Tuckahoe swimmer Thomas

uckahoe’s Owen Thomas, third from left, starts and eventually wins the boys age 15-18 freestyle race in July 17 action. (Photo by Dave Facinoli)

To some, the Tuckahoe Tigers’ Division 1 championship in the Northern Virginia Swimming League this summer was a bit of a surprise.

But not to Tigers’ head coach Torey Ortmayer. A couple of weeks prior to the 2021 season, Ortmayer quietly predicted the accomplishment was possible, meaning the team likely would have to defeat both perennial Division 1 powers Overlee and four-time defending champion Chesterbrook this season – which it did in previous meets.

Then, July 17, the host Tigers wrapped up the division title with an undefeated 5-0 mark by defeating the Highlands Whomping Turtles (1-4), 240-180.

The Division 1 crown is Tuckahoe’s first since 1975, when the Tigers tied for first that summer with a 4-1 record. Overall, Tuckahoe has won four Division 1 championships. The other two came in 1970 and 1972. In team history, the Tigers have won nine division championships, the last (before this season) in 2009 in Division 2.

“I was confident we could be in the mix, and it’s a pretty incredible season for Tuckahoe,” Ortmayer said. “Tuckahoe has always had talent. This season it was more of developing and pushing the swimmers, and finding the extra depth, and another 40 points in meets.”

Thet last four seasons Tuckahoe finished third in Division 1 with 3-2 records behind Chesterbrook and Overlee.

Leading Tuckahoe in its win over Highlands (1-4) were double race winners Isabella Cota-Robles, Danielle Hughes, Catherine Hughes, Hunter Zipperer, Lucas Lopez and Owen Glasser. Single winners were Owen Thomas, Lily Flint, Nora Bartkowski, Nellie Bartkowski, Tenley Bretzfield, Esme Haggard, Maddie Nielsen, Vittoria Passos-Androvic, Nolan Dunkel, Kyle Koay, Nicolas Cantrell and Isaac Bell.

For Highlands in the meet, double winners were Gabe Hanson, Cecilia Russell, Wyatt Russell, Charlie Scogna and Will Taylor. Single winners were Charlotte Berik, Allison Martin, Hiroto Matsuki, Curan Palmer, Merrell Palmer and Wiktor Wyszogrodzki.

Hanson set a team record in the boys 9-10 butterfly with a winning time of 15.15, and Allison Martin broke her own team record in the girls 15-18 fly (29.07). Curan Palmer broke a team record in the 13-14 breaststroke (32.34).

NOTE: The 2021 indoor and outdoor swimming seasons have been a big success for Ortmayer. He also is the head swimming coach at Yorktown High School. This past winter, the Yorktown girls won the Class 6 state championship under his direction and were a district champion. He also is on the coaching team of U.S. Olympic women’s swimmer and 2021 Yorktown graduate Torri Huske.

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