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.   Other that the VISAA State Championship Meet, this is my favorite meet every year.

For the fifth 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 O’Connell to claim the Boys Holy Grail for the 2nd year in a row.  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.  PVI is definitely back!

Three 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 seven (7) out of 24!

Congratulations to our Swimmers of the Meet: Anna Shumate of Bishop Ireton and Paul Kinsella of Bishop O’Connell.  Anna took the gold medal four (4) times with top finishes in the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Free Relay, the 100 Free and 100 Breaststroke and set all or part of 3 new meet records.  And Paul won three (3) gold medals and a bronze medal including wins in the 200 IM and 100 Breaststroke.  The voting was very close, so congratulations to these two outstanding swimmers.

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 I will highlight one new addition to the team this year.  Mr. Robin Given has taken over responsibility for all of our meet music this year, and he did an outstanding job as the meet announcer.  Thank you so much Mr. Given!

I was very pleased that the Seton Boy’s took 4th place and the Seton Girl’s were able to take 5th place. That means that our boys were both able to beat one of the large Diocesan schools.   If you look at the scores, our boys were just 3 points behind John Paul the Great and our girls were just 4 points behind them.  In a meet where we were scoring 12 places, that means that in both cases, one 10th or 11th place finish could have made the difference.

Here is the way the final scores looked:


Paul VI                                  354

Bishop O’Connell                   293.5

Saint John Paul the Great     237 

Seton Swimming                  234

Bishop Ireton                        146.5

St. Michael the Archangel          46

Chelsea Academy                     19

Benedictine College Prep           18


Bishop Ireton                         359.5

Paul VI                                  330.5

Bishop O’Connell                  276

Saint John Paul the Great     160  

Seton Swimming                  156

St. Gertrude’s                           84

Chelsea Academy                     16

Oakcrest                                    6

Coach Lowell and I were talking about how, if this had been the 8th or 9th annual NoVa Catholics rather than the 7th 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!

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:


  • Anna Kenna (JR) was out top scorer on Saturday with two individual 2nd place finishes in 200 Free and 100 Free and 26 total individual points. Both times were excellent far this point in Anna’s training cycle.   Anna’s 1:59.82, while not her lifetime best in the 200 Free, was her fastest time in a Seton cap and the fastest time on the team so far this year, boy or girl.  It is also worth noting that Anna’s lead-off 50 Free in the 200 Free Relay was the fastest 50 swum by a girl in the meet.  Even though her time was a small .28 seconds off her her PR, it would have won the 50 Free event by a whopping .76 seconds.  We know that Anna will be swimming a lot of backstroke in the post season, but we’re still trying to figure out which of the 200 Free, 100 Free or 50 Free she should swim in those meets too.  At National Catholics next week, we’re going to take a shot at 50 Free.  After watching the level of improvement in her start that I saw this past weekend, I’m pretty encouraged by the possibilities.
  • Caroline Griffin (FR) was the 2nd highest scoring individual, boy or girl, in the meet for Seton with 23 points scored. In 100 Back, her swim was strong enough for the Silver medal, but it was her 200 IM that most impressive to me.  She cut another .93 seconds and took 5th in a fast field.  Caroline has the state cut in both of these events.
  • Reilly Cuccinelli (SR) took 5th place in 100 Breaststroke and scored a total of 13 individual points. Reilly also had an outstanding race against a surging Katharine Rowzie in the 500 Free.   Katherine pushed Reilly to her best 500 of the season, beating her PR by 13.80 seconds to take 10th


