NOVA Coaches

By Coach Emeritus, Geoff Brown


LAST WEEK WAS A RARE RESPITE WEEK IN OUR 2021 CHAMPIONSHIP MEET SEASON . . . but we resume this week as the AM host of part of the Virginia Swimming Senior Champs. NOVA will participate in a unique Senior Champs. Two prelim sessions will be run: one here and one at CSAC. The results will be combined and finals run at CSAC. That means some schedule changes, so please read e-mails from the coaching staff and check out the practice postings on the website. And break out your NOVA pom-poms for the next two weeks of championships. Yahoo!

OUR COACHING STAFF CONTINUES TO PLAY A MAJOR ROLE . . . in shaping these championship meets and making them swimmer friendly. The work is thankless and it is most definitely behind the scenes, but it is also most definitely time consuming. Coach Megan, Coach Drew, Office Manager Lori Hopewell and Coach Norm have been at the heart of these discussions and have made many important contributions including suggestions that Senior Champs could be un in two venues or looking at the numbers and getting girls and boys folded into a single session. All in a day’s or week’s work, they might say, but thank them all the same!!!   

AGAIN, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT FINALS AT SENIOR CHAMPS . . .  will be run according to different standards. The folks at CSAC observe different health check protocols from ours. Please be respectful of and patient with health screening procedures at meets not run by us. We expect respect for our protocols and we would be remiss if we would not return the courtesy. As the old saying went (and still goes), “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”

THIS WEEK’S NOVA POWER OFFERING BROUGHT BACK SOME MEMORIES . . . when I saw that first pledge brochure, but more especially when I saw pictures of Don Farmer and Norman Downey, two men instrumental in the building of the first NOVA pool. Their selfless contributions and their working partnership were two of the big drivers in getting NOVA on the path to where we are today. Their children, of course, were swimmers, but they are also proud grandfathers to current NOVA swimmers. Brantley Patterson is Don and Karen Farmer’s granddaughter; Tyler Melson is Beth and Norman Downey’s grandson. Wow ! That old line about paying it forward can ring true. Join the Capital Campaign and be a part of NOVA future!

Check out the latest News HERE!

This is our donor wall design at the Regency Pool.

GET FIRED UP . . . for our run at USA Swimming’s Virtual Club Championship. We are currently #3 on the Virtual Club Championship in USA Swimming for Short course yards and #2 in long course meters. Wondering about how to score? Visit USA Swimming and see what it takes!!


3/4-3/7       Virginia State Senior Champs
3/11-3/14     Virginia Age Group Champs
3/27 weekend  Possible Short course season ending meet here at NOVA

The first two meets listed here conclude the “championship season”.  Following these meets are the meet we may host here at NOVA and the various high level All Star or “fast qualifying times” championship meets listed below. These meets are generally travel meets to the land of Far Far Away but these may also be affected by current appetites for travel and larger meets. As you might expect, we have evolved a series of travel COVID protocols so that we can safely to and from these championship meets. We will maintain our current standards even as we travel. They have served us well and we will not abandon them as we travel to and from these short course season ending meets. 

3/16-3/20    NCSA Juniors, Orlando, FL
3/24-3/27    NCSA Age Group, Orlando, FL
3/27-3/28    Possible Short course yards season-ender
4/16-4/18    Open Water Nationals

Remarkable advances are often made by swimmers who immerse themselves in the championship season. The acts of qualifying for a meet, then participating in it often change the trajectories of swimming careers. You must be present to win these sometimes astonishing advances!

We will take those astonishing advances to the Long Course meter season which will begin in late April. More details about the long course season will soon emerge. We are hard at work firming up the meet schedule and thinking ahead to the summer practice schedule so please stay tuned!

REGARDING THE LONG COURSE SCHEDULE . . . , please be advised that it is a work in progress. Our coaching staff is hard at work fitting the many meet puzzle pieces together. Some of those pieces may change as meets are modified or even expanded. So stay tuned and know that the NOVA staff is always monitoring this sometimes fluid situation. Tentative Schedule HERE!

