Now that was a great meet!  Seton Swimming created this annual championship meet to bring together all of the Catholic schools in the northern half of Virginia each year for a celebration of our common values, and the meet gets more fun each year.

Every year, I work with the other coaches to make some improvements to the meet.  This year, we added Meet Records and a Swimmer of the Meet award.  In business, we often say that you get what you measure.  Well we started measuring Meet Records and not surprisingly, we broke a bunch – how about 11 out of 24!  And congratulations to our Swimmers of the Meet: Emily Merrill of Paul VI and Alec Morin of St. Michael the Archangel.  Emily broke two Meet Records and Alec absolutely owned the 50 Free.  It was awfully fun to watch a DAC swimmer get the award.  I’m looking forward to seeing Alec compete in the 50 at States.

Just like last year’s meet, it came down to the last couple of events for the girls, and once again Bishop Ireton held off a very powerful O’Connell squad to take home the traveling trophy – the Holy Grail.  On the boy’s side, the meet was also close until Bishop Ireton pulled away from O’Connell near the end to claim the Boys Holy Grail.  Congratulations to Bishop Ireton, and especially to their Assistant Coach, former Seton Swimming Captain Mary Kate Kenna!  I always like to remind them that I swam at Ireton back in the day 😉

Our parent volunteers, led by Carole Pechie, really stepped up to make this a great meet. Our announcer, Robin Given, did a fabulous job keeping things exciting and moving, Deacon Don Libera of the St. John in Warrenton gave a wonderful opening prayer, and Dianna Pechie gave us another beautiful rendition of the National Anthem.  And our dry deck officials really stepped up to overcome our seemingly endless challenges with the Freedom Center’s timing system.  Allen Sinner, Bill Dealey and Mario Rosato were pros through and through on this one.  The whole experience just reminded me once again of why I like swimming at Central Park.

And now, here is the way the final scores shook out:

Girls

Bishop Ireton                         271

Bishop O’Connell                  258

Paul VI                                  205

St. Gertrude’s                         204

Seton Swimming                     190

Oakcrest                                  99

Pope John Paul the Great          74

St. Michael the Archangel          42

Boys

Bishop Ireton                         311

Bishop O’Connell                    246

Paul VI                                  240

Pope John Paul the Great        176

Seton Swimming                      136

St. Michael the Archangel        101

Benedictine College Prep        64

Coach Lowell and I were talking about how, if this had been the 5th or 6th annual NoVa Catholics rather than the 4th annual, we’d have our name on one or two of those plaques on the front of the Holy Grail.  I look forward to seeing our young girl’s team take a good shot at it in the next two years!

Top 8 Finishers

We have a young team, but that didn’t stop us from getting a number of top 8 finishes:

Girls:

  • Anna Kenna was our highest placing finisher with a 2nd in 100 Back and a 3rd in 100 Fly. Her 100 Back 2nd was behind only the Swimmer of the Meet Emma Merrill, and her underwater’s were spectacular.  Leading off the medley relay, she broke out in the backstroke a half body length ahead of everyone, including Emma.  It is very exciting to think about how many backstroke races this 8th grader is going to win in the next 4.5 years off those walls.  And in 100 Fly, she cut another 1.12 seconds to go 1:04.69.  Seton has never had an 8th grader swim that fast in 100 Fly, not even the great Katie Shipko.  In fact, our team record holder, Bridget Wunderly, was going 1:13 at this point in her career!
  • Claire Kenna was also a monster on Saturday with two 3rd place finishes in the sprint freestyle events. Her 50 Free was particularly good, especially the start and her first underwater.  Like Anna, Claire handled competition from Ireton in the 50 and had fun reviewing the race with her sister, Ireton Assistan Coach Mary Kate Kenna.  I also had fun.  I went over to the Ireton coach John Gullickson, a good friend, and told him, “these Kenna girls are wearing you out!”.  He had the last laugh with the meet victory though 😉
  • Kimberly Rector really shined in the distance freestyle events, taking 4th place in both the 200 and 500 Free – and she had PRs in both events. In the 500, she cut another 1.66 seconds and in the 200, she cut another .95 seconds.
  • Emily Heim pleased me immensely with her 100 Breaststroke swim. I have been telling her over the past couple weeks that we are really going to need her to be at her best if our girls team is to compete with Hampton Roads Academy at States, and she has stepped up.  PRs are not earned on Saturdays – they are earned on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays – and Emily is taking that to heart.  On Saturday, she swam a lifetime best by .49 seconds.  Outstanding!  That’s what I was looking for!
  • Alex Sinner is another one who we are going to need in top form for States, and she also swam well on Saturday, picking up two 5th place finishes in the 200 IM and 100 Fly. I’d also like to note that Alex has been a really fine captain for us so far this season.
  • Dani Flook, a freshman, swam a 1.88 second PR in 100 Back to take 7th Dani also took 10th in 200 IM with a big 4.61 second PR.  Her finish in that 200 IM was great – she beat an Ireton girl on the last length, and I know why.  Few people on the team practice like Dani, and the results are showing for her.  She sets a great example for the other swimmers in Coach Dawn Ceol’s lanes.
  • Jillian Ceol rounded out the top 8 performances that we had from our girls with an 8th place finish in 100 Breaststroke. Jillian also had a good swim in the 50 Free where she took 12th.
  • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Anna Kenna, Kimberly Rector, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna swam so well that they took 2nd place, beating both O’Connell’s and PVI’s “A” relays.

