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.

After a five (5) straight years of victories by the Bishop Ireton girls team, this year the Bishop O’Connell Girls took home the traveling trophy – the Holy Grail.  And after two (2) consecutive years for the Paul VI Boys, the Bishop O’Connell Boys claimed the other Holy Grail as well.  Congratulations to Bishop O’Connell, and especially to their Coach, Joe Smolinske, who does a really fine job with those kids.

Four 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 six (6) out of 24!

Congratulations to our Swimmers of the Meet: Paige Hall of Bishop O’Connell and Paul Kinsella of Bishop O’Connell.  Paige, a freshman, took the gold medal four (4) times with top finishes in the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Free Relay, 50 Free and 100 Free and set two (2) new meet records in both of her individual sprints.  And Paul won three (3) gold medals and a silver medal including wins in the 200 IM and 100 Breaststroke.  This was Paul second year in a row winning the award.

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.  Mrs. Teiro Cuccinelli has taken over responsibility for the timers this year, and she did an outstanding job herding the cats from all of the other schools – and dealing with the schools who failed to bring the volunteers they were supposed to.  Thank you so much Mrs. Cuccinelli!

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 able to beat one of the large Diocesan schools – Bishop Ireton.   If you look at the scores, our boys were just 15 points behind John Paul the Great and our girls were just 9.5 points behind them.  In a meet where we were scoring 12 places, that means that in both cases, just a couple 8th or 9th place finishes could have made the difference.

Here is the way the final scores looked:


Bishop O’Connell                   403.5

Paul VI                                  312.5

Saint John Paul the Great     216  

Seton Swimming                  201

Bishop Ireton                        145

Benedictine College Prep          31

St. Michael the Archangel          8


Bishop O’Connell                  404

Paul VI                                  357

Bishop Ireton                         204.5

Saint John Paul the Great     174.5      

Seton Swimming                  165

St. Gertrude’s                           55

Oakcrest                                  27

Renaissance Montessori             2

Coach Lowell and I were talking about how, if this had been the 9th or 10th annual NoVa Catholics rather than the 8th 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 12 Individual Finishers

We have a hard-working team without a core group of long-time USA Swimmers like the big Diocesan schools, but that didn’t stop us from getting a number of top 12 finishes that scored at this very fast meet.  It’s very cool to see the number of young swimmers who were significant scorers.  The future looks to be in pretty good hands:


  • Anna Kenna (SR) was out top scorer on Saturday with two individual 2nd place finishes in the 50 Free and 100 Free and 26 total individual points. In both races, she swam against the eventual Swimmer of the Meet and in 100 Free, her time actually broke the meet record.  (In 50 Free, her time was only .01 seconds behind the meet record.  Both times were excellent for this point in Anna’s training cycle, especially considering that she swam an 8,000 yard practice earlier that same morning.   When you consider, Anna’s .52 second PR 100 Free time of 53.30 was really quite amazing.  Had Anna’s Coach done a better job with the entries, she would have won 200 Free, 200 IM, or 100 Back by 8 or 10 seconds.  It is also worth noting that Anna’s 50 Fly split in the 200 Medley Relay (26.14) was by far the fastest split in the meet, and only one girl in the meet swam a faster 50 Free Relay split.  We know that Anna will be swimming a lot of backstroke in the post season, but we’re still trying to figure out whether her second event will be 100 Free or 50 Free.  At National Catholics next week, she’s going to take a shot at 50 Free.  Her very fast start should help give her a great shot.
  • Mary Heim (JR) is having a big impact on our team after a year hiatus. On Saturday, she scored 13 points with a 5th place in 100 Breaststroke and a 10th place in 200 Free.  She swam PRs in both events, cutting .84 seconds in 100 Breast and 3.34 seconds in 200 Free.
  • Katharine Rowzie (SO) was awesome in the 500 Free, lowering her PR by another 2.79 seconds to score 9 points in 6th place. Katherine also had a huge 8.07 second PR in 200 IM, where she continues to make the most of her opportunities in these difficult events.
  • Caroline Griffin (FR) tried 200 Free for the first time since last season, and after watching her in practice, I was anxious to see what she could do. Her 1.22 second PR swim was good enough for 9th place.  Caroline took a crack at 100 Breaststroke and took 10th place.  Between those events, she scored a total of 7 points.  Heading into the post-season, I really wanted to see what she could do in these unique events for her – she’s swimming so well in practice, that you never know.  Had I left her in her normal 100 Back and 200 IM, she would have finished in the top 3 twice.
  • Anne Konstanty (SO) has gotten so competitive in 500 Free that she was able to score 7 points for 7th place in the event. She also had a great swim in her first attempt at 100 Fly.
  • Mary Pennefather (8) in her first year on the Seton Swim Team has really made an impact. Besides anchoring our medley relay, she was also able to take 9th place for 4 points in 50 Free.
  • Ashley Cackett (SR) had a nice swim in 100 Fly. Her .14 second PR took 10th place and scored 3 points.  Ashley also had a nice swim in 200 IM.
  • Julia Rowzie (SR) took 10th place in 50 Free for 3 points. She also cut .54 seconds from her PR in 100 Free lowering her time below 1:04 for the first time.
  • Emily Flynn (8) took 12th place twice, once in 200 IM and once in 100 Back. That scored 2 points for Seton.
  • Isabelle Luevano (8) took 12th place in 100 Free to score 1 point. She also dropped 1.43 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Lucy Garvey (8) scored all of Renaissance Montessori’s points with her 11th place in 100 Breast. She cut 1.59 seconds from her PR in the event.  She also cut a big 1.40 seconds in 50 Free to break :30 for the first time.