  • Jerry Dalrymple (8) earned Seton’s highest individual point tally on the boy’s side with 19 total individual points – in spite of the fact that Jerry was looking very pale and feeling sick. Incredibly, he swam a .49 second PR in 200 Free to take 6th place in event #3 in the meet.  Even though he was feeling worse as the afternoon progressed, he toughed out a difficult 500 Free and still managed a 6th  Jerry showed that he’s a tough kid for sure.
  • Dominic Wittlinger (JR) was our second highest scoring boy, taking advantage of his strength in the middle distance events. In the 500 Free, Dominic was right on his PR and that was strong enough for 4th place!  In the 200 IM, Dominic cut another 4.72 seconds and took 7th  But to me, Dominic’s most impressive swim was in 50 Back leading off the medley relay.   Dominic spent a day this week as part of a small backstroke group former Seton swimmer Kevin Koehr.  His PR swim leading off the medley relay really looked good.
  • David Flook (FR) was our third highest scoring boy individually with his two PRs making all the difference for him. David took the bronze medal in 100 Back with a .81 second PR to go 1:03.02.  That’s only .11 seconds off the State cut!  In 100 Fly, David cut 1.23 seconds to jump up to 8th  It was definitely a good day for David Flook.
  • Alex Ceol (JR) was amazing. He swam a 1.24 second PR in 100 Free, taking 4th place in a very fast heat, and just missing the State qualifying time by 0.10 seconds.  His 54.30 is the fastest boys 100 Free time so far this season.  Alex also got a chance at 100 Breaststroke and swam very well.
  • Seamus Koehr (JR) finally got his chance to swim breaststroke, he rewarded me for giving him that chance with a tremendous 1.23 second PR swim that took 4th Seamus also had a wonderful swim in the 200 IM, lowering his PR by 5.38 seconds.  Once again, it was the breaststroke leg where he shined, but Seamus has shown that he is a four (4) stroke swimmer – whether he believes it or not, his 33.50 lead-off butterfly split was fabulous.
  • Drew Dalrymple (FR) had a great afternoon with two PRs that resulted in 10 individual points for Seton. In 100 Free, Drew beat his PR by .72 seconds to go 57.43 and take 7th  Then in 100 Back, he beat his PR by 4.90 seconds and jumped up to 10th place.
  • Grant Mantooth (SR) continues to be our team’s top sprinter, and his sprints would good enough for 8th place in both the 50 and 100 Free. Right now, Grant is only .33 seconds off the State cut for 50 Free.
  • Joshua Miller (SR) was all smiles after his 24.91 split in the 200 Free relay and his 7.44 second PR in 100 Free. It’s been awhile since I’ve put Joshua in 100 Free, but I’ve seen the error of my ways 😉  Joshua also had a nice swim in 100 Breaststroke where he scored 9 points with a 6th place finish.

Lots of Personal Record Swims that Caught My Attention

As the meet was progressing, the other coaches and I were tracking PR after PR on the new Meet Mobile application that Mr. Dealey got set up for us.  I just love watching kids look up at the scoreboard and get a big smile on their face.

We had 57 PRs on Saturday – that’s basically one PR per swimmer!  As you read through these highlights, I hope you notice how much our younger swimmers are improving.  Seton Swimming has a bright future I think:

