156 Personal Records in a single meet!  We’ve never seen anything like that in the long history of Seton Swimming.  The key to our success over these so many years is as simple as this – if everyone learns to swim PRs, the winning takes care of itself.  What a great way to start our 28th season as a team and my 21st season as a coach.

On Saturday, we held our annual home opener – the Seton Icebreaker Invitational.  It was relaxed and intimate, giving our large number of new swimmers a chance to break into the regular season by participating in their first competitive meet at Seton against other teams – and for many young swimmers, it was their first competitive meet ever.  I know there were lots of nervous young swimmers, but all of them overcame their fear and showed how much they have already improved after only four (4) weeks of practice.

It was also very exciting to see so many of our top swimmers hit early season times that are harbingers of great times to come later in February.  Some of those “top” swimmers are kids that I would not have necessary thought of that way prior to the meet, but after several breakout performances that I’ll talk about below, I left the Freedom Center with a new optimism about the future of the team.

The first meet is always a challenge for us as an organization given the complexity involved in running our meets these days.  The amount of technology has evolved so much, particularly in the last year or so as we’ve added a very sophisticated live-stream capability and upgraded our timing equipment with electronic stopwatches as a tertiary backup.

The wizards of the livestream and the dry-deck, Paul Fifield and Bill Dealey, fought through their challenges much more calmly than me as I struggled with some new components to our sound system.  It was all part of the continuous improvement cycle we experience every season putting on weekly events of this scale.

The Icebreaker Invitational was the beginning of the unique cadence we have for a Seton season for the swimmers and coaches too.  In December, we concentrate very heavily on stroke technique and getting as many kids as possible to swim as many different events as possible.  We are four (4) stroke swimmers at Seton, particularly in December.  This past week, we concentrated on freestyle.  The next two weeks will feature backstroke and then breaststroke/butterfly.

Then, over Christmas and in January, we will hit the conditioning much harder until we rest down for the championship meets in February.  From what I saw on Saturday, I think the championship season is likely to treat Seton very well this year.

Although we lined up our entries with an emphasis on personal swimmer development rather than team scoring, the team scores still turned out quite favorably for us.  We faced two other VCAC teams, including our friendly rival Trinity Christian, and we won both the boys and girls.  In the past, it’s been the Trinity girls who have given us the most challenge, but it is now clear after Saturday that we are not going to be able to take their boys lightly either.

Here’s how the scores turned out:


Seton Swimming                     178              Trinity Christian                      113

Seton Swimming                       208              Brookewood School                  60

Seton Swimming                       217              Fredericksburg Christian         50

Seton Swimming                       224              Carmel School                            26


Seton Swimming                     159              Trinity Christian                       146

Seton Swimming                       225              Fredericksburg Christian          39

Seton Swimming                       232              Carmel School                             31

Welcome to the Virginia Christian Athletic Conference (VCAC)

Our meet on Saturday was also a very important milestone in the history of Seton Athletics – it was the very first swim meet in the new Virginia Christian Athletic Conference (VCAC).

We formed the VCAC last year after our former Delaney Athletic Conference, a conference that Mr. Westhoff and Seton co-founded in the early 1990s, dissolved over a significant difference of opinion on how to ensure that the spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical well-being of our kids took precedence over all else.

In the end, it was the best thing that could have happened to us, because it allowed us to cofound a new conference based on our Christian principles with two other schools who are both like-minded and competitively compatible – Trinity Christian School and Fredericksburg Christian School.

Shortly thereafter, we added Saint John Paul the Great for all sports other than football and basketball.  We hope to add two more schools in northern Virginia in the next year or so to create a six (6) team conference of schools with shared values that do not need to recruit or financially incentivize student athletes in their efforts to teach the great lessons of sport.

