For the last 22 seasons, the Jefferson Swim League Championship has resided at the home of the Fairview Sea Horses.
Fairview will attempt to stretch that number to 23 when the JSL Championships begin Friday at the University of Virginia Aquatics Center.
"The kids in our program are really excited about competing," head coach JJ Bean said Thursday at practice. "They know this is a big time of year, they know there's a tradition here. We have swimmers here whose parents were on the team when we were starting to win these championships so it is a tradition to do well."
Andrew Williamson knows all about the tradition. He's been swimming for Fairview for as far back as he can remember.
"There's a lot of pressure of course given with that," Williamson explained. "But we're pretty comfortable with it. Our coaches are pretty clear that we're going to go as fast as we can. That's about all we can do. And hope that our numbers are better."
The Sea Horses' numbers were better than Crozet just one week ago -- but not by much.
Fairview edged out the Gators by just 10 points in a battle of unbeatens last week. The teams were also 1-2 at the Championship meet last season.
For Crozet, knocking off Fairview and finally capturing its first title would be a huge step for the program.
"We've been in tier one for a while now and the team just keeps getting stronger and stronger so I think it would mean a lot to this team and this community," head coach Greg Remaly said.
Two of his senior swimmers agree.
"It'd be a huge accomplishment," Ryan Mitchell stated. "It'd just be a change for the summer for everyone and I think all the kids would be excited and it would mean a lot to them."
"It would really mean a lot," Anna Corley added. "We've been trying for years now and I think it would just give us a big confidence boost. It would be like a dream come true."
Like Fairview, Crozet was in the pool Thursday practicing ahead of the Championship and the Gators say all systems are go for the two-day event.
"We're looking really strong, all of our little kids, our younger kids are giving their all, trying their best. We definitely want to go out, give it all we've got and see how it plays out in the end," Mitchell said.
"Yeah we're looking strong," Corley added. "I think all the kids are super excited, super pumped to try and do their best. We're just going to go into the championships ready to race."
Remaly has been with Crozet long enough to know for the Gators to win their first title, the path goes through Fairview.
"Obviously Fairview is the favorite since they've won it for a long time but I think it will be a good battle, for sure. This week we've got our full team and everyone's looking good so we're excited."
They're also excited at Fairview, where Bean has been the architect of the program's dominance.
"Our coaches are awesome. That's about all I can say," Williamson said. "We just have a great community and great coaches and a great support system and all the kids love to swim fast so I think that's important."
"We want to be the best coach, the best motivator and best teacher we can because they're learning a lifelong skill," Bean explained. "This is like the classroom or anywhere else, we want to be the best teachers. So our kids, they've grown up here, our coaches have grown up here."
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