  • Jack Santschi (8) is going to be a heck of swimmer for Seton in the years to come. I watch him swim and often forget that he’s only in 8th  Jack’s 100 Fly scored in 9th place after he beat his PR by another 1.98 seconds to go 1:08.16.  That’s a really good time for an 8th grade boy, but even more impressive was his 100 Free time.  After cutting 3.00 seconds, Jack went 58.04 leading off a 400 Free Relay – that’s now the 4th fastest 100 Free time on the whole boy’s team!
  • Emily Flynn (7) has the chance to be something special at Seton, and if she does, it will be because how hard she works in practice. She doesn’t say much, but she doesn’t have to – she always comes and she always works – and the results are showing for her.  She had a really good day in Backstroke cutting .61 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay and .13 seconds in 100 Back.  She also had a very fine time in her first-ever attempt at the 200 IM.  But to me, her most impressive swim was her butterfly leg in her medley relay.  Emily split 32.65 – that’s the 4th fastest 50 Fly split on our girl’s team, and she’s only in 7th
  • Ben Ceol (JR) has been trying to get to States on a relay, and his 25.19 PR split in the 200 Free relay will go a long way toward securing his spot on the team. Ben also had a great swim leading off a 400 Free relay with a 1.34 second PR to go 1:01.03.  What was really amazing was his 200 Free where he cut 37.61 seconds from his PR.   Ben continues to improve, in spite of his practice attendance – I can only imagine how fast he could be if we saw him more.   Ben can become a very good swimmer if he dedicates himself to it.
  • Lauren Volk (FR) has been showing crazy levels of improvement in her first year on the team. After cutting nearly a whole minute in an event last week, she cut 51.71 seconds in 100 Breaststroke this week.  She was technically DQ’d, but it was a totally impressive swim nonetheless.  Lauren also made a courageous first effort at 100 Fly.  I was so proud of Lauren!
  • Rosie Hall (JR) has had a breakout season, and her string of PRs continued on Saturday. How about a 22.17 second PR in 500 Free.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, Rosie also cut .40 seconds in 50 Free and .78 seconds in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.
  • Jeremy Kleb (FR) caught my attention with his swimming this past weekend. I was so impressed with Jeremy’s 100 Freestyle where he went 1:04.75, beating his PR by 3.22 seconds.  Jeremy also had a .95 second PR in 200 IM, just missing a score with 13th place, and a .73 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.
  • Katharine Rowzie (FR) continues to impress – she’s having a breakout season after figuring out that she’s pretty good at middle distance freestyle. Before her great 9th place swim in the 500 Free, she had cut 14.30 seconds in her 200 Free.  Katharine also broke :30 in 50 Free for the first time leading off a 200 Free Relay with a .62 second PR.
  • Isabelle Luevano (7) is another 7th grader who continues to show tremendous promise. I was so pleased to see 1.58 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay and her .10 second PR in 50 Free.  Isabelle’s 28.51 in 50 Free is a really strong time for a 7th grade girl.
  • Matthew Kelly (SO) is showing great potential to score a lot of points for Seton in the future, including in the relays. His 1:00.65 split in the 400 Free relay was nearly 2 seconds faster than his standing start PR.  Matthew also swam a 1.54 second PR in 100 Back and a .19 second PR in 50 Free.  Matthew’s 50 Free is starting to get near range for our relays – on Saturday, he went 26.45 in the event.
  • Mary O’Malley (7) had a great day on Saturday with two (2) big Personal Records. In 100 Free, she dropped a huge 3.08 seconds and in 100 Back, she dropped another huge 2.68 seconds!
  • Victoria Baker (8) is rapidly becoming a good young swimmer in her first year on the team. Coach Lowell even made a comment to me about here improvement as we watched her 2.64 second PR in 100 Free.  Victoria also cut a huge 5.95 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Anne Konstanty (FR) somehow just keeps dropping time in the 500 Free. After several weeks in a row of big improvements, you’d think that she might plateau at some point, but not Anne.  She’s down to 7:30 after cutting another 4.59 seconds.
  • Julia Rowzie (JR) may have found an event where she can score some points for us in the postseason. She had a great swim in the 200 Free, beating her previous PR by 4.05 seconds.
  • Patrick Murray (JR) had the swim of his life in the 200 Free, cutting 29.31 seconds from his PR. He’s really learning to get long and keep his elbows higher under the water.  Patrick also lowered his 100 Breaststroke PR by 3.79 seconds.
  • Mary Ostrich (SO) has had a steady stream of PRs nearly every time she’s hit the water, and Saturday was no different. How about a 19.09 second PR in 200 Free and a 1.62 second PR in 100 Back?  Mary has really come a long way this season.
  • Caroline Pechie (7) has also shown tremendous improvement this season. I was so pleased with her 15.05 second PR in 200 Free and her .55 second PR with a legal 100 Breaststroke.  Caroline is going to be a very good swimmer for Seton as she advances towards high school.
  • Ryan Hall (JR) had a great swim in 100 Back, beating his previous PR by 4.33 seconds.
  • Katya Konstanty (JR) had a very fine swim in 50 Free, beating her lifetime best by .81 seconds.
  • Maddie Given (7) had a great swim in 50 Free where she lowered her PR by .33 seconds. Maddie also had an impressive swim in 100 Breaststroke where she swam 7.67 seconds faster than her previous PR.  She was technically DQ’d, but I definitely noticed her great swim.
  • Katie Dealey (FR) had a great day with two (2) PRs. In 100 Free, she dropped 1.21 seconds and in 100 Breaststroke she dropped 1.17 seconds.
  • Bernadette Hassan (SO) swam with her knee taped, but that didn’t prevent her from swimming a 2.47 second PR in 100 Free!
  • Sophia Zadnik (7) followed up her great performance at the CF Swim-a-thon with a 6.76 second PR in 100 Back on Saturday. I was very excited for Sophia.
  • Justin Fioramonti (FR) had an impressive day in the water. Before swimming a 1.03 second PR in 100 Fly, he had a tremendous first-ever swim in the 200 IM.
  • Shane Koehr (FR) was another swimmer who had the opportunity to spend a day with Kevin Koehr on his backstroke, and I could see that it broke him out of his slump. His 31.59 lead-off PR split in the “B” medley relay looked as good as I’ve seen from him.
  • Teresa Bingham (7) smiled her way to another big PR – this time a 2.18 second PR in 100 Back.
  • Kalli Dalrymple (JR) found her grove in the 100 Free leading off a 400 Free relay. Congratulations on that .37 second PR Kalli!
  • Peter Tozzi (FR) quietly continues to get faster. He’s now going 28.16 in 50 Free after his .35 second PR – that’s a pretty good time for a freshman.

Renaissance Montessori Swimmers Make Me Proud

Renaissance Montessori’s inaugural swimming season is going very well.  I can’t wait to see the team continue to improve and then grow in numbers in the coming years:

  • Ethiana Hasch (7) took her first shot at the 500 Free on Saturday and swam a very impressive 7:27.04, a very impressive time for a 7th grade girl. Ethiana also had an amazing 2.80 second PR in 50 Free after going 32.60.
  • Samantha Wong (SO) had the meet of her life on Saturday, competing in the 50 Free three times, including her swims in 2 relays. Sam even did flip turns!  It kills me that I don’t have a good time on Sam from the beginning of the season, but I would love to have an actual measure of how much she has improved.  It wouldn’t surprise me if she’s cut her 50 Free time in half.  I was very proud of you on Saturday Sam.

