By: Ally Navarrete and Annabel Redisch
Earlier in the week we posted the preview for Divisions O-I, and today we have the remainder of the league H through A. We’re looking forward to June 15 and watching the season unfold!
Seven Locks has had an unstoppable past few years which is why we see them winning Division H, continuing a winning streak from last season. Seven Locks will have a great crop of 9-10 boys, with MCSL record holder Kirk Morgan leading the pack. At just 9, Morgan was going impressive times of 32.15, 17.34, and 15.94 in free, back, and fly, respectively. On the girls side, Morgan’s older sister Healey will take control of the 13-14 age group, despite being at the bottom of it. At 12 Healey was going under 30 seconds in free and under 1:15 in IM, so this year she should fit in just fine with the older girls. In second, we predict the underdog of Division H, Clopper Mill Kingsview. Clopper Mill held their own in Division H last year, placing third overall. They will also benefit from having the best 15-18 boy in the division, Joseph Nonato. Clopper Mill also has 14-year-old backstroker Jake Lowrey in their arsenal. Lowrey was going 30.5 in the 50 back last summer, and was a key asset to their open medley relay, which went 1:56 last year at Divisionals. For third, we predict number three seed Chevy Chase Recreation Association. CCRA will see the return of 8&U Stewart Ross, who went a 19.46 last summer at seven. Also, 14 year old Clara Hinds will throw down some serious races, after a fantastic winter season, especially in backstroke. Number five seed Forest Knolls will face serious competition in this division, but we believe they will still put out the best girls Open Medley relay, winning major divisional and dual meet points for them.
We see top seed King Farm winning Division G. King Farm’s MCSL record holder Joyce Wu will lead the team at the top of the 13-14 age group, and though stars Audrey Lee and Ashton Sun are moving up to the 9-10 and 13-14 age groups, respectively, they should still perform well. Potomac had an outstanding performance last season, with their 8&U girls medley relay taking down a Stonegate MCSL record from 2013 by over 2 seconds. Freestyle star Julia Zettler will be 8 this summer, and having already gone 17.13 last summer, she should be one of the top girls in the county. Potomac also sports a strong 15-18 boys group with David Fitch and Steven Mendley at the top. However, Potomac lacks depth in the 11-14 age range, which is why we don’t see them winning. MCSL record holder Hailey Hammond of Little Falls will be moving to the 11-12 age group, and Jill Berger will also move to the 15-18 group, but the two should still perform very well for the team. Germantown fell all the way from Division A, struggling to reach the 300 point mark at 4 dual meets last season, and placed last at both Divisonals and Relay Carnival by wide margins. The team will have to work to regroup after last year, but should fall in the middle of the pack in this division. Olney Mill’s Grace Giddings will return following her freshman year swimming at the University of Pennsylvania, but we think she’ll have to fight to beat Little Falls’ Berger in most events. Westleigh will be lead by 12-year-old Tyler Coapstick, who at only 11 placed 6th in the 100 IM and 50 breast at All-Stars, going 1:11.66 and 36.28, respectively.
Division F includes teams from a wide array of 2018 divisions. Cedarbrook and Franklin Knolls fell from Divisions C and D, respectively, and Kenmont and Inverness moved up from Division I. Remaining in Division F are Merrimack Park and Palisades, and we predict top seed Palisades will win the division. Palisades has an incredibly strong 15-18 boys field, featuring Alec Cooper, Kyle Lawson and Michael Paulos; this team of boys should put together one of the best open medleys in the league this summer. Palisades’ Yoder twins, Anna and Claire, had stand-out performances two years ago as eight year olds, and will be an asset to the team as 10-year-olds this summer. Though Cedarbrook has fallen 4 divisions, a strong 15-18 boys field made up of Henry Bagshaw, Hayes Goetcheus, and Nathan Wratney should prove competitive with Palisades. Cedarbrook had strong 8-year-old girls last year with Olivia Morton and Michaela Perna qualifying for all-stars, as well as 10-year-old Elise Wratney who placed third in the 25 breast. The transition of these swimmers along with others to the bottom of the age group may hurt the team, but we still see them placing second overall in the division. Franklin Knolls star Liam Rooney will be moving up to the 13-14 age group, but should still be strong as he placed second in the 50 fly last year at All-Stars with an impressive time of 29.43. MCSL record holder Emma Lantry of Kenmont should have an outstanding season at age 12. She already went 35.39 in the 50 breast at All-Stars last summer, and it should be exciting to see how close she can come to Joyce Wu’s 33.45 record from 2017.
