I certainly was a busy and eventful weekend for Seton Swimming. It was busy meets on both Friday and Saturday night. It was eventful with our top swimmers dominating Paul VI’s top swimmers, with 6 more DAC victories, with 4 new team records, with an unbelievable 82 Personal Records (PRs), with many swimmers trying new events for the first time and with a trip to the hospital.
Here were the final scores for the Friday meet versus Paul VI and the Saturday meet versus Fredericksburg Academy, Fredericksburg Christian and RMA.
SST 106 Paul VI 177
SST 215 RMA 30
SST 186 FCS 89
SST 153 FA 132
SST 116 Paul VI 169
SST 209 RMA 19
SST 191 FCS 89
SST 191 FA 91
The Friday night meet versus the 1,100 student Paul VI High School was the fastest meet of the year so far, and our top swimmers took control, winning 13 of the 22 events – the boys won 8 of the 11 events! The tone was set with event #1, when Kevin Koehr, Nevin Cook, Bryan Morch and Sean Koehr held off the powerful PVI medley relay and set a new team records of 1:43.20. Ironically, the PVI relay featured two swimmers that used to attend Seton and one that attempted to get into Seton, so I am quite confident that they really wanted to win. This was largely the same group that lost to us at States last year.
Our same 4 boys also broke the team record for the 200 Free relay (1:35.91) in a close loss to PVI. When Kevin Koehr hit the water for the anchor leg, he was a body length behind and almost caught them!
The three top PVI swimmers had a tough night individually as well. Nevin Cook set a new team record in the 200 IM (2:00.22) in a dominating swim against PVI’s top 200 IMer. Nevin had him after the first 50 fly and broke his spirit. When they got to Breaststroke, Nevin just put him away. Nevin also crushed PVIs top Breaststroker.
Kevin Koehr set a new team record for 100 Free (49.53) while beating two of the top freestylers in the state. With one PVI ace on each side of him, Kevin beat them to first wall and finally pulled away for a body-length victory in the end. Kevin repeated the performance by dominating PVIs top backstroker, a former Seton student.
Bryan Morch and Connor Cook completed the boys winning ways with big wins in 100 Fly and 500 Free respectively. The final boys score resulted from the fact that PVI, with it’s large student body, just had to many good swimmers. When we took first in an event, they would often take 2nd, 3rd and 4th – sometimes even 5th. The resulting points were more than we could overcome.
The top performances were not limited to our boys. Katie Planchak took first in both the 50 and 100 Free versus a seemly never-ending line of excellent PVI freestylers. In both races, she won on the turns. Jessica Dunn also won two events with dominating swims in the 200 IM and 100 Backstroke. I don’t think the PVI girls are going be much of a challenge to Katie and Jessie at States.
Once again, the final score reflected the depth of the PVI girls team. We were able to stay fairly close to the PVI girls because of additional scoring provided by several other girls.
– Melissa Dunn took 2nd in 100 Breaststroke and 5th in 100 Free.
– Laura Talbott took 2nd behind only Jessie in the 200 IM, and she took 3rd in 500 Free
– Mary-Kate Kenna took 3rd in 200 Free and 5th in 100 Breast
– Kimberley Melnyk took 3rd in 100 Fly
– Hailey Moya swam a PR to take 4th in 100 Free
– Danielle Smith claimed 4th in 100 Back
The story on Saturday was quite a bit different. Saturday was a day for our swimmers to take their last crack at qualifying the Catholic Nationals or to swim something they don’t usually swim. That plan almost cost us the boys meet versus FA when Jack Murphy e-mailed in sick at 3:47 a.m. (I got the e-mail at 5:00 a.m.) and Kevin & Sean Koehr had a brotherly crash during warm-ups. We decided that it would not be good for Kevin swim with blood gushing from his head so we opted to take him out of the meet and let his mother deliver him to the emergency room. Sean swam anyway, scoring in the 500 Free for the first time. Fortunately for us, our remaining boys stepped up and got the job done.
