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. It was even more fun to see the Seton School Director, Mrs. Carroll (aka “The Chief”) there to cheer all of our swimmers on.
Two years ago, we added Meet Records and a Swimmer of the Meet award for the first time. 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 another 10 out of 24!
Congratulations to our Swimmers of the Meet: Andrew DiBenedetto of Bishop O’Connell and Anna Shumate of Paul VI. Andrew won four (4) times with top finishes in the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Free Relay, the 100 Fly and the 100 Backstroke by wide margins – his 55.58 in 100 Back was a new meet record. And Anna broke four meet records including the 50 Free, the 100 Breaststroke, the 200 Medley Relay, and the 200 Free Relay. The voting was very close, so congratulations to these two outstanding swimmers.
For the fourth year in a row, the powerful Bishop Ireton squad was just too strong for the rest of us, so they took home the traveling trophy – the Holy Grail. On the Boy’s side, the meet was never really close with Paul VI pulling away from Bishop Ireton and Seton early to claim the Boys Holy Grail for the 1st time ever. Congratulations to Bishop Ireton, and especially to their Coach, John Gullickson, who does a really fine job with those kids. I always like to remind them that I swam at Ireton back in the day 😉 And congratulations to Coach Bob Brofft of Paul VI who has resurrected a PVI team that has been uncharacteristically down over the past few years.
Our parent volunteers really stepped up to make this a great meet. Isn’t it cool that a school our size can pull off an event like this one? It would be impossible to mention everyone who made a difference, but here are a few:
- Our announcer, Blaine Hall, did a fabulous job keeping things exciting and moving. Our scheduled student announcer called in sick right before the meet, so it was incredibly helpful for Mr. Hall to take the ball from me personally. Every meet seems to have their stressor for me – and Mr. Hall took this one from me like a pro.
- Carole Pechie did a great job of keeping me stress free by arriving early and making sure the pool was completely set up before diving started. She also jumped in to sell Meet Programs. I also mention here that the recruiting that Mrs. Pechie did before the season has really paid off. We have added a large number of swimmers to the team which has been a major factor in the depth of talent was are able to develop.
- Our Wet Deck officials, led by Charles Seltman (or “Charles” as some of the seniors are now playfully referring to him), Mrs. Therese Griffin and Mr. Dan Flook were real pros, as usual, and our dry deck officials really stepped up to make sure the scoring was up to date in almost real time. Mr. Bill Dealey, Mr. Jim Griffin, and Mr. Hank Konstanty were pros through and through on this one. I was particularly excited about the great work that Mr. Dealey did. Not only was he incredibly proactive on figuring out what needed to be done and then doing it, he figured out to publish real-time results to our smartphones using the Meet Mobile app. This is going to a be a standard feature of our meets from now on!
- There were so many others that I can’t list them all here, but I will give a final shout-out to Coach Kimberly Dalrymple who is just a vacuum cleaner for things that need to get done. One of many examples was with the kids in our relays. I had to make numerous last minute changes – which is hard to do in the heat of battle – and I made a number of mistakes. Coach Dalrymple was running around behind the lanes fixing as many of my mistakes as she could. I am very grateful for all of the value she is adding to our swim program.
I was very pleased that the Seton Boy’s took 3rd place and the Seton Girl’s were able to take 4rd place. That means that our boys were both able to beat 2 of the 4 large Diocesan Schools – without a single USA swimmer or even anyone fast enough to qualify for National Catholics – tremendous!
How about Holy Family Academy, with only Dani Flook, beating one of the teams?!
Here is the way the final scores shook out:
Paul VI 365
Bishop Ireton 250
Seton Swimming 212
Bishop O’Connell 202
Saint John Paul the Great 180
St. Michael the Archangel 79
Benedictine College Prep 9
Bishop Ireton 353
Bishop O’Connell 300
Paul VI 205
Seton Swimming 194
St. Gertrude’s 178
Saint John Paul the Great 84
Holy Family 19
St. Michael the Archangel 7
Coach Lowell and I were talking about how, if this had been the 7th or 8th annual NoVa Catholics rather than the 6th 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 the very strong younger girl’s on our team take a good shot at it in a few more years!