Boys:

  • Joe Kosten, a senior captain, waited until now to become a sprinter, and he is really starting to find success there. His 50 Free dropped by another .56 seconds and was good enough for 5th place in a very fast championship final heat that included the Swimmer of the Meet, Alec Morin.  Joe now has the cut in the 50 Free for Eastern Catholics and is only .03 seconds off of the State cut.  Joe also had a very nice swim in 100 Free where he took 5th place also.
  • Tommy Flook has become one of those 4-stroke swimmers that we are always trying to build in Seton Swimming, and it showed in the 200 IM with a .79 second PR and a 6th place finish. His butterfly has shown some significant improvement this season, and on Saturday, he took 7th in that event too.
  • Andrew Quinan had a spectacular meet with two big PRs and a top 8 finish. In the 500 Free, Andrew cut 19.56 seconds and jumped up to 8th place in the final results.  Andrew also cut 2.94 seconds in the 200 Free which was good enough for 11th.  All that work with Coach Lowell is really paying off for Andrew!

41 More Personal Records

Given how much practice we’ve missed with snow and sickness, I was very pleased to see this many PRs.  Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned:

  • Edith Barvick had an excellent day with two PRs. In 100 Back, she dropped a huge 7.17 seconds and in 50 Free, she dropped .04 seconds.
  • Ashley Cackett was super in the 500 Free, lowering her PR by 40.50 seconds! She’s only in 8th grade, and she’s already going under 7:00.
  • Kalli Dalrymple swam very well in 50 Back leading off a medley – she cut another .22 seconds from her PR.
  • Ben Dealey lowered his 50 Free PR by .23 seconds
  • Patrick Dealey also had a PR in 50 Free, by .38 seconds.
  • Joe Fioramonti swam well with his 2.02 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Matthew Fioramonti is in danger of leading off our “A” medley relay after his 3.38 second PR in 50 Back to go 32.19. Matt also cut 2.32 seconds in the 200 Free.  Matthew is going to score a lot of points for us in the future with performances like that.
  • Allison Given dropped 5.68 seconds in 100 Back.
  • Rosie Hall was all smiles on Saturday. How about that 12.38 second PR in 100 Breast and that 5.36 second PR in 50 Free!
  • Mary Heim, only a 7th grader, showed what a great future she’s going to have. Her 5.14 second PR in 100 Back got her time down to 1:21.30, pretty quick for a girl her age.  Mary also showed me that she can swim all four strokes with her sub-3:00 200 IM.
  • Sarah Heim has a very nice swim in the 500 Free with a 3.66 second PR.
  • Brian Koehr keeps telling me that he can’t swim fly, but after a 5.12 second PR, it’s getting harder and harder to believe 😉
  • Sally Marrazzo lowered her 100 Free PR once again, this time by .90 seconds.
  • Mark O’Donohue swam very well in the 500 with a 1.40 second PR
  • Peter O’Donohue had two PRs on Saturday. In 50 Free, Peter cut .68 seconds and in 100 Back, he cut .39 seconds.
  • Bridget O’Malley had a quick lead-off leg on a medley relay, cutting her 50 Back PR by .76 seconds.
  • Cat Pechie had one of her best meets ever with two big PRs. In the 200 Free, she cut 9.55 seconds and in 100 Free, she cut 1.46 seconds.  Those are big drops!
  • Paul Pechie those wheels turning with his lead-off leg of a 200 Free Relay. He cut his 50 Free PR on that leg by 1.66 seconds.
  • Therese Pechie looked “long and strong” in 100 Back, lowering her PR by 1.62 seconds. Looks like it was a great meet for kids named Pechie!
  • Martin Quinan cut another .50 seconds from his 100 Breast PR.
  • Julia Rowzie cut a big 3.50 seconds from her 100 Back PR.
  • Cris Salas is fresh off a collar bone injury, but he’s swimming like he’s been practicing all season. He cut 3.08 seconds from his 100 Back PR and .56 seconds from his 100 Free PR.  It was great to see Cris back under a minute for the 100.
  • Madeline Snider continues to swim well. On Saturday, she had another PR in 100 Back, this time by .07 seconds.
  • Jude Van de Voorde really hit his stride in 50 Free, lowering his PR by 1.15 seconds to go 28.49.
  • Dominic Wittlinger somehow managed to cut 7.06 seconds from his 100 Breast PR. Nice work Dominic!

