On Saturday, January 21, 2023, we held our 13th Annual Northern Virginia Catholic High School Swimming and Diving Championship, and boy was it fast!  We hosted 340 athletes from every Catholic school in the northern half of Virginia to compete is this highly spirited meet.

Congratulations to St. Paul VI for bringing home the “Holy Grail” traveling trophy for the girls and to Bishop O’Connell who brought home the “Holy Grail” for the boys.  It was very special for me to watch these teams celebrate a mid-season championship meet by throwing O’Connell Coach Beth O’Connor-Baker and PVI Coach Colleen Marshall into the pool after the meet.

Wasn’t it great to have Fr. Sean Koehr back?  I was particularly moved seeing my son back as a Catholic Priest to lead such a large group of competitors in prayer prior to the competition.  Memories of our first 2006 Seton boys State Championship team came flooding back.  Fr. Sean anchored our All-State and All-America boys 200 Medley Relay in 23.18, swimming alongside his brother Kevin Koehr and his good friend Nevin Cook.  Their 1:39.82 is still our team record and remains competitive in the VISAA even 17 years later.  Fr. Sean gets mad at me when I talk about his athletic accomplishments, but I just tell him to take it as a personal mortification to allow me my “proud-papa” moments 😉

In part of because of the long-time friendships we have established with so many of these teams and coaches, and in part because of the faith that all the competitors shared, there was a real spirit about this meet that felt palpable.  Add all the pomp, circumstance, and high tech that Mr. John Kleb, Mr. Paul Fifield, and Mr. Bill Dealey add to Seton meets these days, and it felt even better.

The other reason there was such a spirit to this meet was the level of participation by the parents of all these schools.  I mentioned it on the livestream several times, but I was indescribably pleased with the level of volunteerism I saw from the other teams.  The feeling of joy I experienced seeing so many officials and timers with the names of other schools on their shirts was heightened by recent experiences hosting other schools whose entitled parents preferred to sit in the stands and just watch Seton handle everything.

Let me give a special shout-out here to our long-time Meet Referee Charles Seltman.  With some technical difficulties creating challenges for ensuring a fair competition and with the timeline extending well past our planned end-time, Mr. Seltman handled everything with poise and professionalism.  I have nothing but overwhelming gratitude to the “Godfather of Seton Swimming” for his service to our team since 1995.

Another shout-out I’d like to give a big shout-out to JJ Brox, William Sokban, Mr. Sokban, and Robert Harvill from Paul VI.  Because of some technical difficulties, the meet went well past the planned end time so many of the Freedom Center staff had to go home.  That left the Mitchell, the head lifeguard, short of help to reconfigure the pool for a meet the next day.  These four (4) men chose to stay and help.  I was very proud to be associated with people like this who are willing to serve others in need.

And one final shout-out must go to Joey Dealey (SR), Mary Pennefather (SR), Haley Fifield (SO), and our middle-school girls. I was so pleased to see all of you on deck and leading the cheers for your teammates.  I know they appreciated it so that put a big smile on my face.

Our annual swim meet schedule has developed quite a nice cadence with every meet during the season having its own purpose and meaning.  It seems like every week I find myself writing that “this is my favorite meet of the year”, so I’ll try to back off a bit on the hyperbole, but I definitely had a great time hosting all these schools and coaching all of you this past weekend.

Wow, That Was a Fast Meet!

The level of competition was the highest we’ve seen all season so far (except for National Catholics), and it showed with eight (8) new Meet Records.  There are only 24 events so that is one-third of the meet records broken in this year’s meet!

The two (2) swimmers voted by the coaches as most representative of the quality of the competition at this year’s championship were our Swimmers of the Meet:

  • Matthew Johnson, St. Paul VI
    • Four (4) Gold medals in 200 IM, 100 Breaststroke, the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free Relay.
    • Set new meet records in 100 Breaststroke and as part of both of his relays. He missed the Meet Record in 200 IM by only .01 seconds.
    • Matthew also won Swimmer of the Meet honors at last year’s meet.
  • Zoe Celi, St. Paul VI
    • Four (4) Gold medals in 100 Fly, 100 Back, the 200 Medley Relay, and the 400 Free Relay
    • Set new meet records in 100 Backstroke and as part of both of her relays.