Division E has no clear victor this year- the three top seeded teams all have their strengths and weaknesses. In the end, we predict that the top spot will go to Daleview, who have had a great past few seasons and are looking to improve even further. Daleview’s team features rising 12-year-old Cameron House, who last year performed well at Divisionals, placing first in the 50 breaststroke despite only being 11. Daleview is continuing to build up an impressive group of 15-18s, which this year will include 15 year olds Collin Mckenzie and Johnny Dodd, both of whom swam at All-Stars last year. Challenging Daleview this summer will be Bannockburn, who beat them at Divisionals in 2018. Bannockburn has large gaps in some age groups, especially on the girls side, but are showing steady growth as a whole. Bannockburn should also produce the best men’s open medley relay in Division E, with a team of Andrew O’Brien, Owen Wassiliew, Lucca Scott and Gideon Helf forming to go under 1:55 this year. As for third, we see the title going to Regency Estates. Regency has a big group of older swimmers, including Noah Rutberg, Malia Bush, and Alison Kaiser. Additionally, almost all of their 13-14 boys last season were just 13, meaning they have significant room to grow and prove their depth this year. Despite Clarksburg Village coming down from Division C to join this division, they relied almost exclusively on swimmers at the top of their age groups last summer and lack star power. Robin Hood has some stars, including rising 8-year-old Daniel Fry and 15-18s Zach Bayler and Hannah Owings, but not enough depth to rise far from their sixth seed.
Division D will certainly be one of the more interesting divisions this year. The top seed is Mohican, who are jumping up from Division H to compete in Division D. However, we predict that Mohican will not be the victor, or even the runner up. Instead, we predict that Quince Orchard will be Division D’s champion. Quince Orchard is dropping down from B, but did not have a terrible season. Quince Orchard features many strong swimmers who were at the bottom of their age groups last summer, including Michael Taliano, who at just 11 went 1:14.63 and 29.95 in the 100 IM and 50 Free, respectively. QO’s rising 10 year olds Ariana Katz and McKenna Carswell (both of whom were under 37.00 at age 9 in their 50 frees) will become the best group in the division. If Quince Orchard has one weakness going into this year, it’s the aging up of two crucial point scorers: Cole Greenberg and Eli Fouts. Greenberg, QO’s best 13-14 boy in 2018 went an impressive 26.07 in the 50 Free but will be 15 this summer. Fouts, who last year swam a 1:01 100 breaststroke graduated in 2018, leaving a gap that will be nearly impossible to fill. Our 2nd place prediction goes to River Falls, who are back in Division D this year after spending the 2017 and 2018 summers in E. River Falls shows lots of promise, especially in their younger age groups. The Harms sisters, Stella (8) and Sofia (10) proved their versatility last year, posting All-Star qualifying times at the bottom of their respective age groups. For 3rd, we predict Mohican can scrape out enough wins. Mohican is starting this year with a new coach, and still maintains a powerhouse of 15-18s that is led by former MCSL record holder Danny Calder, as well as Sarah Johnson, who was 3rd last year at All-Stars in the 100 breast.