Seton Diving Was Back!
Several years ago, when Coach Maureen Duran was able to coach, we had a Seton diving team, and MacKenzie Farmer (SO) was one of the very talented gymnasts that were on the team. It was so much fun to see MacKenzie back on the boards on Saturday – and she’s still got it. Her dives were still long, graceful and beautiful. With only one hour of practice earlier this week (thanks for taking the time Coach Duran!), MacKenzie scored a very strong 122.2 and took 3rd place! Congratulations MacKenzie!
Top 8 Individual Finishers
We have a hard-working team without a core group of USA Swimmers, but that didn’t stop us from getting a number of top 8 finishes:
- Peter Tozzi (8) was amazing. I’m starting with his 7th place finish in the 500 Free because of how far he’s come this season. His 7:15 was an excellent time for a first attempt t this event. Peter is a perfect example of what I’m talking about with the depth of our team. Peter is also an example of why you younger swimmers actually want to swim the 500 Free – the 7th place time in 100 Free was 58.35 and the 7th place time in 50 Free was 24.76. So where are you going to score the most points? Peter also cut .03 seconds in 50 Free. This is Peter’s first year swimming at Seton, and the improvement that I have seen in his stroke technique make me very excited that he is only in 8th grade!
- Alex Ceol (SO) has been out of the water for the last week, but still managed to come within .02 seconds of his PR in 100 Free and claim 3rd place. Alex also swam a .06 second PR in 100 Back to take 11th.
- Brian Koehr (SR) had one of his strongest swims of the season in 100 Free which was earned him the 5th place points in the event. Brian also took 9th in 100 Breaststroke.
- Matthew Fioramonti (SR) took two 6th place finishes on Saturday, including one as a result of his .87 second PR in 100 Free (He also beat his PR in the 100 Free leading off the 400 Free Relay). Matt’s other scoring swim was in the 200 Free.
- Andrew Quinan (SR) tried two unusual events for him on Saturday, and hit big PRs in both. His 1.91 second PR in 200 IM was good enough to get him 6th place and his 4.37 second PR in 100 Fly got him 9th Andrew’s 2:24.96 200 IM shows me that Andrew has developed into a four (4) stroke swimmer – that should be a goal for all Seton swimmers.
- Joe Fioramonti (SO) also had a great swim in the 500 Free. He cut 11.86 seconds from his PR and broke 7:00 to go 6:57.54 and place 6th.
- David Flook (8) had a really great meet with two huge PRs that earned him two 7th place finishes and a State Meet qualification time! His State cut came with a huge 2.64 second PR in 100 Back. His other PR was in the 200 IM where he cut 1.30 seconds.
- Martin Quinan (SO) had another great meet, swimming two (2) PRs and two (2) top 8 individual finishes. His 100 Breaststroke was particularly good. His .93 second PR got him 7th place with a time that was within 1.40 seconds from the State cut. In the 200 IM, Martin cut 4.17 seconds and took 8th place.
- Anna Kenna (SO) was out top scorer on Saturday with a 2nd place finish in 100 Fly and a 3rd place finish in 100 Back. Both times were her best so far this season. We know that Anna will be swimming a lot of backstroke in the post season, but we’re still trying to figure out if she should try 100 Fly or 100 Free in those meets too. At National Catholics next week, we’re going to take a shot at 100 Fly, an event where I really think she can be strong.
- Claire Kenna (SR) also scored a very high number of points for Seton with two (2) third place finishes in very competitive heats of 50 Free and 100 Breaststroke. I was particularly excited to see Claire split 25.48 on the anchor of our 2nd place 200 Free Relay. That should bode well for her 50 Free at National Catholics next week.
- Kimberly Rector (SR) had a breakout meet on Saturday, her best swimming so far this year. In the 500 Free, she took 3rd place and in the 200 IM she took 4th place. I’ve also been tracking her 50 Fly splits in what should be a Top 8 medley relay at States. She’s gradually working back down to the splits she did in prelims and finals last year – so the trend is looking pretty good!
- Emily Heim (SR) looked like she heard what Coach Reid Owen had to say last Thursday – her hands were very quick out front – and that lesson helped her take 2nd place in 100 Breaststroke behind only the eventual Swimmer of the Meet. I can see her gearing up for the post-season where she has a history of strong performances. Emily also took 12th in 100 Free.