On the girl’s side, two (2) other girls could have easily won Swimmer of the Meet honors with amazing performances similar to Zoe’s

  • Ashley Kirby, St. Paul VI
    • Four (4) Gold medals in 50 Free, 100 Breaststroke, the 200 Medley Relay, and the 400 Free Relay
    • Set new meet records in 100 Breaststroke and as part of both of her relays.
  • Elizabeth Bryan, Oakcrest
    • Gold medals in 200 IM and 100 Freestyle with a new Meet Record in the 200 IM

Another indication of the level of competition was the eight (8) new Meet Records set on Saturday.  Seven (7) of those records were set by swimmers from St. Paul VI:

  • Boys 200 Medley Relay, 1:38.72, St. Paul VI, Adam Manley, Matthew Johnson, Miggy Vinegas, Owen O’Toole
  • Girls 200 Medley Relay, 1:48.28, St. Paul VI, Zoe Celi, Ashley Kirby, Caroline Murphy, and Abigail Foley
  • Girls 200 IM, Elizabeth Bryan, Oakcrest, 2:08.81
  • Girls 100 Backstroke, Zoe Celi, St. Paul VI, 57.56
  • Boys 100 Breaststroke, Matthew Johnson, St. Paul VI, 57.77
  • Girls 100 Breaststroke, Ashley Kirby, St. Paul VI, 1:04.98
  • Boys 400 Free Relay, 3:19.50, St. Paul VI, Matthew Murphy, Chase Garcia, Adam Manley, Matthew Johnson
  • Girls 400 Free, 3:39.76, St. Paul VI, Abigail Foley, Caroline Murphy, Zoe Celi, Ashley Kirby

A final indication of just how fast this meet was can be seen in the final scores.  Seton performed very well, and we still took 3rd place for the Boys and 4th place for the Girls:

Boys

Bishop O’Connell                                   401

St. Paul VI                                                387

Seton Swimming                                   247

Bishop Ireton                                          158

Benedictine College Prep                     104

Saint John Paul the Great                      54

Girls

St. Paul VI                                              421

Bishop O’Connell                                369

Bishop Ireton                                       199

Seton Swimming                                186

Oakcrest                                               104

Saint John Paul the Great                 103

St. Gertrude                                          13

Just as a fan of high school swimming, myself, I really enjoyed watching this meet., particularly that group of four (4) girls from Paul VI.  On the livestream, we began referring to them as the “Dream Team”.  I can’t wait to see them perform at the State Championship meet against the powerhouse girls from Collegiate School and St. Catherine’s.

“Remarkable”, I Just Can’t Think of a Better Word

For the second weekend in a row, Ariana Aldeguer (8) stunned us coaches with the level of maturity she continues to show in her swimming.  On Saturday, against some of the best competition in the VISAA, Ariana took Gold medals in both 200 Free and 500 Free.  That makes Ariana a 2X Northern Virginia Catholic High School Champion!

In order to mix things up for this talented young swimmer, I decided to give her a shot at 200 Free rather than the 200 IM.  After last weekend’s 500 Free, I just had a feeling that something great might happen – and something great did happen.

In the final heat of the 200 Free, Ariana stayed patient during the first 50 yards, flipping in 4th place with a split of 28.71.  Then she started gaining ground on the leaders.  Her second split of 29.75 followed by a split of 29.68 were easily the fastest middle 100 swum by the top competitors and gave her a nice lead going into the final 50.  For the final 50 yards, Ariana split 29.93 to hold off an outstanding swimmer from PVI and take the Gold medal.

Ariana’s final time of 1:58.07 was 5.60 seconds faster than her personal record!  Let’s put that time in a little perspective.  A 1:58.07 in the girls 200 Free:

  • Is the 3rd fastest time swum in the VISAA so far this season
  • Would have placed 8th at the State Championship meet last year behind two seniors and one girl she just beat in this race.
  • Is only 2.33 seconds behind our team record of 1:55.74, a record set in February 2000 by State MVP Katie Shipko.

In the 500 Free, Ariana also had a remarkable swim for the 2nd weekend in a row.  Against the same two girls, she once again started patiently, flipping on the first 50 in 29.88, behind both of them.  Then she settled into a remarkably consistent pace of 31-high per 50, only one time splitting above :32 – and even that split was a very fast 32.03.

With the other girls splitting mid-32s, she gradually pulled away on the strength of her turns and streamlines to take the Gold medal by more than 3-seconds.