We see Connecticut Belair winning Division C this year, as we’re encouraged by the fact that most of their top performers last year were at the bottom of their age group. Rising 14-year-old Rachel Soubier had a great seasons last year, going 1:11.63 in the 100 IM, placing ninth at All Stars. Other standouts will be their girls open medley relay team, which went 2:07.21 last year with no graduating seniors, maintaining a secure relay for 2019. Even Connecticut Belair’s younger age groups were heavy on 7 and 9 year olds, and rising 9 year olds John Rienzo and Liesl Polich will be a force to be reckoned with. For second place, we predict Division A regular Tilden Woods, who are dropping to C this year. Tilden Woods is facing some rough losses, including the graduation of seniors Celine Nugent and Matthew Braviak, but still show strong potential in the leadership of 15-18s Timmy Ellett and Maya Drill. Another stand out for Tilden Woods is 14-year-old Sienna Karp, who at 13 won three out of four events at Division A’s Divisional Championship, and will look to be the best 13-14 in the division. For third, we predict the underdog, Glenmont. Glenmont jumped up five divisions from Division H, so their rise to C is inspiring, especially considering that just four years ago they were swimming out of Division L. Glenmont is unique in that it’s the only large, public pool in the Downcounty Consortium, meaning they are getting a wide array of swimmers from a large area. Under the tutelage of coach Kevin Mejia, this team is looking to become a force like that of Rockville and Bethesda. With their remarkable 17 swims at All-Stars last year, Glenmont is ready to face the challenges of being a top tier team.
While Northwest Branch is going into the 2019 season as the fourth-ranked team in Division B, we still see the 2018 Division C victors coming out on top, for one key reason: depth. Northwest Branch had a great season last year that was marked with many fast swims from swimmers at the bottom of their age groups, as well as two Divisionals second-place finishes in their open medley relays (going 1:53.65 and 2:07.27), both of which had no 18 year-olds on them, guaranteeing strong returning relays. Though we predict that Northwest Branch will have a winning season, there should be some pushback from No. 1 seed Wildwood Manor. Wildwood is going into 2019 as Division B’s 2018 runner-up, and like Northwest Branch, have proved that they have extreme depth, but this was mainly seen only in their 13 and overs. Stand outs include Winter Juniors qualifier Eleanor Sun and Emily Hsu, both of which will still be 14 for 2019. Wildwood’s biggest weakness actually comes from some of their top performers last summer, including the aging up of Lachlan Bartholomew, who won both the Boys 8&U 25 backstroke and breaststroke last year at All-Stars, as well as the graduation of 15-18s Christopher Emerson and Tyler Van Wagener, who placed 4th and 5th at All-Stars last year in the 50 fly, respectively. The Division’s 3rd place finish is too hard to call, because based on seeding it would be Woodley Gardens, whose pool unfortunately burned down this past year, resulting in them having to relocate for summer training. 3rd seed Damascus seems an unlikely choice, simply due to the fact that they haven’t been in such a high division since 2004. The same applies for Kentlands and Stonebridge, Kentlands has been sitting in the Division B-E range for many years now, but is facing the loss of star Olivia French, while Stonebridge has never been in such a high division.
After two years of Rockville coming out as the Division A champion, 2018 hit us with a surprise: a Rockville-Stonegate tie for first. While this leaves room for discussion as to which team will be the 2019 victor, we think that Rockville will come out on top again. This year, we will see outstanding swims from 14-year-old Andrew Eliason, who at 13 went a 24.72 50 free and a 26.20 50 back. Their boys’ graduate relay, who were last year’s second seed in the division (1:47.63), featured an 11-year old and the 13-year old Eliason, making their middle 100 secure for this year. We have Stonegate finishing second for one clear reason- arguably their best swimmer, the 14-year old Jason Hernandez Fuentes, has reportedly quit winter swimming. Hernandez Fuentes has had an amazing past two years, winning every event that he’s swam at All-Stars.While Hernandez Fuentes will still be a key asset, if he hasn’t been training consistently, the likes of Rockville’s Eliason will pose a real threat to him. Coming in third, we predict Country Glen. Country Glen is returning to Division A following a less than remarkable stint in 2017, but a stellar run in Division B last year. Country Glen brings an amazing energy to the Division that can’t be ignored, but is bolstered by their army of little kids. They also are looking to have an arsenal of 13-14 girls, featuring Georgia Yang, Bella Fenton, and Livia Venditti. Country Glen will face pushback from Division A veteran Tallyho, who have more experience, but are seriously lacking in their younger age groups. Additionally plaguing Tallyho is the probable departure of United States National Team member Phoebe Bacon, who will miss at least one meet due to US Nationals. As for the remaining Woodcliffe and Bethesda, while they are both strong teams, we cannot see them taking down any of the four aforementioned teams.