Other Great Swims

There were a few others swims that I think are worth mentioning:

  • Alex Ceol has been really sick, but that didn’t keep him from swimming a really fine 2:46.00 in his first ever attempt at the event. It’s great to see Alex swimming all four strokes well now.
  • MacKenzie Farmer joined us late in the season, and I was very pleased with her first attempts at 100 Fly and 100 Breast.
  • Patrick Pennefather is coming off a hand he broke playing basketball and plans to swim with us the rest of the season. Given that he’s only just begun to practice, I was definitely pleased with what I saw in the 100 Fly and 100 Breaststroke.
  • James Kosten went all in on that 200 Free. James’ PR for 100 Free is 1:02.24 and his 100 split in this race was 1:02.73!  Probably not a good idea to take it out that fast, but I sure loved the effort!

New Qualifiers for the VISAA State Championship Meet and Eastern Catholics

No new qualifiers this week or cuts for States, but a group has come forward to offer an alternative to National Catholics, which was canceled for the first time in over 60 years.

The new meet is Eastern Catholics, and it will be held at the beautiful sports complex that was built by former Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke.   The meet will take all day on Sunday, January 26th with prelims in the morning and finals in the evening.  A meet announcement is posted under Meet & Team Information.  I’ll be submitting entries this week, and then I’ll be working on hotel arrangements for Saturday night.  More info to those who will be directly involved is forthcoming.

Here are the swimmers who have qualified individually for States, so far, and for Eastern Catholics:

MeetGirlsBoys
StatesKimberly Rector

·       200 IM

·       500 Free

·       100 Free

·       100 Breast

·       50 Free

·       100 Fly

·       200 Free

Claire Kenna

·       50 Free

·       100 Free

·       200 Free

Anna Kenna

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       50 Free

·       200 IM

·       500 Free

·       50 Free

·       200 Free

Alex Sinner

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       200 IM

·       100 Free

·       100 Breaststroke

Emily Heim

·       100 Breast

200 Medley Relay “A”

200 Medley Relay “B”

200 Free Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “B”

200 Medley Relay

200 Free Relay

Eastern CatholicsKimberly Rector

·       200 IM

·       100 Back

·       100 Free

·       100 Breast

·       50 Free

·       100 Fly

·       200 Free

Claire Kenna

·       50 Free

·       100 Free

·       200 Free

·       100 Breast

·       200 IM

Anna Kenna

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       50 Free

·       200 IM

·       50 Free

·       200 Free

Alex Sinner

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       200 IM

·       100 Free

·       100 Breaststroke

·       200 Free

·       50 Free

Emily Heim

·       100 Breast

·       50 Free

Jillian Ceol

·       50 Free

Dani Flook

·       50 Free

200 Medley Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “A”

Joe Kosten

·       50 Free

200 Medley Relay

200 Free Relay

 

Looking at our times for this season, I can see that Joe Kosten, Dani Flook, Jillian Ceol and Patrick Pennefather also have a shot at qualifying individually.  January is the month to really push yourself in practice – the championship meets are only a month away!

Next Meet is Saturday, January 18th at Central Park

Next weekend’s meet is at Central Park.   Among others, we’ll be welcoming Coach Jay Thorpe and his team from Battlefield High School for the first time in several years.  Please plan to be on deck stretching at 12:39 p.m.

Final Notes

I realize that final exams are fast approaching, and it is a tough balancing act for a lot of kids.  Do your best to attend practices during finals week because this is the time of the season where we are no longer learning how to swim, but when we are preparing our bodies to swim fast.  As always, I will defer to parental discretion on the needs of each individual swimmer.

I hope you are all having a blessed Christmas season.  See you in the morning,

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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