- Dani Flook (JR), representing Holy Family Academy, scored 19 points to beat St. Michael the Archangel single-handedly! Dani took 5th in 200 Free and 6th in 100 Back.
Some Stunning Personal Records
As the meet was progressing, the other coaches are I were tracking PR after PR on the new Meet Mobile application that Mr. Dealey got set up for. At one point, when it became obvious that the kids were swimming really well, Coach Lowell turned to me and said, “All of these PRs are going to really impact your quality of life – it’s going to take all day to write them up!” Well, he was right that they have impacted my quality of life, but they have done it for the better! I just love watching kids look up at the scoreboard and get a big smile on their face.
We had 76 PRs on Saturday, and here are the ones that really stood out to me:
- Dominic Wittlinger (SO) was a beast on Saturday, particularly in sprint freestyle. In the 50 Free, he lowered his PR by an amazing 1.83 seconds to 27.16 and in the 100 Free leading off a 400 Free relay, he cut 2.69 seconds to break 1:00 for the first time and go 58.97! Dominic now has the 8th fastest time on the team in 100 Free assuring him eligibility to be on at least our “B” 400 Free relay.
- Leo Santschi (SR) made me so proud on Saturday! Leo joined our team for the first time as a senior and is really doing well. I wanted to give him a chance to show himself how far he’s come since time trials so I put him in the 200 Free – and he dropped 29.55 seconds!
- Brendan Santschi (SO) has been listening in practice. I could tell by that 5.18 second PR in 100 Fly. He’s now swimming a pretty competitive time, particularly for DAC competition.
- Katharine Rowzie (8) was just super! How about that 5.73 second PR in 100 Free?
- Therese Pechie (FR) had a very fine swim in 200 Free where she beat her lifetime best by 15.32 seconds. She also knocked another .45 seconds from her 100 Free PR and another .02 seconds from her 50 Back PR while leading off a medley relay.
- Cat Pechie (JR) sure did do a nice job in the 500 Free. She went out fast and pushed herself hard the whole way. The result? A 25.24 second PR!
- Patrick Hall (SR) just continues to get faster. How about a 16.18 second PR in 200 Free, a 2.34 second PR in 100 Free and a 1.15 second PR in 50 Free? Nice job Patrick!
- Caroline Griffin (8) is going to be a good one. Her times are already competitive at the high school level and she’s only in 8th I was very pleased to see her drop 5.79 seconds in 200 Free and another 1.52 seconds in 100 Back.
- Mairead Geiran (7) has a lot of people feeling lucky that she is ineligible to score as a 7th grader! Had she been eligible, her 2.13 second PR in 100 Free would have scored 10th! And her 100 Backstroke would have scored 11th. I should also note that, if she were eligible to swim at States, she would have qualified in four (4) different events!
- Kevin Geiran (SO) broke :26 in 50 Free for the first time with a .16 second PR! He also had a 1.03 second PR in 100 Back.
- Bryanna Farmer (SR) made me very proud with her swim in the 200 Free. She took it out fast like you are supposed to and ended up lowering her PR by 7.86 seconds! She also cut another .13 seconds in 100 Fly.
- Patrick Dealey (SR), how did you drop 5.11 seconds in 100 Free? Nice work! Patrick also cut .35 seconds in 50 Free.
- David Catabui (SO) had an amazing PR in 100 Back, lowering his best time by 6.85 seconds.
- Elizabeth Caron (7) is going to be a great one for Seton one day soon, I can already tell. She has improved so much this season – it has really been impressive. How about another 1.82 second drop in 50 Free?
- Will Arnold (SR) just rocked his 50 Free, beating his lifetime best by an incredible 2.54 seconds to go 25.81 – wow! Will just jumped up to the 5th fastest sprint freestyler on the team.
76 More Personal Records
With a meet in the middle of mid-terms, 76 Personal Records is a truly remarkable total – that’s basically an average of one (1) per swimmer! Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned. I hope you’ve been noticing the huge improvements from our younger swimmers:
- Marcie Van de Voorde (8) has been doing some great work with Coach Paul Pechie, and it was evident in her 12.97 second PR in 100 Free and her .85 second PR in 50 Free.