One manifestation of the VCAC’s renewed focus on the ultimate spiritual purpose of high school athletics was a wonderful opening prayer given by Ella Moon, a senior at Trinity Christian School.  I hope you all were listening because it was really good.  She reminded us that we were competing for the glory of God, but the thing that stuck out most for me was her emphasis on the first point of our GEMS, Gratitude.  If you missed it, relisten to it on the recording of the livestream from the meet at Videos – Seton Swimming.  (The prayer starts at about the 9:45 mark).

We are so blessed with this new conference in general and at Seton Swimming in particular.  What other high school team in the entire State of Virginia (or the country for that matter) has 16 volunteer coaches, 11 volunteer trained officials, and the technology capability of the Seton Swim Team? Heck, what other team in the State of Virginia has the huge outpouring of volunteerism required to host ten (10) swim meets at the scale on which Seton does them, particularly during a time when so many other schools are denying their kids the opportunity to compete at all?

Thank you, Ella, for reminding us that a key source of our happiness as Christians is Gratitude.

Breakout Performances on Saturday

Every year, it is so much fun for me as a coach to watch kids seemingly come out of nowhere during the early part of the season to emerge as potential scoring leaders for the team, either now or in the future.  Usually it is just one (1) or two (2) kids, but on Saturday, we had number of swimmers jump out at me and the other coaches:

