The Chesterbrook Tiger Sharks were home, ready and highly motivated to reclaim what they’d had in their possession for four straight seasons until disappointingly losing that coveted prize to their top neighborhood rival a year ago.
On July 16, the host Tiger Sharks (5-0) earned back that Northern Virginia Swimming League Division 1 championship with a 226-194 victory over the defending champion Tuckahoe Tigers, who ended up second with a 4-1 mark, and had their 11-match winning streak over three seasons snapped.
The title was Chesterbrook’s fifth in five years and the team’s 13th. Overall, Chesterbrook has won 18 NVSL division crowns in various divisions. The Tiger Sharks finished second to its McLean rival last season in Division 1, when Tuckahoe made huge strides in winning its first such crown in decades.
“I’ve lost my voice and I’m beyond elated right now,” first-year Chesterbrook head coach Dan McGuire said. “In a meet like this, having that home advantage I think is a massive assist. Everyone at our pool had gone off the rails with decorations and face paint and stuff, and that all feeds the momentum. We had an insane amount of energy. Our swimmers really stepped up and performed beyond what they were supposed to do.”
Included during Chesterbrook’s pre-meet buildup was a brief skit performed by some of the Tiger Sharks’ swimmers at one end of the pool.
Once the meet started, leading Chesterbrook were double race-winners Aliyah Majeed-Hall, McKenzie Cory, Mara Wilson, Jacqueline Furches, Catherine Hughes, Maddox Cory, Manuel Maher and Matthew Rose. The single winners were Gabrielle Donnelly, Caroline Burgeson, Emma Maher, Lily Wilson, Liliah Gallagher, Cameron Parkhomenko, Andrew Christofferson, Robert Oremland and Pranav Budharaju.
Chesterbrook won seven of the 12 relays.
“We coached the heck out of this team,” McGuire said. “At the start of the season we were not sure we had this good of a team.”
McGuire gives big credit to the Tiger Sharks’ success to top assistant coach Chris Outlaw, a former Chesterbrook swimmer, who is much familiar with big NVSL Division 1 rivalries and showdowns.
“We could not have done this without him,” McGuire said.
For Tuckahoe in the July 16 meet, with its visiting cheering section led by a one-man drummer and guitar player, Hunter Zipperer (24.15, 50 freestyle) and Catherine Hughes (29.89, 50 backstroke) set team records.
Two Tuckahoe relays set NVSL records – the boys 15-18 medley (1:44.71) of Nolan Dunkel, Isaac Bell, J.T. Ewing and Emanuel Rouvelas and the boys 18-under mixed-age free relay ((149.25) of Zipperer, Ewing, Kyle Koay and Grant Nielsen. Double race-winners for Tuckahoe were Hughes, Ewing, Nielsen, Daniel Klett and Vittoria Passos-Androvic. Single winners were Dunkel, Zipperer, Lily Flint, Rory Roed, Andrew Pelaez and Victor Rodriguez.
“It was a close meet early on, with a lot of really close races and finishes for second and third where we didn’t get the touch,” Tuckahoe coach Torey Ortmayer said. “A lot of our swimmers swam well, but all of those little things that needed to break our way for us to win didn’t. Chesterbrook is a very good team and they had a good meet.”
In its history, Tuckahoe has won four Division 1 crowns and nine NVSL division titles overall.
Chesterbrook has been in Division 1 every season since 2000. The Tiger Sharks moved up to the top division after winning the Division 2 title in 1999.
A few days earlier than the July 16 meet at the Hamlet pool in McLean, Chesterbrook built momentum for the July 16 dual meet by winning the league-wide All-Star Relay Carnival with 674 points. The Tiger Sharks won five relay races and finished second in four more.
Tuckahoe was third in the relays with 598 points. “It was a crazy, fun and very good week for us,” McGuire said about