- Maria Tozzi (7) had a great meet with two (2) PRs. In 100 Free, she lowered her PR by 1.38 seconds and in 50 Free, she lowered her PR by .17 seconds.
- Julia Rowzie (SO) had a big 2.45 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay and a .53 second PR in 50 Free. Her 50 Free time is getting pretty competitive now.
- Michaela Pennefather (SR) did a really nice job in the 200 IM, lowering her PR by 4.81 seconds.
- Bridget O’Malley (SO) scored point for 9th place in the 500 Free after her 4.33 second PR. She broke 6:50 for the first time, so her time is getting pretty competitive.
- Patrick Murray (SO) had two very nice swims. He dropped 2.03 seconds in 100 Free and .35 seconds in 50 Free.
- Anton Murray (8) beat his lifetime best in 50 Free by nearly a second (.80 seconds, actually)
- Kolbe Mosher (7) made Coach Pechie really proud after that 2.96 second PR in 50 Free. Nice work Kolbe!
- Josh Miller (JR) scored the 11th place points in 200 Free after he cut his PR by 5.71 seconds. Josh also scored 11th in 100 Breaststroke.
- Sean Kellogg (SO) had a great swim in 100 Back where he lowered his lifetime best by 2.60 seconds.
- Liam Kellogg (7) had two PRs on Saturday. In 100 Back, he beat his previous best by 2.60 seconds and in 50 Free he beat his previous best by .07 seconds.
- Tom Irving (JR) cut his 100 Back PR by a huge 3.64 seconds. I can only imagine how well he could do if we saw him more 😉 It was also good to see former Seton Swim Coach Adam Irving at the meet!
- Julianna Holmes (JR) had a great meet in her first year on the team. I really enjoyed watching her drop 1.24 seconds in 50 Free and .79 seconds in 100 Free.
- Virginia Hartung (7) had a very nice 1.09 second PR in 50 Free
- Chris Hartung (SR) looked very strong in the water on Saturday. Chris beat two lifetime bests: In 100 Free, he dropped 1.26 seconds and in 50 Free, he dropped .02 seconds.
- Ryan Hall (SO) looked very good in his 100 Free, so it didn’t surprise me when I saw him touch in a time 2.51 seconds than ever before.
- Rosie Hall (SO) looked as good as I’ve seen her look, especially in Breaststroke where she swam a 1.75 second PR. Rosie also cut .66 seconds in 50 Free.
- Justin Fioramonti (8) cut another .24 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
- Katie Dealey (8) cut a huge 8.64 seconds in 100 Back and .72 seconds in 50 Free.
- Ben Dealey (SO) lowered his 100 Back PR by another .53 seconds.
- Jerry Dalrymple (8) had a great medley relay lead-off, lowering his PR in 50 Back by 2.37 seconds.
- Reilly Cuccinelli (JR) showed good improvement in her sprints, cutting her 100 Free PR by .67 seconds and her 50 Free PR by .12 seconds.
- Tim Costello (SR) had a great swim in 100 Breaststroke, beating his lifetime best by .27 seconds.
- Ben Ceol (SO) looked really strong during his .63 second PR swim in 50 Free.
- Joe Arnold (8) had a very fine swim in his 100 Free, lowering his previous best by 3.57 seconds.
- Katie Albin (8) had a great swim in the 200 IM where she cut 3.80 seconds from her PR.
Let’s Try Something New
As I mentioned above when I was talking about my choice of events for Andrew Quinan, we like to think that a Seton Swimmer should be able to swim any stroke and any distance. That’s why you will see me put people in seemingly unusual events.
For instance, her are two swimmers who could not get a PR because they have never swum the event before:
- Grant Mantooth (JR) has been improving so much in the sprints, I wanted to give him a shot at the 500 Free and 100 Fly. He did a very nice job with both.
- Jack Santschi (7) is starting to look to me like he can swim nearly anything, even though he’s only in 7th In his very first attempt at the 500 Free, he actually broke 7:00, and in his first attempt at 200 IM, he almost broke 2:40. Those are amazing times for a high-school only swimmer his age.