Final Qualifiers for National Catholics

Congratulations to Anna Kenna, Caroline Griffin, Dani Flook, Mairead Geiran and Reilly Cuccinelli for making our National Catholic Team!  The National Catholic High School Championship is January 21st and 22nd 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 for our meet at Central Park!   Hopefully, when I return to Baltimore on Saturday night, I’ll have a good reason to celebrate.

State Championship Meet Qualifiers

We have two championship meets where, in order to be eligible to participate, you have to meet a qualifying time standard during the current season.

The VISAA State Championship is February 17-18, 2017 at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.  I am a co-host for the meet along with Coach Greg Guldin of Woodberry Forest so I’m very excited for Seton to have a strong showing.  We’ve even rented a beautiful house for team gatherings and meals between sessions.  It should be a great time for everyone eligible to participate.

Here are the individual State Meet qualifiers after this weekend:

  • Anna Kenna – 50, 100 and 200 Free plus 100 Back, 200 IM, and 100 Fly
  • Caroline Griffin – 200 IM and 100 Back
  • Mairead Geiran – 50, 100, 200 and 500 Free, plus 200 IM and 100 Fly
  • Alex Ceol – 100 Fly
  • Lucas DuMez (WCDS) – Lucas has now qualified in all eight (8) individual events!

Here are the relays that have hit the cut:

  • Girls 200 Medley Relay – both “A” and “B”
  • Girls “A” 200 Free Relay – “A” only so far
    • 7 girls have been part of a cut
  • Girls 400 Free Relay – both “A” and “B”
  • Boys 200 Medley Relay – “A” only so far
    • 5 boys have been part of a cut
  • Boys 200 Free Relay – both “A” and “B”
    • We got our 8th qualifier this weekend!
  • Boys 400 Free Relay – both “A” and “B”
    • We got our 8th qualifier this weekend!

As I keep reiterating, I will not list names for these relays because it is impossible to tell who will actually swim.  You are eligible for me to enter you on a relay at States if you have swum on that relay during the season when it hit the cut, but that doesn’t mean I will be able to actual enter you to swim.

That’s an intentional loophole that we put into the rules to allow people to qualify, even if the relay line-up that we ultimately enter in the meet cannot quite hit the qualifying time.  We still have one boy’s “B” relay and one girls “B” relay to get qualified, but I need 8 kids to have swum on a relay that hit the cut in order to have enough swimmers to enter two relays.  That’s why you may continue to see some unusual relay line-ups over the next few weeks.

We go to States to try to bring home a State Championship or State Runner-up. If I feel like we have a legitimate shot at one of those titles, it would not be unusual for me to use some of our top swimmers in 3 relays and only one individual event because relays score so many points.  This will probably be the case for the Girls.  Time – and your times – will clarify this situation for all of us.

An eligibility report for States is posted under Meet & Team Information.  For States, remember that if you are listed under Event #101 or #102, that means that you have qualified for the Bonus 50 Free.  The Bonus 50 Free is an extra event in which you can participate only if you qualify in some other event, including a relay.

Planning for the Rest of the Season

  • The end of the season is fast approaching for probably half the team with our JV Invitational on January 28th at the Fitch WARF in Warrenton.
    • The JV Invitational has a two-fold purpose:
      • To allow all swimmers grades 6 through 9 to shine against kids their own age – regardless of their level of ability. So if you are freshman or below, please plan on coming to compete, even if you are also on the Varsity Team
      • To provide a great season-ending experience for members of our team who will not be swimming in the post-season.
    • Here’s the process will work:
      • 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 21st meet and the swimmers in that meet will be designated as “Varsity”.
      • Only the Varsity team needs to practice past January 26th.
    • There’s no other meet on the weekend of January 28th so many of our Varsity swimmers will have the weekend off.
      • But parent volunteers, we are the host of this annual state-wide invitational, so I hope you are open to helping out, even if you don’t have a kid in the meet. We really need you.
    • I’m starting to get a lot of e-mails from people who cannot make the JV Invitational because they are planning to attend the Students for Life Conference. I’m very pleased to see you all participate in those types of events, and I’m thankful to those of you have taken the time to let me know.  If you are going to that conference, please don’t wait until after I do the entries to let me know.
  • Our last regular season meet is next Saturday, January 21st at Central Park
    • Please plan to be on deck ready to stretch before 1:39 p.m.
    • Our warm-up starts at 2:00 p.m., the officials meeting is at 2:20 p.m., the timers meeting is at 2:40 p.m. and the National Anthem will be at 3:08 p.m.

I really hope I see more of you tomorrow morning at practice – we’re almost there,

Coach Jim Koehr

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