  • Ariana Aldeguer (7) showed the entire VCAC conference what to look forward to once she can start scoring next year. Had she been allowed to score, she would have won 100 Fly by almost 4 seconds!  In 50 Free leading off a relay, she’s down to 27.45 (a .68 second PR) which is the 4th fastest 50 PR on the team behind Mary Pennefather and two seniors.  And her 1:04.67 in 100 Backstroke, a .43 second PR, would have also taken 1st place in the event had she been allowed to score.  To put all of that in some perspective, if Ariana were old enough to swim at States, she would have already qualified in four (4) of the eight (8) individual events (including her 59.70 100 Freestyle at Time Trials).  Watch out for this little girl next season!
  • Elodie Brox (FR) got picked out of the pack during warm-up by Coach Palazzo and Mulhern – “Who is that?”, they asked. Elodie has clearly been doing some fine work with Coach DD Ross, and it showed her 5.42 second PR in 100 Free (6th place) and her .32 second PR in 50 Free (4th place).  I think Elodie has a fine future on our scoring relays, particularly after our massive group of senior girls graduate after this season.
  • Michael Brox (FR) stunned all of us coaches with his swim in the 200 Free. After dropping 18.25 seconds, he actually won the event outright.  I particularly enjoyed seeing him finally figure out how to use great length to maximum advantage.  Michael also dropped 7.06 seconds in 100 Fly to take 6th place and he cut .67 seconds from his 50 Free PR leading off a relay.
  • Joseph Borneman (FR) is completely new to the Seton team, and his level of improvement over only four (4) weeks has been astounding. Joseph cut 4.31 seconds in 50 Free to break :30 for the first time, and he also cut 5.96 seconds in 100 Free to break 1:10 for the first time.  His long, smooth strokes are going to be very conducive to a lot more speed as he develops enough confidence to add some tempo in the sprints and be more aggressive in the middle-distance races.  After his first meet at Seton, he’s jumped up to the 13th fastest sprinter on the team right now.
  • Josh Fioramonti (8) has already emerged as a strong scoring force for Seton in both swimming and diving. On Saturday, he was the top scoring diver for Seton, taking second behind a new Trinity Christian diver who looks to have State Champion potential.  Josh also had major drops in 50 Free (.77 seconds) and 100 Free 5.55 seconds.  Josh is already the 10th fastest sprinter on the team as only an 8th
  • David Hudson (SO) was already on my radar due to his position anchoring our “A” Medley relay, but boy did he make the most of that opportunity. When Coach Mulhern pulled out his relay split on Meet Mobile, we started asking if it was a mistake.  “24.65?”, we asked.  We knew the answer after his .68 second PR 25.46 in his flat-start 50 about a half-hour later.  That time got him 3rd place in a very competitive heat against top sprinters from Trinity and Fredericksburg Christian.  The State cut for 50 Free this year is 24.14 which I believe is possible for David.  David also cut a 3.10 in 100 Back to take 4th with a 1:08.27.
  • Seth Kellogg (FR) really surprised me, especially given the amount of practice he’s had to miss early in the season. He dropped 1.25 seconds in 50 Free after a technically superior race that took 8th place and jumped him up to the 9th fastest sprinter on the team.  His finish was textbook perfect.  He also dropped 2.79 seconds in 100 Breaststroke, and we haven’t even worked on that in practice yet.
  • Connor Koehr (FR) is obviously on my radar 😉 but that didn’t keep me from being surprised at his superior early-season time in 200 Free. He dropped 10.04 seconds to take 3rd place with a near perfect stroke.  If you get a chance to watch Connor swim in the video, watch how long he gets and how low he keeps in breathing.  He also dropped 9.22 seconds in the 500 Free, and I expect much bigger drops as his gets in better shape.  Connor was also very close to last year’s post-season form in an exhibition diving performance.
  • Maria Miller (8) is brand new to the team and still needs some development in her strokes, but I have been so impressed with her progress in practice and then again on Saturday. Her 2.59 second PR in 50 Free and her 3.47 second PR in 100 Free didn’t surprise me one bit.  And after watching her develop her Butterfly in practice, I was really looking forward to seeing her swim that at the Homecoming Meet.
  • Drew Nguyen (FR) is another new member of what looks like it will become a real powerhouse boy’s Class of ’25 over the next few years. He’s strong with some natural ability, particularly in breaststroke, so I’m very excited to continue to develop his stroke technique to see what kind of swimmer he can become.  After a 2:37.99 first-ever attempt at the 200 IM and a 4.79 second PR in 100 Breaststroke, I’m betting we’ll see him on the State Team one day.
  • Joseph Rowzie (SR) is back after a two-year hiatus, and he’s already positioned himself as a key contributor for Seton in the coming season. His 2.36 second PR in 50 Free and his 4.87 second PR in 100 Free was good enough to jump him up to 7th place and 5th place, respectively.  I’m so pleased to have Joseph back on the team.
  • William Sokban (FR) is on the team for the first time, and already made a big impact with his 2nd place finish in 200 Free. His 10.30 second PR was a reflection of his focus in practice, and I can see even more opportunity to improve as he refines his technique with Coach DD Ross.  William also cut .14 seconds in 100 Free, an event in which he will see much more improvement as he lengthens his stroke and expands his glide.
  • Rose Waldron (FR) was stunning on Saturday. When she touched in 50 Free at 30.92 seconds, all of the coaches were just looking at each other asking, “Did Rosie really just drop 1.94 seconds in the 50?”.  Yep, she did – and she dropped 13.52 seconds in 100 Free about an hour later too.  As if that wasn’t enough, she was the second highest scorer in Girls Diving behind her older sister Mary Clare.

Key Scorers In Seton’s Victories

We are lucky to have a whole stable of strong returning swimmers from last season who were key to our scoring and depth.  Fortunately, they all swam well, and a few had breakout performances of their own:

  • Clara Condon (FR) surprised no one with her superior performance on Saturday – we’ve just become accustomed to seeing her swim well.  In spite of those high expectations, she somehow managed to exceed them with a 3.69 second PR in 200 Free that took 1st place and a .77 second PR in 100 Back that took another 1st  Her early season times are very, very encouraging.  For instance, her relay split in 50 Fly was only .04 seconds off of her PR split last season, and this was the very first meet.
  • Angie Testani (FR) had a tremendous swim in the 200 IM, making up some significant ground on the Breaststroke leg to cruise to 1st place with an early-season time only .18 seconds off of her rested PR. She also had a great swim in 100 Fly where she took 2nd place with an early-season time that was only .29 seconds off of her PR.
  • Joe Wilson (JR) was a stud, crushing the field in 100 Free with a 54.57. That time was .76 seconds faster than his post-season best last year.  Joe also took 3rd with a great swim in 100 Back.  That .80 second PR came in an event that Joe doesn’t often swim, but I know it may help him as he develops his ability to swim the IM.
  • JJ Brox (JR) scored big with 1st and 2nd place finishes in 100 Breaststroke and 100 Free, respectively. After his 1.17 second PR in breaststroke, I’m really looking forward to working with him on stroke technique and turns late next week.
  • Mary Pennefather (JR) came to the meet straight from a basketball game, but that didn’t prevent her from taking 1st place in 50 Free with a good early season swim. Her underwater off of the start was the best I’ve seen from her.  She also took 6th place in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Isabelle Luevano (SR) had two good early season swims with her 2nd place in 50 Free and her 3rd place in 100 Back.
  • Lucy Garvey (SR) got us a lead over a top Trinity Christian swimmer in the Medley Relay, took 2nd place in 100 Free and took 4th place in the 200 Free.
  • Nathan Luevano (JR) had a big 3.19 second PR in 200 IM that jumped him up to 3rd place and a 1.90 second PR in 100 Fly that was good for 5th Once we add a big kick to his fly later this week, I’m expecting some even faster times.
  • Maggie Gibbons (SO) took 3rd in 100 Free and 6th in 200 Free with two good early season times. She also did a nice job stepping in for Mary Pennefather as the anchor of our 1st place Medley Relay.
  • Mary Clare Waldron (SR) took 3rd place in 100 Breaststroke with an early-season time that was within .18 seconds of her PR, and she took 6th place in 50 Free with a time only .07 seconds off of her PR. Mary Clare also looked to be back to her last year’s post-season form in her exhibition diving performance.
  • Emily Flynn (SR) took 3rd place in a good early-season swim in the 500 Free, and she cut .01 seconds from her 50 Back PR leading off a medley relay.

Epic Personal Records

We have already heard about some of the swimmers who had massive Personal Records (PRs) in their first meet of the season, but here are some swimmers who had PRs that were truly epic:

  • Emma Reynolds (JR) earned the distinction of having the largest single PR of the meet – by 39.73 seconds in 100 Free. It was really a beautiful swim.  Sorry I could not come up with this PR when I was summarizing the meet at the end of livestream Emma.  How could I not remember this one!
  • Daniel Hurley (8), what did you have for breakfast! Whatever it was, you should eat it again.  How else can we explain at 26.59 second PR in 100 Free!  I also liked that .59 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Christina Witter (8) came off her courageous swim in the Cystic Fibrosis Swim-a-thon last year, charging into this season with enough confidence to drop to 1:30.87 in 100 Free – that was a 22.91 second PR!
  • Gabe Hambleton (8) is already showing amazing levels of improvement. I was so pleased to see him cut a whopping 18.72 seconds in 100 Free and 2.16 seconds in 50 Free.  Those are really big drops!
  • Aidan McCardell (8) seems to have found his confidence in the water this year, and it showed on Saturday with a 17.17 second PR in 100 Free and a 2.14 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Nora Blanchette (8) has figured out how to streamline off the blocks, and that improved start contributed to two epic PRs. In 100 Free, Nora dropped an incredible 16.37 seconds and in 50 Free, she dropped an incredible 5.95 seconds.
  • Haley Fifield (FR) had a tremendous swim in the 500 Free with her 15.21 second PR. She actually asked me to swim in the event, and she rewarded me for listening to her with a great performance.  Haley also cut another .19 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Briana Shillingburg (FR) showed the confidence that I was hoping she would develop when she swam PRs in both 100 Free and 50 Free. She dropped 14.98 seconds and .33 seconds, respectively.
  • Bianca Barber (SR) is one of those few fearless kids who join the swim team for the first time as a senior. Her focus on practice and her natural feel for the water really paid off on Saturday with a 14.80 second PR in 50 Free and a 12.95 second PR in 100 Free – huge drops!
  • Cora Kramer (7) had two amazing PRs. In 50 Free she cut 12.26 seconds, and in 100 Free she cut 12.15 seconds.  That was her first time under 1:00 and 2:00 respectively, major milestones for Cora.
  • Raphaël Likoy (7) is competing on a swim team for the first time in his life, and it is great to see his work with Coach Joanne Pretz and Coach Madelyn Zadnik start to payoff. He had two PRs including an 11.65 second drop in 50 Free and an 8.75 second drop in 100 Free.
  • Elizabeth Maranian (SR) is another swimmer who joined us for the first time as a senior which is why I had so much fun watching her swim 100 Free 10.96 seconds faster than before and swimming 50 Free 4.31 seconds faster than before.
  • Max Gonzalez (FR) is showing a real seriousness about his approach to swimming, and that focus is paying off already. How about his 9.80 second PR in 100 Free and his 1.28 second PR in 50 Free.  I don’t think it will be long until he breaks :30 in 50 Free and 1:10 in 100 Free.
  • Colette Kramer (8) had a huge 8.50 second drop in 100 Free. I’m excited to help her make her stroke even longer so we can see more of these kinds of drops.
  • Jed Albin (SO) had a breakout meet in both the water and on the diving board. I have never seen him look as good as he did on Saturday.  His most impressive swim was his huge 8.25 second PR in 100 Backstroke.
  • Allison Quispe (8) is another first-year swimmer who is already showing massive improvement. How about her 8.12 second PR in 100 Free and her 5.33 second PR in 50 Free!?
  • Noemi Rodriguez (7) looked so much stronger on Saturday than she did the first day that I saw her. I mean she really looked good!  That’s why I wasn’t surprised to see her drop 8.09 seconds in 50 Free and 7.69 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Justin Orr (SR) is the third senior we have on the team that is swimming for the very first time. I just loved watching his 7.41 second PR in 100 Free and his 4.96 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Penny Kramer (7) had two PRs by more 6.0 seconds including a 6.72 second drop in 100 Free and a 6.24 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Mariana Bingham (7) rocked her 100 Free, swimming it 6.52 seconds faster than ever before.
  • Emma Catabui (SR) really made me proud on Saturday with a massive 6.25 second PR in 100 Free and a massive 2.51 second PR in 50 Free. She also got through six (6) dives in exhibition prior to meet on the way back to the eleven (11) she will need to score again at States.
  • Kevin Orellana (SR) joined a swim team for the first-time last year and earned his way to Captain this year. He set a great example for the younger swimmers with his 6.06 second PR in 100 Free and his .79 second PR in 50 Free.

Personal Records from our Seton Family Homeschool (SFH) Team

Over the years, we’ve often had a few siblings of kids on the team join us at practice.  With so many limits placed on kid’s activities starting last year, I decided that to formalize that relationship further by forming a team that could compete with us in non-VISAA and non-Championship meets.

There are two requirements for participation the SFH team:

  • The swimmer is planning to attend Seton and swim or dive next year, and
  • Their parents are significant volunteers for Seton or for the team.

This season, twelve of our 127 swimmers compete on the SFH team, and almost all of them had one or more PRs on Saturday:

