Hundreds of swimmers, 94 teams, 50 events, and two broken records.
On Aug. 1, Clifton’s Little Rocky Run pool hosted Northern Virginia Swimming League’s 59th annual Individual All-Star meet. Commencing at 9 a.m., the 5.5-hour-long meet highlighted the best young swimmers in the area.
The participants in Saturday’s meet qualified by swimming in one of the league’s 17 divisional meets. At these meets, each of the 102 NVSL teams can enter two swimmers in each event. The swimmers with the top 18 times in the league earn a spot in the All-Star meet.
“If [one of the swimmers] has a bad divisional meet for some reason, unfortunately they may not make All Stars even when they’ve been one of the top swimmers in the event for the entire season,” Records Coordinator Linda Klopfenstein said. “Divisionals is like the preliminary meet and All Stars is the finals.”
In her first race of the day, 9-year-old Courtney Watts of Highlands Swim Club set the NVSL record for the 9/10 girls’ 50meter backstroke. Her time of 34.16 beat Janet Hu’s 2006 time of 34.32.
“It’s cool [to have set the NVSL record] because I’ve been trying to get [that time] all season,” Watts said. “I just felt good. I’ve been trying to go to as many practices as I can and work hard at those practices and it helped a lot.”
Watts also holds the record for the 8-and-under girls’ 25-meter backstroke, with a time of 17.70, which she set during the 2014 All-Star meet.
In the 13/14-year-old boys’ 50-meter backstroke, California resident Max Cruz also set his second NVSL record with a time of 27.28, just breaking Jaya Kambhampaty’s 2014 time of 27.31. He also holds the record for the 11/12 boys’ 50-meter butterfly, which he set during the All-Star meet last year.
“I’ve focused a lot on my main two strokes, the back and fly, and I’ve trained a lot harder and worked for long amounts of time to prepare for this meet,” Cruz said. “My hard work paid off today, and I’m grateful that I could [set a record],”
Cruz, swimming for the Holmes Run Acres Recreation Association, also took first place in the 50-meter butterfly.
Other standout performances of the day were those of Lincolnia Park’s Lukas Wuhrer, who took first place in both the 8-and-under 25-meter butterfly and the 25-meter freestyle, Fair Oaks’ Anthony Grimm, who won both the boys’ 11/12 50-meter backstroke and the 100-meter medley, and Highlands Swim’s Maggie O’Shaughnessy, who won the 8-and-under girls’ 25-meter butterfly and the 25-meter backstroke.
Wakefield Chapel’s Nicholas Parker, Fairfax’s Leah Rogers, McLean’s Victoria Valko, and Mosby Woods’ Leaya Ma also took first place in multiple events.
“[NVSL] is part of the reason this area produces such successful swimmers,” Springboard Pool’s Sarah Weinstein said. “It’s fun but it’s also super competitive and I love being a part of a league that teaches kids to love swimming fast.”