100 breast) and Flower Valley‘s Jack Conger (boys’ 15-18 50 fly) were the other boys to record league-best times on Saturday.
– Eric Detweiler, email@example.com