  • Jerry Dalrymple (FR) earned Seton’s highest individual point tally on the boy’s side with 15 total individual points. Jerry has figured out that he can score a whole lot of points in the 200 and 500 Free, and a lot of points is just what he scored.  In the 200 Free, he took 8th place and in the 500 Free, he took 5th place.
  • Jack Santschi (FR) was the 2nd highest scoring swimmer on the Seton boys team placing 7th twice in 200 IM and 100 FR. His 200 IM was a 2.12 second PR.  Jack also had a tremendous 56.32 100 Free leading off our 400 Free Relay – a .28 second PR.  That time gives Jack the 2nd fastest 100 Free split on the team this season, even without the advantage of a relay start!
  • Jacob Alsup (SO) has also figured out that the easiest path to scoring a lot of points for the team are the most difficult events. On Saturday, Jacob tried 200 IM and 100 Fly for the very first time, placing 5th and 10th respectively to score 13 points   His times were very strong for a first year swimmer.  In 100 Fly, he went 1:06.87 and in the 200 IM, he went 2:28.21.  Jacob is now among the fastest swimmers on the team in those two events.  Jacob’s 100 Free also jumped him up the list of fastest Seton boys.  He cut .78 seconds leading off a 400 “B” Free Relay to go 57.77.  That time moves Jacob up the “A” Relay for next week!
  • David Flook (SO) also scored 13 individual points with a 6th place in 100 Breaststroke and a 9th place in 100 Fly. David swam big PRs in both events cutting 2.74 seconds in 100 Breaststroke and 1.02 seconds in 100 Fly.
  • Alex Ceol (SR) scored 10 points with a 5th place in his signature event, 100 Fly. Alex also tried 100 Breaststroke for the first time in a while and cut his PR by 1.20 seconds.
  • Drew Dalrymple (FR) had a good afternoon scoring 6 individual points with two 10th place finishes in 100 and 200 Free.
  • Seamus Koehr (SR) scored 5 points with a 9th place in finish in 100 Breaststroke and a 12th place finish in 200 Free. It’s been awhile since Seamus has tried 200 Free so it was fun to watch him cut 5.15 seconds from his PR.
  • Justin Fioramonti (SO) has developed a pretty competitive time in the 500 Free. On Saturday, he dropped 5.51 seconds to take 7th place and score 7 points.  Just also dropped another .18 seconds from his 50 Free.
  • Shane Koehr (SO) is starting to come into his own as the season progresses. On Saturday, he had three (3) big Personal Records.  He took 9th place in 200 IM after cutting another 1.54 seconds from his PR to score 4 points.  In 50 Back leading off the “B” Medley Relay, he cut another .52 seconds to go 30.16.  As it stands now, that time is only .04 seconds away from earning the backstroke spot on the “A” Medley Relay.  He also took 20th place in 100 Breast after cutting 5.16 seconds from his PR – Shane’s finish was great.
  • Matthew Kelly (JR) took 9th place in the 500 Free scoring 4 points. Matthew is very good at swimming “long and strong” so I really think Matthew could get very good at this event.
  • Liam Kellogg (FR) has recovered from his ankle injury and is back to swimming very well. I was so pleased to see Liam cut 18.83 seconds in 100 Fly in his first attempt at the event this season.  In the 500 Free, Liam took 10th place to score 3 points with a strong swim that was very close to his PR.  Those were both great swims, but his most impressive swim of the day was in the 50 Free leading off a relay where Liam cut an unbelievable 2.16 seconds!
  • Felix Seoh (SR) is in his first year on the team, but he is certainly having an impact. On Saturday, Felix took 11th place in 100 Free and 12th in 50 Free to score 3 points.  Felix’s 50 Free was particularly good – he dropped 1.35 seconds from his PR to go 25.21.  With some time at practice and a willingness to listen, I don’t think there’s any reason he shouldn’t be going 24-low by States.
  • Kevin Geiran (SR) took 12th place in 100 Fly to score 1 point.