NOVA’S HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR SWIMMERS . . . continue to announce college choices. We have a handful of additions. Roll the drums and sound the trumpets: Skylar Dacey will be attending Bryant University; Erik Kratzer will stay in-state at Roanoke College; Dominic Mistretta will go a little bit farther down I-81 and enroll at Virginia Tech; Jay Tucker will end up farther south at Mississippi State University; Paige Strycker will take a more northerly route alongn I-95 because Mary Washington University is her Fall 2021 destination. Congratulations to all! This list represents all that NN knows so don’t keep your choice a secret and expect it will appear here!! If it isn’t here, it’s because I wasn’t certain enough to take it to press. So let us know!

Anderson Broughton  William & Mary
Morgan Burton       West Virginia
Aubrey Bowles       Villanova
Skylar Dacey        Bryant University
Aidan Duffy         UNC-Wilmington
Josephine Fuller    Tennessee
Kaila Hewitt        ECU
Erik Kratzer        Roanoke College
Nikolas Lee-Bishop  Virginia Tech
Jack McCann         NYU
Calli McEvoy        George Mason
Dominic Mistretta   Virginia Tech
Maddie Pierce       South Carolina
Claire Rankin       Widener University
Liam Ryan           Georgetown
Jason Seitz         Oklahoma Christian University
Caroline Sheble     North Carolina State
Grace Sheble        North Carolina State
Paige Strycker      University of Mary Washington
Jay Tucker          Mississippi State University
Charlotte Wishnack  Williams 
Annabelle Young     Cincinnati


NOVA COACHES ENDEAVOR TO ANSWER EVERY PARENT E-MAIL . . . in a timely manner: within 24 hours if possible. The same holds true for text messaging. Once we move on deck for practice, we are generally inaccessible. When we come off deck, we sometimes see e-mails that have been directed to us while we are on deck. So check your coach’s schedule before expecting a swift response. And please be mindful that expectations about e-mailing and texting responses differ. The 24 hour guideline holds true for the work week, not the weekends, especially meet weekends. But kindly remember that the unexpected can enter a coaching life and please be patient. Hope that explanation helps.

DO YOU OWN A BUSINESS OR MAKE DECISIONS FOR YOUR COMPANY? Consider advertising your product or service or being a club sponsor. For more information, contact [email protected]. Visit the NOVA website under Parent/Fund raising to learn more about our programs. 

BEFORE DONATING ELSEWHERE . . . check with the staff to see if NOVA has a need. For example, re-doing your kitchen? Have a decent refrigerator? So of our Flatscreen TVs are now on the fritz. If you are upgrading, we would be intersted. Consider taking the tax write-off and helping NOVA.  Thanks !

PRE-COVID, WE HAD THE NOVA FLAT HAT BULLETIN BOARD . . . that traced, through pictures, the travels of NOVA families and their NOVA caps. I thought it would be fun to see NOVA’s international bloodlines. Here is the rule: only parents and children count. So parents or children have to be first generation here in the United States. Up to 46!  Last addition, Romania. Don’t hold out on us regarding your point of origin if you’re not on this list! We might start asking questions around the decks if we suspect we have a country we could be adding to this list, so beware !! Come on, folks, don’t be bashful - let’s hit fifty!!! Forty six and counting!! Notable omission? France ! Here’s a thought: excepting the ocean deeps, could we draw an unbroken line from NOVA all the way around the world? I think we can (Yes, we have to go from England to Denmark), but let’s see if we can fill in more of the globe. 

Bosnia & Herzegovina
Czech Republic


South Africa
Sri Lanka
The Philippines
United Arab Emirates

E-mail Coach Geoff with any additions. I suspect we will have an amazing NOVA tapestry when we are done - if we ever get done!