Bodies have been tanned, voices have been lost, seasonal swimmers have found their form, and it is time for the final weekend of dual meets in the Montgomery County Swim League.
Potomac Woods, Tallyho meet in a battle of undefeateds
“We’ve been pretty lucky,” said Tallyho Coach Steve Rosenthal. “We’ve been really fortunate to have some fantastic parents who over the past couple years have made swimming at Tallyho a lot of fun.”
Tallyho has relied on some talented young swimmers to win their first four meets.
Eight-year-old Josh Wolfson has won all but two of his races this year, while siblings Ben-Long and Mei-Mei Zuo have team up with Bret Feyerick for one of the strongest 9-10 age groups around. At last year’s All Stars, Wolfson, Feyerick, Zuo, and Cameron Barclay won the 8 & under medley relay.
“Our 9-10s are really good and so are theirs, so there should be a lot of good races on Saturday,” Rosenthal said. “We’re going to go have fun and be fast and excited about the challenge in front of us.”
Like Tallyho, the Potomac Woods Demons rely on their younger talent to win races. Twelve-year-olds Rafaella Gutierrez and Joseph Howley have won all 16 of their races so far this season while 10-year-old Jacob Rosner has finished first in all 12 of his races. The 10 & under races between Talllyho’s Brett Feyerick and Ben-Long Zuo and Potomac Woods’ Rosner could be some of the most exciting in the meet.
According to our virtual meets tool, Potomac Woods is going to win 446-345, but this system only takes into account a team’s latest meet. After sharing the same four opponents so far this season, Potomac Woods has outscored Tallyho by a mere 39 points, so it’s hard to imagine this meet not coming down to the final few events.
Woodcliffe goes for perfect 5-0 season against Garrett Park
For the second straight year, Woodcliffe (4-0) and Garrett Park (3-0-1) find themselves meeting in Division E. Last year, Garrett Park defeated Woodcliffe 407-382 on their way to a 4-1 dual meet record; Woodcliffe finished the season 3-2. This time around, both teams are undefeated and looking to advance out of the division.
“We’ve talked about the fact that it’s not going to be easy,” Woodcliffe Coach Beth Silva said. “It’s going to be a tough meet and we got to rise to the occasion. Last year we lost to this team and the kids remember that. They were very aware of Garrett Park at the relay carnival.”
Woodcliffe has been led all season by 14-year-old Kelsy Song and 10-year-old Kenny Song. Kenny finished second in his first race of the season, but has touched first in every race since. His older sister Kelsy remains undefeated.
“I just love those kids and the family,” Silva said. “Those kids have such a tremendous work ethic; they practice just for fun, and they’ve been asked by other families on the team to help their kids out. They’re tremendously talented but they also work so hard.”
Sixteen-year-old Alex Wu leads the way in the 15-18 age group for Woodcliffe, having won 11 races so far this year.
“He’s a competitor who does not like to lose,” Silva said. “I’ve seen him toy with those he’s swimming against by staying with them for the first length then blowing them away. You can see it in his eyes, he doesn’t like to lose. He has also become a leader as an assistant coach and all the younger kids adore him.”
If Woodcliffe is going to complete the dream 5-0 season there is going to be quite the celebration afterwards simply due to the size of the team. “We have 250 kids, which is by far the biggest team I’ve ever coached and I’ve been in this league for 20 years,” said Silva.
Woodcliffe’s stars, Wu and Kelsy Song, will face tough competition from Garret Park’s Fletcher Tollefson (18) and Morgan Mayer (14). Tollefson, a Walter Johnson standout, was hot to start the season with 11 straight wins; however, he has cooled off with only one win in his last five races. The races between Mayer and Kelsy Song should be extremely close and could be a deciding factor in the meet. Garrett Park was one win away from a perfect season in Division E a year ago, but fell short to Country Glen.
Against the same opponents, Woodcliffe has outscored Garrett Park by an average of 40 points per meet.
Perfect seasons on the line in Division K
In another matchup of undefeated teams, Manor Woods will host Waters Landing in a Division K showdown. Manor Woods finished 4-1 in the division a year ago, but hope to better that mark with a win on Saturday.
“We’ve got a great group of kids,” Manor Woods Coach Jason Cordero said. “There’s a lot of depth in each age group and a lot of talent with several club swimmers.”
Twelve-year-old Laura Carey has been dominant for Manor Woods so far this season taking first-place points in all 16 races this season.
“Laura is a very hard worker,” Cordero said. “She trains 3-4 times a week in the winter and is dedicated and willing to improve every time she jumps in the pool.”
Along with Carey, John Hurley-Novatny gives Manor Woods one of the better 12-year-old duos in the division. Hurley-Novatny has a lone second place finish this season tarnishing his collection of blue ribbons.
“He swims year round with me at RMSC,” Cordero said. “He’s a very talented and driven individual who is always looking to get better.”
Waters Landing presents Manor Woods biggest challenge thus far.