Her final time of 5:14.65 was another 2.02 seconds fastest than her amazing time last weekend at National Catholics!  Let’s put that one in a little perspective also.  A 5:14.65 in girls 500 Free:

  • Is the 6th fastest time swim the VISAA so far this season
  • Would have placed 7th at the State Championship meet last year behind one (1) senior
  • Is only 7.67 seconds behind our team record of 5:06.98, a record set in February 1999, also by Katie Shipko

It is going to quite a strategic decision figure out in what events Ariana can score the most points at States.  She also has top times in the VISAA this season in:

  • 100 Fly – 8th
  • 100 Back – 11th
  • 100 Free – 15th

Boys Diving Can Compete With Anyone

This past weekend, our Boys Diving team, under the tutelage of Coach Ashley Keapproth, showed that they can compete the with top Division I Schools in the State.  With so few Division II schools even entering competitors in Diving, this could prove to be a huge advantage for us as we move into State-level competition.

On Saturday, our Boys won the event in a meet that featured all four (4) big Diocesan School, and Connor Koehr (SO) was crowned the Northern Virginia Catholic High School Champion for 2023.

Our other boys were right behind Connor with:

  • Mick Fioramonti (JR) posting the 3rd highest score
  • Max Gonzalez (SO) posting the 5th highest score
  • JJ Brox (SR) with the 6th highest score
  • Gus Kohlhaas (SO) with the 8th highest score.

Coach Keapproth has set a goal for these boys to score in at least four (4) of the top 16 places and two (2) of the top 8 places at States.  That is a bold goal, but if these boys accomplish it – and all three (3) of our swim relays can score in at least the Consolation Finals – we actually have an outside chance to win the Boys State Championship!

Top Scorers

This meet was scored as a championship meet with twelve (12) places scored, and per the scoring rules, relays scored double.  Even with a meet this fast, Ariana Aldeguer (8), Connor Koehr (SO) and Mick Fioramonti (JR) not our only athletes who shined through at or near the top.  Here are Seton’s Top-3 finishers – look at what grade they some of them are in – very cool:

  • Lionel Martinez (8) had an outstanding day of swimming, scoring very highly, especially considering he is only in 8th His 2:06.27 won the silver medal in 200 IM behind only the Swimmer of the Meet Matthew Johnson.  His 100 Fly was particularly good after a 2.91 second PR 56.85 that scored in 5th place.
  • Clara Condon (SO) took the Bronze medal in 100 Fly behind only two (2) members of PVI’s Dream Team. Clara’s best 100 Fly time is the 17th fastest in the VISAA this season so she definitely has a chance to score at States in this event.  I gave Clara a break from her favorite 100 Breaststroke, but I expect her to be even more competitive at the State level in that event where she’s posted the 8th fastest time in the VISAA this season so far.
  • Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Ariana Aldeguer (8), Clara Condon (SO), Stella Paradise (JR), and Maggie Gibbons (JR) took the Bronze medal, beating the “A” Relays from every other school except St. Paul VI. Paul VI took both Gold and Silver with their “A” and “B” Relays).  These girls have swum the 7th fastest relay time in the VISAA so far this season – and the fastest time among Division II schools by more than 6-seconds.
  • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Maggie Gibbons (JR), Stella Paradise (JR), Ariana Aldeguer (8), and Mary Pennefather (SR) took the Silver medal in a season-best 1:44.13 – that time was 3.92 seconds faster than we’ve swum all season. They beat all the “A” relays from the Division I Diocesan schools except for Bishop O’Connell’s. That time is the 8th fastest time swum in the VISAA so far this season, and the fastest time posted by a Division II girls team.  It is also 2.65 seconds faster than the best time posted by Cape Henry Collegiate so far this year.  (I expect Cape Henry to be our primary competitor for the Division II State Championship this year).
  • Our Boys 400 Free Relay of Joe Wilson (SR), Lionel Martinez (8), Joseph Borneman (SO), and Michael Brox (SO) took the Bronze medal, largely on the strength of Lionel’s 51.90 split and Joe’s lead-off 54.93. Our Boys 400 Free Relay has the 12th fastest time in the VISAA so far this season and are behind only Trinity Christian School among relays from Division II.

A Few Special Performances

As we move into the championship season for the VISAA Division II Invitational Championship and the VCAC Conference Championship Meet, I’m seeing a few other top swimmers who have “broken through” physical or mental barriers to position themselves as key players in our championship run.