Our plan to generate new qualifiers for Catholic Nationals and States was successful. Congratulations to:
– Hailey Moya qualified for States in the 200 Free at the PVI Meet, and she qualified for Nationals in 100 Free on Saturday
– Laura Talbott became our 9th female qualifier for the 50 Free at Nationals
I was very proud of the swimmers that went outside of their comfort zone and swam difficult events, in most cases for the 1st time. The following swimmers completed their first timed 500 Freestyle races at Seton:
– Sean Koehr
– Jonah Higginbottom
– Michael O’Donohue
– John Ross
– Jonathan Rosato
– Ann Duran – Ann also swam the 200 IM for the 1st time so I’m sure she slept well Saturday night.
– Amanda Byers, Katie Racine and Alyssa Shaw also swam the 500 for the 1st time this year.
Every year, one of the highlights of the season for me is having someone who didn’t believe they could finish the 500 in a meet come up to me after the race and say something like, “That wasn’t so bad! Can I try that again – I think I can go faster next time”. It happened to me twice on Saturday. At some point in all of our lives, we need to learn that we are capable of so much more than we think we are. I hope some of you learn this through swimming. Now you know why I often seem completely unsympathetic when you approach me before a meet, fearful that you can’t do the 500 – I know you can.
I was also very proud of the kids that swam 200IM or 100 Fly for the 1st time. Greg Bliss, Geoff Ross, and 6th grader Sarah Zapiain gutted out the 200 IM. Pat Gott, Chris Fletcher, Daniel Koehr, Joe Ross, Patrick Kenna, Kelsey Kleb, Krista Shaw and Eileen Corkery stepped up to give the best efforts in 100 Fly.
I had a question on Saturday about the meaning of the term “PR”. For those of you new to the team, “PR” stands for “Personal Record”. It is our primary measure of excellence on the Seton Swim Team. We focus on this important concept as a lesson from my favorite bible passage, the Parable of the Talents. We have all been given a different levels of natural ability in swimming – like different numbers of talents. Whether you are competing on the national level or just learning to dive off of a starting block, you are all called to the same thing – develop your gifs to the maximum extent possible. We will not get a PR every time that we swim. That, of course, is just fine as long as you always giving your personal best effort.
Many of you may not fully appreciate this now, but your high school and college years will be the last time in your life where your primary mission is to improve yourself. You don’t yet have families or jobs or other responsibilities. By doing your homework, participating in class, and going to swimming practice, you are actually living your vocation. Live it with enthusiasm!
Believe it or not, there were 82 folks who were able to return a few talents to the Lord this past weekend!
– Jonah Higginbottom cut 6.34 seconds from his previous best 200 Free
– Hailey Moya had a good weekend. She cut over 1.5 seconds from her 200 Free and qualified for States. Then she lowered her 50 Free time to 27.85. To top it all off, she lowered in 100 Free time twice – on Friday night, she cut it by .74 seconds to 1:01.59. Then on Saturday, she qualified for Catholic Nationals with a new time of 1:01.23. That’s 4 PRs!
– Mary-Kate Kenna dropped her 200 Free time by a half second and shaved more time from her 50 and 100 Freestyle races.
– Bridget Wunderly cut 2.65 seconds from her 100 Free, over 3 seconds from her 200 Free, and almost 8 seconds from her 500 Free – not a bad weekend.
– Alex Cummings continues to improve, lowering her 200 Free time by nearly 1 second and her 100 Free by 1.34 seconds.
– Daniel Koehr had a big weekend. He dropped a half second in 200 IM, nearly 12 seconds in the 500, and over 4 seconds in 100 Breaststroke. He also cut .6 seconds from his 50 backstroke while leading off a boys medley relay. That’s 4 PRs in one weekend!
– Patrick Kenna stepped up to the 200 IM for the 2nd time and dropped nearly 4 seconds
– Laura Talbott cut 1.32 seconds from her 200 IM and nearly 4 seconds in her 500.
– Danielle Smith lowered her 200 IM time by 1.36 seconds and her 100 Back time by 12.93 seconds on Friday! She is now one of the fastest backstrokers on the team. On Saturday, she continued to show dramatic improvement by dropping 20.74 seconds in 100 Fly and 4.20 seconds in 100 Breast
– Krista Shaw cut nearly 7 seconds from her 200 IM. She repeated the feat by lowering her 200 IM again the next day.
