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Dover-New Philadelphia rivalry hits the pool

| January 26, 2022
The pool at the Tuscarawas County YMCA will be the site of Wednesday's swim meet between New Philadelphia and Dover. (NP Swimming)

DOVER (WJER) (January 26, 2022) – The New Philadelphia-Dover rivalry hits the Tuscarawas County YMCA pool Wednesday.

The Quakers and Tornadoes have competed against each other this season at multi-team events. However, neither coach can recall the teams ever facing off one-on-one.

New Philadelphia sixth-year coach Nathan Levengood says he’s not sure what to expect at the Y, which is the home pool for both teams.

“Tonight might be a little more difficult to focus,” he said. “Maybe a little bit more exciting, maybe a little bit more nerves.”

Matt Petricola is in his first year as the Dover swim coach so he doesn’t know exactly why the teams haven’t faced off before.

“It was something that I wanted to give a try as the new Dover coach and something that I thought would be a benefit for both our teams,” he said. “A new tradition to start I guess.”

Both Levengood and Petricola are coaching for their alma maters. Petricola only recalls one other time the teams were scheduled to meet one-on-one.

“I believe there was one scheduled in 2008 or 2009 – around the time that I was swimming,” he said. “That meet actually got canceled due to a snowstorm. So that was the only time one was attempted to be scheduled and then it was canceled.”

Levengood says back in his day the teams practiced at the same time, usually splitting the pool in half, so they had to be cordial.

“We had to understand, as high schoolers, that we can’t have things blow up as sometimes rivalries have the potential to do,” he said. “We had to stay really mutual with each other and had to work with each other.”

It took COVID rules to split up the practices, so the Tornadoes and Quakers now have their own practice times.

“The way that I came through the program, and Coach Matt did as well, we would be around each other literally all the time during the swim season,” Levengood said. “Now, the only time we really see each other is as Dover exits practice. They practice the hour session before us. They head to the locker room as we’re coming out. That’s really the only interaction we have with each other over the course of a day.”

Both coaches hope today’s meet becomes an annual event that draws fans from both sides. Petricola says the Tornadoes are the home team today.

“One of us as to pretend to be the away team … so it’ll be a little weird because it’s really the home pool for both of us,” Petricola said. “But it should be fun and it’s going to be exciting and hopefully loud with lots of energy.”

So far this season, Dover’s gotten the better of New Philadelphia. The Tornadoes won the OVAC meet for both boys and girls. The Quakers had a good showing, placing in the top seven out of 20 teams on both the boys’ and girls’ sides.

Wednesday’s meet is at 6 p.m. at the Tuscarawas County YMCA.

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