Arlington's Overlee team has been building something of a dynasty in the Northern Virginia Swim League. Not only has the team won the league championship every year since 1979, but in that time it has never lost an NVSL dual meet.
In its seven years of dominance, Overlee has also won every relay carnival meet.
But Overlee nearly lost its top spot recently when Vienna Woods came within 17 points of beating it.
The final score, 209 to 193, is not indicative of how close the meet was. Of the 50 events, Vienna Woods won more than half of them (27 of the first 30).
Four Vienna Woods swimmers were double winners. Carol Williams took the 25-meter backstroke and freestyle in the 8-and-under division; 10-year-old Vicki Sargeant won the 50-meter freestyle and 25-meter butterfly, and John King, 12, who swam in the 13-14 age group, broke his team record by winning the 50-meter backstroke. King finished in 33.25, eclipsing his mark of 34.11. Kerri Simpson won the 50-meter backstroke and freestyle among the 15-18 girls.
Two other Vienna Woods swimmers broke team records. Steve Cole improved on his 50-meter backstroke record for the 15-18 age group, finishing .11 seconds faster in 30.70
Eight-year-old Tema Ebert broke the Vienna Woods age group record of 23.20 in the 25-meter breaststroke with a time of 23.13.
Despite Vienna Woods' control of the first half of the meet, Overlee dominated the rest of the events to continue unbeaten.
Three Overlee swimmers had two wins. Bernard Doyle led the 8-and-under group in winning the 25-meter freestyle and breaststroke. Charles Thompson won the 50-meter freestyle and butterfly among the 15-18 boys, and Erica Bledsoe led the 13-14 girls, winning the 50-meter breaststroke and butterfly.
Overlee's Charles Thompson and Erica Bledsoe set team records. Thompson finished the 50-meter freestyle in 25.25, beating the record of 25.52. Thompson also bettered the butterfly record by .02 seconds, finishing in 27.57.
Bledsoe set her record in the 50-meter butterfly with a time of 31.60, beating the mark of 32.10. She came close to breaking the NVSL 50-meter breaststroke record of 35.8, swimming 35.89.
The deciding points came midway through the relays with the 15-18 girls. Overlee had to use 12-year-old Megan Naill as a substitute in the breaststroke leg as the team reached the wall first by nine-tenths of a second to ensure the victory.
"It was the first time in years that I saw both teams up for a meet like that," said Sue Sargeant, the Vienna Woods team representative. "It was really the first time there was a chance that Overlee could be beaten."
Another year and another title lost, the Vienna Woods team felt they had done well enough.
"We think this is a great accomplishment in itself," said Sargeant. "Winning was a pipe dream, but we'll get them next year."