By Contributor: Brenten Gilbert

Photo Credits: Colleen Corrado 

Kicking off the Fourth of July festivities in true “Swim Family” fashion, the Bridlewood Bridlewaves opened up their pool deck to five other PWSL teams for the fourth annual Stars and Stripes Invitational meet. This all-star meet always promises to be an action-packed, fun-filled, standing room only event that featured the top swimmers from each team, showcasing their strengths.

Everyone gets festive for the Fourth and the relay races are a “BLAST”.

The Stars and Stripes Invitational is an exhibition meet that features all four swimming disciplines, medley relays, and a crescendo freestyle relay. Each team is allowed to bring one medley team for each age group and gender to swim in the relay and individual events. Swimmers participate in their assigned discipline for both the relay and the individual event. For example, a swimmer competing in the backstroke event also swims the backstroke leg of the medley relay. The crescendo relay includes one swimmer from each age group to swim freestyle, regardless of their specific discipline.

Swimmers from Dominion Valley Kingsbrooke, Wellington, Ben Lomond, and Virginia Oaks  returned to compete against three-time champions and hosts, the Bridlewood BWaves. Winning swimmers were recognized by receiving their medals during podium ceremonies at specific breaks. Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson was on hand to distribute the medals and congratulate each swimmer throughout the meet.  Another staple of the meet, the teams collected several boxes of food and goods to donate to the Northern Virginia Family Services SERVE campus in Manassas.

Brentsville District Supervisor Jeanine Lawson congratulates Stars and Stripes winners with a medal on the awards podium.

This year, the weather cooperated and it didn’t rain at all during the meet, but the humidity soon proved to be a factor for those around the pool deck. In the water, however, it was the swimmers who were heating things up. Thirty eight swimmers achieved record times in 28 of the 52 events on the docket. The racing was intense at times as multiple swimmers broke records in the same event, side-by-side, knowing that only the top time would rule the record board.

Individual Record Breakers include the following:

8&U Boys: Lionel Martinez (Wellington), Tyler Terhaar (Bridlewood)

8&U Girls: Ariana Aldeguer (Wellington), Jolie Vignier (Dominion Valley)

9-10 Boys: Ethan Stowell (Dominion Valley), Ryan Maynard (Dominion Valley), Jacob Cho (Dominion Valley), Calem O’Shea (Dominion Valley), Paul Querijero (Bridlewood)

9-10 Girls: Madalyn Witt (Bridlewood), Makenzie Witt (Bridlewood), Olivia Ahearn (Dominion Valley)

11-12 Boys: Lleyton Arnold (Dominion Valley)

11-12 Girls: Lexi Sawwa (Dominion Valley)

13-14 Boys: Joe Durocher (Bridlewood), Ethan Chi (Dominion Valley), Blake Eyre (Bridlewood), Christian Greiner (Dominion Valley), Ryan Chmielenski (Bridlewood), Joshua Hochard (Kingsbrooke)

13-14 Girls: Kaylee Benton (Kingsbrooke), Jordan Durocher (Bridlewood), Ashlyn Solenberger (Wellington), Tess Peny (Dominion Valley)

15-18 Boys: Daniel Wong (Virginia Oaks)

15-18 Girls: Catherine Purnell (Ben Lomond), Georgia Johnson (Bridlewood), Emily Hetzer (Dominion Valley), Erin Quinn (Bridlewood)

Virginia Oaks swimmers also broke a relay record, while relay teams from Bridlewood and Dominion Valley raced to record times in four events each.

When all was said and done, the BWaves led the medal count and points total, earning their fourth straight meet Championship trophy. Dominion Valley and Wellington took second and third place, respectively. More importantly, the Stars and Stripes Invitational was once again successful in providing a fun way for swimmers to compete and give back to the surrounding community. Plans are already underway for next year’s event.

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