– Senior rookie Tony Minarik continues to lower his 50 Free time. He dropped 1.43 seconds, down to 28.50. He also cut over 2 seconds from his 100 Free
– Christian Vestermark had a PR nearly every time he touched the water. In 50 Free, he cut 2.84 seconds, in 100 Free, he dropped 2.06 seconds, and in 200 Free, he dropped 15.86 seconds. He is starting to use that long body to his benefit.
– Michael O’Donohue dropped a half second from his 50 Free and more than 3 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
– Ann Duran keeps getting better. This time she cut another .91 seconds from her 50 Free
– Greg Bliss showed more potential in 100 Fly, lowering his previous best again. The next day, he cut over 6 seconds from his 100 Free. He had really improved quite a bit this season.
– Mr. Fletcher (Chris) had a great weekend. He cut 1.66 seconds from his 100 Free, 1.15 seconds from his 100 Fly, and 9.46 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke – must be those new 6-pack abs!
– Joe Ross dropped nearly a second in 100 Free and nearly 17 seconds in 100 Breaststroke! I’ve been telling Joe that swimming is mental – you have to concentrate on technique to get fast. It looks like he did.
– Melissa Dunn dropped her already good 100 Free time. She also cut 4.39 seconds from her 100 Fly.
– Jonathan Rosato made a great effort and improved 7.81 seconds in 100 backstroke
– Dan Quinan continued his steady improvement with a lower time in 100 Breaststroke and 100 Backstroke
– Sam Quinan lowered his 100 Breaststroke time by almost 4 seconds and his 100 Backstroke by almost 7 seconds!
– Amanda Byers improved in 100 Breaststroke again. She also cut nearly 40 seconds from her 500 Free time! You don’t see that very often.
– Laura Talbott cut her 50 Free time by over a half second to qualify for Nationals. She also cut .43 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke.
– David Basinger cut 1.74 seconds off of his best 50 backstroke split when he was pushed into service leading off the boys A medley relay
– Nevin Cook is dramatically faster than he was last year, and he was very fast last year. This time, he cut over 3 seconds from his 200 Free.
– Billy Corkery overcame his European vacation to improve his 50 Free time by .83 seconds. I’ve heard of carbo-loading, but can you mozzarella-load?
– Katie Corkery must have joined in the mozzarella – she cut 14 seconds from her previous best 200 IM
– Liz Dobak got into the act by dropping 5.54 seconds from her previous best 100 Back
– Jessica Dunn’s backstroke medley relay lead-off leg was .34 seconds faster than it has ever been. I’d like to see her break 30 seconds by States.
– Gina Garzione got a taste of success when she lowered her 500 Free time by almost 10 seconds. She wants to swim it again because she realizes that she can go even faster!
– Pat Gott dropped .33 seconds in 100 Free
– David Harris is part of the future of our boys team – he can swim almost anything. This time, he showed that he can continue to improve in the 500 Free.
– Angela Hassan joined in the 100 Breast and swam it more than 10 seconds faster than ever before
– Alex Hetrick dropped her backstroke time by 1.75 seconds
– Whitney Hood lowered her best 100 Free time by over 9 seconds in the lead-off leg of the 400 Free relay. Lead-off legs count as official times.
– Kimberley Melnyk improved her National qualifying 50 Free time by .35 seconds and her 50 back medley lead-off split by .52 seconds
– John Ross dropped 3.03 seconds in 50 Free
– I don’t know what Alyssa Shaw had for breakfast, but she cut her 500 Free time by just under 30 seconds!
– Daniel Wheeler has been plugging it out at practice and say some rewards this weekend. He dropped his 50 Free time by.56 seconds. I can’t wait for his backstroke next meet.
– As previously mentioned, Nevin Cook broke his team record in 200 IM and Kevin Koehr broke his team record in 100 Free.
And finally, I’d like to highlight some courageous or otherwise outstanding performances I witnessed this past weekend:
– Swimming is not normally thought of as a sport where you have to “play hurt”, but we had a few swimmers gut out some good performances
– Guppy Higginbottom was hurting a bit from wrestling practice. He really didn’t want to swim the 200 IM, but he got in and got it done.
– Meghan Morch had a sore shoulder but jumped into one of the girls medley relays and held off the Fredericksburg A relay for 2nd place
– Caitlin Harris was pretty sick on Friday night, but delivered in the 500 Free anyway. Then the next day, she was scheduled to swim the 100
Free, but offered to take Hailey Moya’s slot in the 500 (again!) so that Hailey could cut those last few 1/10ths of a second to get the
National time in 100 Free, which she did. It was a great act of selfless leadership from one of our captains.
