By Contributor Ron Spink
The Piedmont Tsunamis delivered a statement victory Saturday, July 31 for top PWSL honors, closing out an undefeated summer swim season by a 790 point margin. The team capped their second Blue Division Championship in the past three seasons with an unblemished 6-0 record, while also translating their performance into first place overall in the Cyber Team contest for the twenty-two team league. Fast pool times and personal bests were the order of the day for all three competitive clubs. However, the Piedmont team would capitalize on sustained leads throughout the morning to deliver the league championship with a total of 4,345 points, followed by the runner-up Sudley Seahorses at 3,555 points – landing just seven points ahead of the third place Bridlewood Bridlewaves with a 3,548 tally.
The win signals shifting momentum in the top tier of the PWSL divisional groupings. The Piedmont squad has participated with consistency in the Blue Division since 2014, rising almost annually through the PWSL ranks since their formation in 2004. The Tsunamis remain only one of three teams to collect the highest award for Prince William Swim League, having now brought home the championship trophy twice. In addition to the 2021 league victory, the Piedmont squad also produced the highest ribbon count on the day, with a total of 150 awarded.
To earn the title, Piedmont swimmers would be forced to outperform all prior efforts on the year by wide margins. Throughout the region, pool speeds were extremely fast – with personal best times increasing to an average of more than 45% for the league. The Blue Division rivals scorched this mark in fierce competition, totaling a 60% faster grade versus prior times, and dramatically outpacing the league benchmark on the day.
That speed translated to another achievement for Piedmont, as two individual records and three team relay records surrendered to new results. First, 14-year-old Dylan Chaky took down his previous mark from just a week prior by a quarter second, and drove home a new team-best time of 29.74 in the Boys 13-14 Back. Moments later, Ryan Strotheide crushed a two year old Tsunami effort in the Boys 15-18 Back by over a half second, to set the bar at 27.39 in the event.
On the relay front, the Piedmont 15-19 girls delivered in a huge and emotionally rewarding way – winning the 200 Meter Medley Relay by almost three seconds and besting the previous club time impressively, by 1.27 seconds. Finishing on a dramatically strong note, the swim marked the last relay event for three senior swimmers on the relay squad – Katherine Diatchenko, Nicole Linder and Jessica Lee. Anchored by Camille Spink (16), the girls landed a new personal best of 2:06.63.
The Girls 11-12 100 Medley Relay also fell once more to the powerhouse squad of Alyssa Sagle, Adelina Chehadeh, Tori Simmons and Sedonah Traister who dropped their own record time from earlier in the season by .67 seconds, coming in at a new top speed of 1:03.82.
Finally, the Tsunami 13-14 boys of Jacob Cho, Alex Diatchenko, Patrick Hooper Jr., and Dylan Chaky edged out a 2018 club record in the 200 Free relay with a blistering 1:46.95 – a mere half second off the prior league record mark.
In combined team swims, Piedmont rallied to a lion’s share of 12 of 19 total relay wins. As the head-to-head contests unfolded, individual swims remained dominant for the Piedmont club, as the team brought home 40% of all first place ribbons in the contest. Blue ribbon winners for the team included (PWSL top times noted by number in parenthesis): Sophia Malinowski (1), Jacob Cho (2), Maddie Richardson (1), Theo Drescher, Camille Spink (1), Jonathan DeVito, Sedonah Traister (1), Katherine Diatchenko, Kayden Kien, Alyssa Sagle (1), Ryan Strotheide, Brandon Thai (1), and James Hooper (1).
The meet concluded with the ceremonial poolside tossing and dunking of Head Coach Jay Thorpe and Assistant Coach Evan Brandt by an excited Tsunami home team, who celebrated on deck into mid-afternoon at the Piedmont Pool while waiting on official confirmation of the final score and tally.
The Piedmont Tsunamis, thrilled to be back in the pool after the disappointment of a COVID-related missed season, leave the 2021 summer campaign with renewed momentum, enthusiasm and excitement having successfully navigated their way once more to the coveted position of Blue Division Champions. We will next see the Tsunami wave rise in June 2022, as they look to defend their title once again. The Tsunami family sincerely thanks our fellow Blue Division members Bridlewood and Sudley, along with our incredibly supportive families, coaches, officials, sponsors, board members, and meet volunteers for another outstanding, and unparalleled, summer of swim.