We had a couple of swimmers this week who have finally figured out how to compete in a 200 yard race.  Our swimmers always talk about the 500 Free, but if you ask seasoned swimmers about what they think is the most difficult distance to race, they will almost always say 200 yards.  That distance is too far to swim anaerobically but too short to swim just aerobically – it’s a sprint that is too far to sprint.  So to compete at that distance, you have to be willing to take some pain.

  • Drew Nguyen (SO) finally did what Coach Mulhern, Coach Palazzo, and I have known he could do for a couple of months now. Drew is a natural 200 Freestyler.  His long, loping, and powerful stroke are a beauty to behold, but unfortunately, the 200 Free takes much more than that.  Drew took the risk on Saturday by going out for the first 50 years in 27.60 and then trying to hold on.  The result was incredible – a 9.38 second PR to finish in only 2:07.29.  We still have a ways to go for Drew to get competitive at the State level in this event, but this past weekend was a huge breakthrough for him.
  • Michael Brox (SO) also experienced the same breakthrough as Drew. Michael’s long, lanky body is perfect for the 200 Free, so like Drew, the coaches all thought that Michael could be great at this event.  On Saturday, Michael took out the first 50 in only 27.70 and then finished with splits of 32.66, 34.58, and 34.76 – in other words, Michael really pushed it, and the results were amazing.  He finished in only 2:09.70, a time drop of 3.75 seconds.  Michael also dropped 2.01 seconds in the 500 Free, another event where I know he can become competitive.

And there was one (1) other swimmer I’d like to highlight for how he has broken through over the past two weeks:

  • JJ Brox (SR) seems like a new man recently – just in time for the championship season. Not only does he continue to improve in Diving, his recent swimming has been the best I’ve seen.  Two (2) weeks ago, JJ’s best 50 and 100 Breaststroke times were 30.29 and 1:10.39.  Since then, he has gone 29.52 and 1:06.53, respectively.  On Saturday, he went 1:07.57 to score in 6th place.
  • JJ has shown a similar trajectory in 100 Free.  Three (3) weeks ago, his best 100 Free split was 58.15.  On January 7th, he swam a flat-start 100 Free in 55.99, and on Saturday, he dropped another 1.15 seconds to 54.84 which scored in 7th place.
  • Those huge drops have JJ sitting firmly on the “A” Relay for both the 200 Medley and the 400 Free Relay – but there is two (2) big meets remaining, and there are a number of his teammates that want that spot.  Keep pushing JJ!

Here are the other Seton athletes that performed well enough to score in the Top-12:

  • Anastasia Garvey (FR) scored twice on Saturday. Her most impressive swim in was in 100 Backstroke where she dropped 3.31 seconds to score in 5th  She also dropped 7.43 seconds in 200 Free to score in 11th.
  • Stella Paradise (JR) took 5th place in 100 Free and 7th place in 50 Free – both heats were very fast, particularly the 100 Free which featured two of the very top swimmers in the entire meet.
  • Maggie Gibbons (JR) swam well in 100 Back and 100 Free, taking 7th and 8th place, respectively.
  • Connor Koehr (SO) scored in more than just diving. He also swam the 100 Backstroke, finishing in 7th
  • Max Wilson (SO) swam very close to his PR in 100 Back to score in 8th.
  • Mick Fioramonti (JR) completed Seton’s 7th, 8th, and 9th place finishes in 100 Back by scoring in 9th
  • Rose Waldron (SO) dove very well and scored in 8th
  • Joe Wilson (SR) scored in 8th for 100 Free and 10th for 50 Free,  His 50 Free time was a near-season-best 24.65.
  • Joseph Borneman (SO) has been swimming particularly well in recent weeks. In the 500 Free on Saturday, he went 6:28.82 to score in 9th
  • William Sokban (SO) followed Joseph with a good swim in the 500, scoring in 10th.
  • Jed Albin (JR) completed the Seton sweep of four (4) swimmers scoring in the Boys 500 Free by scoring in 11th Jed also cut .77 seconds in 200 Free.
  • Mary Pennefather (SR) swam close to her season-best time in 100 Free and finished in 11th
  • Liam Halisky (SO) lowered his 50 Free PR by another .07 seconds to swim a 24.86 and score in 11th Liam also cut another .25 seconds from his 100 Free PR.
  • David Hudson (JR) scored in 11th place in both the 200 Free and 100 Fly. In 100 Fly, he dropped .30 seconds to establish a new PR of 1:04.60.
  • Drew Nguyen (SO) scored in 11th place in 100 Breaststroke with a near-PR 1:10.85.
  • Amelie Halisky (SR) wanted a chance to swim the 500 Free, and she took full advantage of the opportunity. Her 16.57 second PR broke 7:00 minutes for the first time and scored in 12th place for Seton.  Amelie also swam a 1.33 second PR in 100 Back to score in 11th
  • Rose Waldron (SO) is trying hard to get that State cut in 100 Breaststroke. On Saturday, she came another .13 seconds closer with a 1:19.05, a time that scored in 12th