“We’ve been telling them all week that, even though this team has been beating everybody by a lot of points, we can still win,” Cordero said. “I want them to continue to have fun, enjoy it, but stay focused. It’s still a game and a sport meant to be fun.”
Waters Landing has been having one of the more impressive seasons in all of the MCSL as it has outscored opponents by more than 153 points in every meet.
“We just have a great group of kids and great parents who all want to win,” Coach Eddie Qian said. “All season, our kids have been willing to give up events that they want to swim for the better of the team.”
“Grayson has grown a lot since last year and that has helped a lot,” said Qian, who just finished up his collegiate career at the University of Delaware. “He is also very coachable. It doesn’t take much to get him going and he makes adjustments well. Earlier this year we worked hard to tweak his dolphin kick and we’ve seen some great results.”
Petraites has had a fantastic season, breaking the team record in the 100-meter breaststroke last week that was previously held by his coach.
“I was really happy for Matt,” Qian said. “He works really hard at morning and afternoon practices as well as with his club team year-round.”
After having dismantled all competition they have faced so far this year, Qian is doing his best to keep his team focused ahead of Saturday’s meet.
“They saw Manor Woods finish fifth at the relay carnival, but I made sure to tell them not to pay attention to it,” he said. “They were missing some of their swimmers, and we are definitely going to have to swim fast and be at our best if we want to win on Saturday.”
Against the same opponents, Waters Landing has outscored Garrett Park by about 30 points a meet.
by Dillon Mullan
Chesterbrook hosts Division 1 foe Tuckahoe
Coming off a difficult second place finish at the Division 1 Relay Carnival on Wednesday, Chesterbrook moves on to the second leg of what Coach Jeff Linn calls ‘the Gauntlet’.
“Right in a row we have [divisional] relay carnival, Tuckahoe, All-Star relays, and then Overlee,” Linn said. “It’s one of the toughest stretches any team will ever have.”
Chesterbrook was knocked off its throne last year by Overlee, a year after ending Overlee’s streak of three consecutive titles in Division 1.
But if the Tigersharks hope to hoist the championship trophy this year, they’ll first have to get through perennial Division 1 opponent Tuckahoe (2-1), whose lone loss was handed to them by Overlee (3-0) last week.
Chesterbrook boasts a balanced team, with speed in nearly every age group. For the Tiger Sharks, Veronica Wolff, 14, enters this week with a perfect individual record in dual meets with six wins in the 13-14 age group. She is joined by Rachel Clark, 12, who has four individual first place finishes this season in the 11-12 age group, with her only two second place finishes taking place against McLean’s top talents Isabella Rongione and Michelle Owens in week two.
On the boys’ side, the 1-2 punch of the Outlaw brothers gives Chesterbrook an edge in the 11-12 and 15-18 age groups. Thomas Outlaw, 11, has been collecting points all season, despite aging up this year. His older brother Chris Outlaw, 15, also aged up this year, but that hasn’t slowed him at all. He joins Joseph Sullivan, 16, to lead the senior boys group.
For Tuckahoe, Evie Gieseman, 12, will challenge Clark for first if the two meet in any individual events, and will certainly find themselves side-by-side in the mixed age relay at the end of the meet. Senior Eva Greene is also expected to take first place points for the Tuckahoe Tigers in the girls’ 15-18 age group.
Tuckahoe’s strongest weapon is their impressive group of 8 & under boys, led by James Ewing and Dominic Leiss. Ewing is undefeated this year with six wins, while Leiss adds an additional five. Leiss’ only loss was to his teammate Ewing.
Mount Vernon Park takes on Hunt Valley
Mount Vernon Park and Hunt Valley both enter this week three showdown at 3-0 in Division 4. Hunt Valley’s Matthew Garstka and Sean Mayer are a powerful duo for the Stingrays in the 15-18 age group, and they’ll need to grab up those points to counter the damage done by MVP’s standout, Cassidy Bayer.
Bayer has broken her own NVSL record in the girls’ 11-12 50 butterfly in every meet this season. Even at 12 years old, her time is the second fastest by any girl in any age group in the league, just .07 seconds behind 16-year-old Janet Hu’s season best, who owns both the 13-14 and 15-18 records.
by Bryan Flaherty
Tags: Alex Wu, Ben-Long Zuo, Bret Feyerick, Cameron Barclay, Cassidy Bayer, Chesterbrook, Chris Outlaw, Dominic Leiss, Eva Greene, Evie Gieseman, Fletcher Tollefson, Garrett Park, Grayson Blanchard, Hunt Valley, Isabella Rongione, Jacob Rosner, James Ewing, John Hurley-Novatny, Joseph Howley, Joseph Sullivan, Josh Wolfson, Kelsy Song, Kenny Song, Laura Carey, Manor Woods, Matt Petraites, Matthew Garstka, Mei-Mei Zuo, Michelle Owens, Morgan Mayer, Mount Vernon Park, Potomac Woods, Rachel Clark, Rafaella Gutierrez, Sean Mayer, Summer, Tallyho, Thomas Outlaw, Tuckahoe, Veronica Wolff, Waters Landing, Woodcliffe