There are many who agree on the subject, including the two head coaches of the rival McLean summertime swimming teams.
The final score of the 9 a.m. Saturday, July 16 showdown between the host Chesterbrook Tiger Sharks and the Tuckahoe Tigers to determine the Division 1 champion of the Northern Virginia Swimming League could be very close, possibly even a tie.
“Yes, a tie is possible,” Chesterbrook coach Dan McGuire said. “It could be that close.”
Each team enters the final regular-season match with 4-0 records. The meet winner will be the division champ, and the loser will finish second. Tuckahoe is the defending champion and enters the meet with an 11-match winning streak over three seasons. Prior to last summer, Chesterbrook won the previous four Division 1 titles.
“On paper, it’s a dead heat,” Tuckahoe coach Torey Ortmayer said. “But it could also turn into a blowout, depending on which team shows up the strongest. We are stronger in some age groups and they are stronger in others.”
McGuire agreed that the team that shows up with the strongest start could have an edge and build important momentum, which could be a big key and hard for the opponent to overcome.
“You never know because we are talking about young kids,” McGuire said. “It depends on how many have eaten Pop-Tarts that morning and slows them down. As coaches, we have to make sure we keep our swimmers up for the entire meet.”
Against Division 1 common opponents this summer, the teams’ winning margins of victories have been similar.
Arlington’s Overlee Flying Fish, who likely will finish third in Division 1 with a 3-2 record, lost to Chesterbrook by a 219-201 score and to Tuckahoe, 235-185. One of Overlee’s top swimmers did not compete against Tuchahoe.
Overlee was the last team other than Chesterbrook or Tuckahoe to win the Division 1 crown, coming in 2015.
In program history, Chesterbrook has won 12 Division 1 championships and 17 NVSL titles overall, counting crowns in lower divisions. Tuckahoe has won four Division 1 crowns and nine overall.
Some individual swimmers to watch in the July 16 meet are Grant Nielsen, J.T. Ewing, Lily Flint, Nolan Dunkel, Catherine Hughes and Hunter Zipperer from Tuckahoe; and from Chesterbrook, McKenzie Cory, Matthew Rose, Caroline Burgeson, Andrew Christofferson, Manu Maher and Lily Wilson.
NOTE: In this season’s Division 1 relay championships, Chesterbrook finished first with 230 points. Overlee was second with 190 and Tuckahoe third with 185. Ortmayer said that competition could be an indicator of what might occur in the July 16 duel between Chesterbrook and Tuckahoe. But he also said his swimmers did not have a good meet in the relays.