Efficient versus Effective

When we are teaching you freestyle stroke technique, we are teaching you the most efficient way to swim.  For almost all of you, this is the fastest way to swim for more than 15 or 20 yards – but it is not the fastest way to swim.

For very short distances, the fastest way to swim freestyle is not to “catch-up” and find the “skate position” with each stroke to maximize the distance you get from each pull.  The fastest way to swim is actually with your arms opposite one another so that you have more consistent pressure on the water through the stroke cycle.

The problem with this technique, which is much more effective, is that it very tiring.  That is why is something that you switch to for the last 10 or 15 yards of every freestyle race.

Many of you skipped practice on Thursday when we learned this important concept, and some of you at practice still need to work on it, but one of you got it on the first try – Simon Seoh.

I wish I had a video of Simon’s 100 Freestyle.  After 85 yards, he was finishing his race behind a PVI swimmer who was seeded well ahead of him.  Suddenly, I watched Simon switch to a straight arm freestyle with opposing arms, and the result was amazing.  He blew past the PVI swimmer in the last 10 yards and out-touched him by .03 seconds – and he swam a 3.99 second PR!

I also watched Justin Fioramonti do the same thing at the end of his PR 50 Free.

It is amazing what you can learn if you come to practice – even during mid-terms – and are willing to listen.

First Time Swims

I always enjoy watching a swimmer try an event for the first time.   The following swimmers tried an event for the first time this past weekend:

  • Moira Haggerty (7) – 50 Fly in a relay
  • Katie Albin (SO) – 100 Fly
  • David Catabui (SR) – 500 Free
  • Annie Cuccinelli (SO) – 500 Free
  • Theresa Dwane (SO) – 500 Free
  • Ellie Flook (FR) – 200 IM
  • Patrick Hartung (7) – 100 Breaststroke
  • Tim Kelly (FR) – 500 Free
  • Ceili Koehr (8) – 200 Free
  • Nathan Luevano (7) – 200 IM
  • Mack Myers (8) – 500 Free

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 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 51 PRs on Saturday – that’s almost one PR per swimmer. As you read through these highlights from PRs not yet mentioned, I hope you notice how much our younger swimmers are improving:

  • Simon Seoh (8) didn’t just have that big PR in 100 Free. He also cut a whopping 21.83 seconds in 200 Free!
  • Ben Dealey (SR) is having a breakout season after a long hiatus from swimming. I was so pleased to see his 16.79 second PR in 200 Free.  The end result was a pretty competitive time.  Ben also dropped .89 seconds in 100 Back.
  • Teresa Bingham (8) is also in the midst of a breakout season. How about a 15.55 second PR in 200 Free?  She also dropped .11 seconds in 100 Free.  Teresa is going to be a good one for Seton in the future – that seems quite clear now.
  • Collette Waldron (JR) has been working so hard with Coach Santschi on her underwater freestyle pull – high elbow early, pull down with your elbow over your hand, finish your pull at your thigh. Well it worked.  Collette has swum 50 Free 16 times at Seton, and somehow she dropped 1.43 seconds THIS time.  Nice work Collette!
  • Gemma Flook (7) was a very happy girl after her 5.20 second PR in 100 Free. That’s a big drop Gemma!
  • Samantha Wong (JR), from our sister school Renaissance Montessori, had a great swim in 100 Back when she cut 12.52 seconds!
  • Dominic Hartung (SO) has been doing really well this season! I was pumped to see him cut 3.48 seconds from his 100 Free PR and 2.93 seconds from his 50 Free PR.  I think Dominic could break :30 seconds in 50 Free before the end of the season.
  • Tim Kelly (FR) had a big PR in 200 IM, cutting 2.20 seconds from his previous best time. He also had a great swim in the 500 Free, which he tried for the first time ever.
  • Jeremy Kleb (SO) rocked his 100 Free, swimming it 1.88 seconds faster than ever before.
  • Katie Albin (SO) cut a huge 1.18 seconds from her 50 FR PR leading off a 200 Free Relay.
  • Maggie Kleb (8) showed tremendous improvement in 100 Breaststroke when she cut 7.74 seconds from her PR.
  • Joseph Rowzie (8) did a great job with 100 Back, swimming it 3.01 seconds faster than ever before.
  • Ceili Koehr (8) made her mother very happy. Her .97 second PR in the 500 Free not only proved that she could finish the event, it also meant that she lost our $500 bet.  She challenged me with the bet that she couldn’t finish.  Where do you want to go Colleen?
  • Ellie Moore (7) made me very proud with her swim in 100 Back. In only her 2nd try at the event, she cut 40.85 seconds!  Ellie also dropped 3.94 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Caroline Pechie (8) showed her versatility, swimming both the 200 and the 50 Free. She cut time in both events, lowering her PR 200 Free by 1.43 seconds and in 50 Free by .06 seconds.
  • Brian Geiran’s (7) Breaststroke looked great – and it showed in his time. How about a 2.19 second PR?
  • Moira Haggerty (7) has improved so much this season! On Saturday, she dropped another 2.51 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Virginia Hartung (FR) was wearing that beautiful smile after her 1.32 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Ruthie Hartung (SR) had a great swim in 50 Free, lowering her PR by another .86 seconds.
  • Sophia Zadnik (8) swam 100 Free .29 seconds faster than ever before.
  • Joey Dealey (7) cut another .06 seconds from his 50 Free PR