– We already mentioned the accident during Saturday warm-ups, but that didn’t stop Sean Koehr from jumping into his 1st ever timed
– After Kevin Koehr got hurt, David Basinger stepped up and swam the lead-off leg for our boys “A” Medley relay. It was a great opportunity for him to swim with the big boys – they took first. David also beat all of the much older FA swimmers in the 200 IM, coming back to take the lead on the breaststroke leg. It was very exciting.
– Jessica Dunn had her rematch with the Jones sisters and prevailed again, beating one of them in the 100 Free and crushing last years DAC MVP in the 100 back. The outcome was preordained after Jessie whipped the FCS star soundly in the lead-off leg of the medley relay.
– I have never seen Geoff Ross’s Butterfly look so good.
– If you ever want to see the look of determination on someone’s face, watch Katie Racine swim 200 IM.
– Connor Cook’s 500 Free was fabulous on Friday night. I was standing next to Mr. Seltman, a nationally experienced swimming official, who was watching Connor with me. After swimming from behind for the first half of the race, Connor turned on the jets at length #11 and started to pull away. It was a great tactical race – the PVI swimmers just couldn’t keep up. David Basinger pulled a similar feat on length #15 on Saturday.
– Ann Duran had a great effort in the 500 Free, almost pulling out first in her heat on the last lap.
– Sam Quinan’s backstroke was looking very good. He had excellent hip roll and his hands popped out nicely for a quick recovery on each stroke. He’s obviously a quick study, not just in the classroom.
– Chris Fletcher had really been paying attention in practice. His breaststroke looked so wonderful, his own mother didn’t recognize him.
– Hailey Moya’s stroke continues to improve, and that is why her times are improving. 200 Freestyle might become her best event next year.
– Danielle Smith had a very close race in the 1st heat of the 200 IM. She finally beat the PVI swimmer in the lane next to her by .02 seconds in a thriller. I think we have also discovered that Danielle is quite a good backstroker.
– Sean Koehr figured out that you swim 50 Free faster if you don’t breath out of the turn. Sean has a lot of friends on our team who would be helped by learning this also.
– Pat Gott really gutted out the 100 Fly on Friday night. Some people were really impressed. I recall that Mrs. Morch was amazed that Pat never complained about being put in the event – “I just do what I can” is all he said. Mr. Mooney, in referring to Pat’s race, told me afterward to “never underestimate the value of that to our team”.
– Daniel Koehr’s freestyle is looking very good. He dropped half an hour in the 500! I’d say that stroke efficiency is a big part of the reason – practicing in a lane with Kimberley Melnyk probably played a big part in his performance also!
– Just before the girls 200 Free relay against PVI, I grabbed Jessica Dunn and said, “Jessie, go tell those other girls that it would make me very, very happy to win this race”. PVI had 4 powerful swimmers in their line-up so when Jessie got in the water for the 3rd leg, she was behind. By the time Katie got in for the anchor leg, they were even, but that didn’t last long as Katie ate up their anchor. After the race, Jessie came up to me and softly said, “I told them Mr. Koehr” – Yes you did Jessie.
– Kristin Rafter’s breaststroke is really improving. Coach Sam was pointing out how excellent her stroke had become as we watched her swim Friday night.
– Kimberley Melnyk had quite an anchor leg for our girls 400 Free relay Friday. I wish I had a time, because I know it was very good.
– Greg Bliss is really improving as an all-around swimmer this season. He is going to score alot of points for us in the years to come.
After such a great weekend of swimming, I’m sure we are all ready for a break. We have no meet during mid-terms. However, we have two meets the weekend after mid-terms. On Friday, January 20th, both the boys and girls have a meet at Woodberry Forest. The boys will swim against Woodberry and the girls will swim against St. Margaret’s. Because Woodberry is the host, I do not have the flexibility to add exhibition entries, so we will only be bringing scoring swimmers. On Saturday the 21st, we will have our last DAC conference meet against Highland, ECS and Quantico – everyone will swim in this meet since we are the host. I will send out more info on both meets later.
Great job this past weekend – see you at practice!