By Contributor Jim Riley
The Southbridge Seals swam up a division this week against the Victory Lakes Piranhas, but fell short in their upset bid by a score of 2808.5 to 2290.5.
Although the Seals had nearly 50 fewer swimmers and 169 fewer splashes, they managed to remain competitive throughout much of the meet. In the end, they could not overcome the sheer quantity that the Piranhas brought to the pool as evidenced by the Seals’ 8.00 points per splash to Victory Lakes’ 6.17 points per splash.
The Seals once again made a big impact with 26 swimmers recording 56 top 25 times and placing 12 relay teams in the Top 15 for the week. Fighting through one of the hottest days of the year, Seals swimmers recorded 286 splashes in which 90 percent were legal and recorded a valid time. This despite many swimmers trying events out for the first-time in an attempt to record a valid time so they can swim the events at divisional championships. Twenty-three of them recorded legal times in new events for the first-time in their careers.
With these new times recorded, Southbridge now has 83 percent of the team eligible to swim the maximum number of events — three — at divisionals. When adjusting that number to remove the 8 & Under age group, 97 percent of the team is eligible to swim the maximum.
Hot weather and warm pool water normally do not equate to fast swims. However, the Seals had 60 swimmers record 89 time improvements and six records — the most by any team in the league this week — were broken, four individual and two relays. The records set were by Hunter Howery (Boys 15-18) 50M Breast; Owen Howery (Boys 13-14) 50M Back; Justin Shahateet (Boys 11-12) 50M Free and 50M Back; the Boys 13-14 Medley relay team of Ryan Parkzes, Owen Howery, William Murphy, and Aaron Hall; and the Girls 15-18 Free relay team of Kayley Benway, Caila Sullivan, Ainsley Juhlin, and Macy Daly.
“The kids have been working so hard and its really awesome to see their hard work pay off. Our swimmers did an amazing job leaving their comfort zone,” said Seals Head Coach Greg Giovinazzo. “The kids did an outstanding job swimming against a higher division opponent that significantly outnumbered us. If you just focused on the score of the meet alone, you’d be missing out on some amazing accomplishments our kids had at the meet.”
The Seals are the official swim team of Southbridge on the Potomac located in Southbridge, Va., and includes swimmers from the Southbridge, Potomac Shores, and other surrounding communities in southeastern Prince William County. This year, the Seals have moved up into the PWSL’s Green Division after winning the Black Division championship in 2018. They will face off against Brookside and Westridge for the division championship July 27 at Westridge. Founded in 2009, they have won division championships in 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.