State and National Catholic 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 16-17, 2018 at the Jeff Rouse Swim and Sports Center in Stafford, VA.  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 so far this season:

  • Anna Kenna – 100 Fly, 200 IM, 50, 100, 200 and 500 Free
  • Caroline Griffin – 200 IM and 100 Back
  • Alex Ceol – 100 Fly

The relays are much more complicated.  Each team is allowed to enter a qualifying scoring “A” Relay and an exhibition “B” Relay.  In order for a relay to qualify, the swimmers on the relay must have swum that relay during the season when it hit the qualifying time.  That means that it is theoretically possible to qualify a relay that has never actually swum together.

Who swims on which State relay is going to be very competitive this season.   I will determine who swims based on the fastest splits swum this season.  I have a very detailed analysis posted under Meet & Team Information/VISAA State Champs – 2018.  It shows everyone’s splits so far this season and projects the fastest relays possible for a team based on those splits.

Given the poor level of practice attendance by some of our top Boys, I will reserve the right to weigh recent splits more heavily or deviate from a strict application of the best times if I believe a swimmer that has been to practice has a better chance of performing well in the State meet.

Another set of complications are that a swimmer can swim all three (3) relays and a swimmer who swims two individual events, can only swim two relays.  For the first one, if lining up the fastest possible set of “A” Relays means someone swims all three (3) relays, that is what I’m going to do.  The second one, will probably only apply to Anna Kenna who will certainly swim two individual events.  Which two relays Anna swims will be a strategic decision as I try to maximize our chance to win the State Runner-up trophy over Trinity Christian School, and that will impact all of the rest of the girls relay line-ups.

Here are the Boys relays that have hit the cut:

  • Boys “A” 200 Medley Relay
  • Boys “A” 200 Free Relay
  • Boys “A” 400 Free Relay
  • Boys “B” 400 Free Relay

My analysis shows that our Boys “B” 200 Medley Relay and “B” 200 Free Relay should be able to qualify if they swim well this coming weekend.  So for this coming week (January 20th), I’ve lined up the relays based on my current State Champs projection.  Let’s get all of our boys qualified this weekend please?

For the Girls, all six (6) possible relays have hit the cut.  The only questions that remain are which two relays have Anna Kenna and who has the fastest splits for the available slots:

  • Girls “A” 200 Medley Relay
  • Girls “B” 200 Medley Relay
  • Girls “A” 200 Free Relay
  • Girls “B” 200 Free Relay
  • Girls “A” 400 Free Relay
  • Girls “B” 400 Free Relay

Logistically, this could get tricky.  I have a house for team gatherings plus a block of 18 hotel rooms at the Staybridge Suites in Stafford, VA.  Anyone who wants a room at the Staybridge Suites will need to claim and pay for a room by January 29th.  The challenge will be that our relays could change based on relay splits all the way through DAC Champs on February 10th.  Of course, Stafford is not that far away from those of you who live in Manassas or to the Southeast of Manassas.

All I can do it to be a transparent as possible about where everyone stands, so that is what I plan to do.  What you can do is swim your best and earn a spot on the State team that lasts.

The National Catholic High School Championship is at Loyola University in Baltimore on January 20th-21st with prelims in the morning on January 20th and finals on Sunday, January 21st.  I have published our entries under Meet & Team Information.

Congratulations to the following swimmers who made Seton’s National Catholic Team:

  • Anna Kenna
  • Caroline Griffin
  • Mary Pennefather
  • Julia Rowzie
  • Mary Heim
  • Katharine Rowzie
  • Isabelle Luevano
  • Emily Flynn

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 20th at Central Park
    • Please plan to be on deck ready to stretch before 12:39 p.m.
    • Our warm-up starts at 1:00 p.m., the officials meeting is at 1:20 p.m., the timers meeting is at 1:40 p.m. and the National Anthem will be at 2:08 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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