Personal Records

106 Personal Records for 107 competitors is a very strong total.  That brings our Seton season total to 906 PRs – our goal is to hit 1,000.  It is starting to look like we will crush that goal.  That high total is yet another data point that proves our basic coaching thesis at Seton Swimming, “The fastest way to make a high school swimmer faster is to get them doing the strokes right.

This was particularly true for our Group 3, 4 and 5 swimmers who focused on butterfly at this meet.

Here are the Personal Records that were swum at Saturday that I have not previously mentioned (I think I’ll start with the Z’s this time):

  • Michael Zahorchak (8) cut 3.29 seconds from his 100 Back PR.
  • Madelyn Zadnik (JR) showed great improvement in 100 Fly, beating her previous best by 4.16 seconds.
  • Jonas Wilson (7) dropped almost a whole second (.98 seconds) in 50 Free, and he swam 100 Fly for the first time in only 1:34.18..
  • Rose Waldron (SO) lowered her 500 Free PR by 12.43 seconds.
  • Lily Waldron (7) beat her previous best in 100 Back by .57 seconds and swam 100 Fly for the first time in only 1:30.80!
  • Cate Waldron (JR) cut 1.09 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Noah Vaughan (8) had two (2) huge PRs. In 100 Free he dropped 7.25 seconds, and in 50 Free he dropped 3.23 seconds.
  • Nick Vaughan (SO) also had two (2) huge PRs including a 14.64 second drop in 100 Free and a 1.51 second drop in 50 Free.
  • Daniel Sokban (8) raised some eyebrows with me and some of the other coaches with his lead-off in the 200 Free Relay. He popped a 26.50, a .18 second PR and a very fast time for an 8-grader.  That got me looking more closely at his other swims.  How about a 12.69 second PR in 100 Fly and a 2.80 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Briana Shillingburg (SO) dropped 1.07 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Maggie Schroer (8) didn’t get any official PRs because she swam two (2) events for the first time, but I am quite sure that, had she had a previous time, her 7:29.68 in 500 Free and her 1:23.75 in 100 Fly would have been huge Personal Records.
  • Noemi Rodriguez (8) did very well in her first attempt at 100 Fly.
  • Gabriella Russo (8) had a massive 35.33 second PR in 200 Free, and she swam an amazing 1:31.46 in her first attempt at 100 Fly.
  • Camila Quispe (6) lowered her 100 Breaststroke PR by .77 seconds.
  • Jacqueline Oswald (SR) beat her previous best in 100 Breaststroke by .25 seconds.
  • Mary Clare Osilka (FR) gave me another hand-crushing high-five after her 7.47 second PR in 100 Free and her 1.69 second PR in 50 Free. Those are big drops!
  • Helena O’Keefe (FR) had the best swim of her life in 100 Breaststroke swimming it 4.87 seconds faster than ever before.
  • Kenneth Nguyen (8) looked great in his 100 Fly which he swam for the first time in only 1:35.81. Kenneth also cut 3.80 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Colin Nguyen (SR) dropped .05 seconds in 50 Free and swam a fast 1:15.72 in his first attempt at 100 Fly.
  • Bella Nguyen (7) broke 2:00 in 100 Breaststroke for the first time after a 6.72 second PR.
  • Maria Miller (FR) improved her best diving score by 16.45 points.
  • Aidan McCardell (FR) had a great swim in 100 Free, beating his previous best time by 4.63 seconds.
  • Luke Mantooth (JR) looked even better this week in 100 Fly than last week. How about his 1:11.78?  He also dropped another .61 seconds in 100 Breast.
  • Avila Mantooth (7) was great in her first attempt at 100 Fly and her 8.15 second PR swim in 100 Back.
  • Joey Lynch (7) lowered his 50 Free PR by .47 seconds.
  • Cora Kramer (8) beat her previous best in 100 Free by 1.59 seconds.
  • Peter Konstanty (JR) beat his 50 Back PR by .82 seconds and his 100 Breast PR by .48 seconds. Peter is very close to breaking 1:20 in 100 Breaststroke now.
  • Daniel Kohlhaas (6) dropped 13.24 seconds in 100 Back.
  • Cecilia Kelly (7) raised her Diving PR by 4.05 points
  • Kieran Kelly (SO) also hit a new PR in Diving with an improvement of 7.35 points.
  • Philomena Kay (8) was marvelous in 100 Breast, beating her PR by 2.30 seconds.
  • Jane Judge (7) lowered her 50 Free PR by .41 seconds, and she had a great first-time swim in 100 Fly.