Final Qualifiers for National Catholics
Congratulations to Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Kimberly Rector and Claire Kenna for making our National Catholic Team! The National Catholic High School Championship is January 23rd and 24th at Loyola University in Baltimore. We’ll be heading up there Friday night.
Prelims are Saturday morning so, after I see as many of their races as possible, I’ll be heading back to Manassas to be with our boys against Fredericksburg Christian! Hopefully, when I return to Baltimore on Saturday night, I’ll have a good reason to sit with Mr. Heim, Mr. Kenna and Mr. Rector in one of their favorite Baltimore establishments.
Qualifiers So Far for States
Those same four (4) girls – Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Kimberly Rector and Claire Kenna – have also qualified for the State Championship Meet. And they are joined by David Flook as our first male individual qualifier on 100 Back!
We also have a number of relays that have hit the qualifying times for States:
- Boys 200 Medley Relay – both “A” and “B” Relays
- Girls 200 Medley Relay – both “A” and “B” Relays
- Boys 200 Free Relay – “A” Relay
- Girls 200 Free Relay – “A” Relay
- Boys 400 Free Relay – “A” Relay
- Girls 400 Free Relay – both “A” and “B” Relays
Also Recall: For relays at States, we are I am able to enter an “A” scoring relay and a qualifying “B” exhibition relay. Swimmers are qualified to swim on a relay if they have either qualified in an individual event or swum on the relay when it hit the qualifying time.
At the time that I submit our relay entries, I will enter the fastest qualifying relays that I can, so for now, I won’t even attempt to project who is traveling with us for relays yet. If you are watching the PRs in sprint freestyle on the boys side and if you have seen our boys “B” relay almost beat our “A” relay multiple times this season, you will understand why. It’s going to be very competitive all the way to the end for the boys.
If you look under Meet & Team Information and see qualifiers for event 101 and 102 – 50 Free – that is for the “Bonus” 50 Free event. That event is only open to swimmers who have qualified for the meet some other way. We’ve created that bonus event to give kids who have traveled all the way to Christiansburg another opportunity to swim. You do not qualify for States solely by hitting that cut.
Next Meet is Saturday, January 23rd at Central Park
Next weekend’s meet for the rest of the team is at Central Park, and it will decide who wins the DAC Conference Championship for the Boys. On December 19th, we beat Fredericksburg Christian by only four (4) points. The way our boys have been improving, I think we have an excellent chance of winning by more than that this time – but it is going to have to be an all-hands effort for the Boys.
It will also be a great chance to see some truly excellent swimmers from Woodberry Forest, Fork Union Military Academy and Norfolk Academy. Let’s all watch and learn from these guys – some of them are really, really good.
Be on deck ready to stretch before 12:39 p.m.
- You probably noticed that we have incorporated new team into our program from Holy Family Academy, with Dani Flook as the sole swimmer representing their school. Dani competes for Holy Family, but we include her in our practices and our administrative activities. Starting next week, we are going to do the same thing with Chelsea Academy in Front Royal. So if you see Janey Olohan and Joseph Frank on deck next week, please do everything you can to welcome them into our family.
- I realize that mid-term exams have taken a toll on our practice attendance, and it has been a tough balancing act for a lot of kids. Do your best to attend the final two practices during mid-terms 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 have a survey on the home page of the site about how to handle practices during the mid-terms next season. I’m wondering if it would be helpful to have practices in the afternoons through this period. Remember, that all of the coaches are volunteers and work for a living, but if we think it would help a lot of kids get to practice, we are committed to trying to make it work.
- The end of the season is fast approaching for probably half the team with our JV Invitational on January 30th at the Fitch WARF in Warrenton. Here’s how it works:
- For the final three (3) post-season meets, we are not allowed any exhibition swimmers. That means that I am limited to four (4) scoring swimmers per event and two (2) scoring relays.
- So I will publish the meet entries for the VISAA Division II Invitational Championship on sometime after our January 23rd meets and the swimmers in that meet will be designated as “Varsity”.
- Only the Varsity team needs to practice past January 28th.
I really hope I see more of you tomorrow morning at practice – we’re almost there,
Coach Jim Koehr