  • Dominic Judge (8) had a great meet. In 500 Free he dropped 7.83 seconds, and in 100 Fly he dropped 4.99 seconds.  His 100 Fly time was 1:15.71 – that’s a really good time for an 8th grade boy!
  • Monica Irving (7) beat her 100 Back PR by 2.65 seconds and her 50 Free PR by .36 seconds.
  • Mary Catherine Hurley (SO) dropped 1.28 seconds in 100 Fly.
  • Elizabeth Hurley (7) was awesome! How about a 26.37 second PR in 500 Free and a first-time swim in 100 Fly in only 1:25.51?
  • David Hudson (JR) not only swam well in 100 Fly, he also cut another .38 seconds in 100 Free leading off a relay.
  • Maddie Heiny (FR) was awfully good in 100 Free where she cut 7.45 seconds from her PR. She was also good in 50 Free where she dropped 1.40 seconds.
  • Clare Heiny (7) smiled her way to a 5.21 second PR in 100 Free and a .06 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Sophia Halisky (7) showed what a good swimmer she is going to be for Seton with her 2:58.77 in her first attempt at the 200 IM.
  • Orla Haggerty (SO) beat her 50 Free PR by .08 seconds.
  • Moira Haggerty (SR) looked good in 100 Breaststroke, and it showed in her time – a 1.54 second PR.
  • Aoife Haggerty (8) beat her 50 Free PR by .70 seconds.
  • Jack Gregory (JR) made all of us proud with his 5.10 second PR in 100 Back and his 1.41 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Veronica Gonzalez (7) has figured out how to swim Breaststroke. It was fun watching her 11.83 second PR swim in the event.  She also cut 1.31 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Elizabeth Francis (SO) dropped .02 seconds in 100 Fly.
  • Mick Fioramonti (JR) dropped to 1:10.40 in 100 Fly after his 5.36 second PR swim. He also dropped .08 in 50 Free leading off a relay.
  • Josh Fioramonti (FR) beat his previous best in 50 Free by .38 seconds.
  • Kyleigh Fifield (8) cut .80 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Haley Fifield (SO) had one of her best meets of the season with her 8.25 second PR in 200 IM and her 4.64 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Ben Ellis (8) dropped an amazing 4.46 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay. He also dropped 4.37 seconds in 100 Breast and .39 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Joseph Dwane (JR) cut 10.73 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Charlie Dusek (FR) beat his previous 100 Free PR by 1.24 seconds.
  • Annie Dusek (7) had a great swim in her first attempt at 100 Fly. She also cut .04 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Joey Dealey (SR) took advantage of chance to swim 50 Back in a relay and lowered his PR by 1.00 seconds. He also cut .13 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Lucy Cunningham (SO) pushed her 500 Free a bit harder and got rewarded with an 11.94 second PR. She also pushed her 200 IM and dropped 6.24 seconds to break 3:00 for the first time.
  • John Cooley (7) dropped a huge 20.65 second PR in 100 Breaststroke
  • JJ Cooley (FR) cut 7.96 seconds in 100 Breast and 1.92 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Meghan Condon (7) swam extremely well in her first attempts at 100 Fly and 500 Free.
  • Joseph Borneman (SO) dropped another .66 seconds in 50 Free to get down to 25.71.
  • Tim Blanchette (SR) dropped almost a full second (.88 seconds) in 50 Free.
  • Nora Blanchette (FR) was all smiles after her 7.61 second PR in 100 Back.
  • Kit Blanchette (7) cut another .15 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
  • Aaron Bishop (JR) looked better than ever in the 200 Free, beating his previous best by 5.21 seconds.
  • Veronica Bingham (6) had a strong swim in her first attempt at 100 Fly
  • Mariana Bingham (8) cut .07 seconds in 100 Fly and .27 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Ryan Beltran (JR) lowered his 100 Fly PR to 1:23.68, an improvement of 4.34 seconds.
  • Molly Bauer (SO) asked for a chance to swim the 500 Free and 100 Fly. She made the most of her opportunity with a 25.46 second PR in 500 Free and a 3.89 second PR in 100 Fly.
  • Katie Bauer (7) had a wonderful meet on Saturday. I was so pleased to see her cut 3.34 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay and 1.61 seconds in 50 Free.  Katie also swam 100 Fly for the first time in less than 2 minutes.
  • Greg Bauer (FR) dropped .18 seconds in 200 IM.

Positioning to Win Some Championships

We have some big goals ahead of us in February.

For the Girls, we are settling for nothing short of victory in the VCAC Conference Championship Meet and our 6th VISAA Division II State Championship.  If we pull it off, it would be our 10th overall.

I’m expecting our big competition at States to be the Cape Henry Collegiate School.   Oddly enough, I would have expected our competition to be the Steward School but their top swimmer transferred schools – Allie Witdoeckt transferred to Trinity Christian School, as we well know 😉  If our Girls win at States, I’d expect that it will be on the strength of our three (3) relays plus individual points scored by Ariana Aldeguer (8) and Clara Condon (SO).  That means you can all count on all our top swimmers swimming all-three relays except for Ariana and Clara.

For the Boys, we need to win the VCAC Conference Championship Meet, and then we need to take our shot at the VISAA Division II State Championship.   If we swim like I know we can, I’d expect a victory at VCAC Champs, but after the girl’s result on January 7th, I am taking nothing for granted.

Then, if we have a chance to take another Boys State Championship, out Divers are going to have to place four (4) in the top-16 and at least two (2) in the top-8.  Then all three (3) of our relays are going to have to score big.  That means you can count on all of our fastest boys swimming all-three relays, including Lionel Martinez (8).

The Rest of the Season

We are hosting one final meet before we must cut the team down to just the Varsity swimmers.  I’ll be posting these Meet Announcements this coming week:

  • VISAA Junior Varsity Invitational on January 28th at the Fitch WARF in Warrenton.
    • All swimmers who are in 9th grade and below will be entered in this meet unless I hear from you that you cannot make it.
    • I also plan to enter non-Varsity upperclassmen to give you one final chance to have some fun swimming 50s, but you won’t be able to score.
    • Upper-class Varsity swimmers should plan to come and help cheer or time.

After the JV Invitational, the remaining meets for the year will not allow any exhibition swimmers.   Those meets are:

  • VISAA Division II Invitational Championship on Saturday, February 4th at the Freedom Center
  • VCAC Conference Championship on Saturday, February 11th at the Fitch WARF

I will be limited for these final two (2) championship meets to four (4) entries per individual event and two (2) entries per relay event.  At most, that takes 16-18 boys and 16-18 girls, not counting Divers.

So, what I will do is prepare a draft of our entries for the Division II Invitational, lining up the team to be as competitive as possible.  If you are on that entry list, you will be on the Varsity team.

I will post the members of this season’s post-season Varsity team in the next few days.

If you are not a Varsity swimmer or Diver, then this is your last week of the season.  On Thursday for the last half of practice, the Captains will be running some fun relays and other games.  This will be the final non-Varsity practice of the season.

Everyone should plan to come to practice on Thursday, including swimmers who normally practice on Wednesday/Friday.  There will be no practice on Friday.

Final Notes

On so many levels, I was very pleased with what I saw on Saturday.

We have one month left.  Let’s go get some more championships.

See you at 6:04 a.m.  Come ready for the final push.

Coach Jim Koehr

Seton Swimming’s G.E.M.S.

What makes Seton Swimming special?

N

Gratitude

“Who has it better than us? Nobody!”

N

Excellence

We focus on better. Good takes care of itself.

N

Meekness

We help our opponents over the bar that we raised by winning

N

Sacrifice

We offer it up. We love all of our teammates.

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