  • Dominic Miller (SO) is the only upperclassman on the team, but he’s swum on the Seton Team in prior years, so I was very pleased to welcome him back while he is taking a year at home. I was also really pleased to see him cut another 2.00 seconds in 100 Free and compete well in the first diving meet of the season.  Dominic’s mother, Andrea Miller, has been running the Diving scoring table for Seton last year and this year.  The Miller’s are also known to help ensure that Coach Koehr is never thirsty.
  • Betsy Arnold (6) always shows up to practice with such joy. Her older brothers Joey and William have swum on the team in the past.  On Saturday, she had another reason to be joyful – a 7.90 second PR!
  • Monica Irving (6) is from a long line of Irvings that have swum on the team, including new mother Julia Irving who was a former Captain. Monica’s father, Adam Irving, is also a very colorful presence on deck both currently and for several years in the past.  I’m sure Coach Irving was excited  to see Monica’ 5.38 second drop in 50 Free and her .73 second drop in 100 Free.
  • Clare “Lieutenant” Heiny (6) had a huge 5.06 second drop in 50 Free. Her father, Major Patrick Heiny, USMC, is helping out as a coach all five (5) days of the week, and her sister also swims with us.
  • Maria McGrath (6) had three (3) big PRs including a 4.99 second PR in 50 Free, a 2.31 second PR in 100 Free, and another 3.69 second PR in 50 Free leading off a relay. Several of Maria’s siblings have been on the team, including two (2) who are on the team this year.
  • Joey Lynch (6) joins us with his older brother Chris, and his mother, Katie Lynch, has done such a tremendous job handling a very large apparel program. Joey had a great swim in 50 Free where he cut 4.87 seconds!
  • Lily Waldron (6) is the fifth Waldron to swim for Seton, including three siblings that are on the team with her. And, of course, we all recognize that she has the same last name as our infamous Head Timer and Head Timer Recruiter, Will Waldron.  Will was unable to make the meet, so I think we can have confidence that Lily’s 4.43 second PR in 50 Free and her 1.92 second PR in 100 Free were done by Lily in the water 😉
  • Sophia Kohlhaas (6) joins her brother, first year swimmer Gus, on the team. Sofia is really improving, and it showed with her 4.09 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Elizabeth Hurley (6) has two siblings on the Seton team, and her father, Coach Joe Hurley, is on deck helping us coach all five (5) days during the week. I know Coach Hurley was pleased to see her drop 3.21 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Jonas Wilson (6) is the fourth Wilson brother to swim on the team, and Jonas’ father is one of our long-time officials. I’m sure Stroke & Turn Judge David Wilson really enjoyed watching Jonas’ great swims on Saturday.
  • Veronica Gonzalez (6) just joined the team this past week. She joins two siblings on the team this year.  Because she has no prior swims, she couldn’t get a PR, but we can use her swims on Saturday to measure progress in the future.

So Many Other PRs!

Personal Records (aka lifetime best times) are THE key metric at Seton Swimming, and if that is the measure of success, then we were incredibly successful on Saturday.  Here are the rest of those PRs that I have not previously mentioned:

  • Julia Atkinson (SO) cut 1.75 seconds in 50 Back leading off a Medley Relay and .05 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Greg Bauer (8) looked awfully good in 100 Free after he cut 5.21 seconds from his previous PR in 100 Free. Greg also cut .78 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Molly Bauer (FR) dropped 4.38 seconds in 100 Free and .53 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Ryan Beltran (SO) lowered his 100 Free PR by 3.73 seconds and his 100 Back PR by .65 seconds.
  • Lucia Bingham (FR) looked very strong in her 100 Free, and it showed in her time – a 2.13 second PR.
  • Aaron Bishop (SO) is back after a short hiatus, and he made the effort worth it with a big 2.76 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Emma Brox (SR) had a great medley relay lead-off with a .38 second PR in 50 Backstroke.
  • Joey Dealey (JR) cut .13 seconds in 50 Free, getting down to a very fast 26.58.
  • Ben Ellis (7) had two PRs, a 3.52 second drop in 50 Free and a 1.80 second drop in 100 Free.
  • Rose Ellis (8) lowered her 50 Free PR by 1.32 seconds.
  • Kyleigh Fifield (7) had a great swim in 50 Free, beating her previous PR by 1.41 seconds.
  • Mick Fioramonti (SO) started with us late after being one the key players in Seton’s appearance in the Final-Four VISAA State Soccer Tournament, but that didn’t stop him from cutting 1.97 seconds in 50 Back leading off a medley relay and .22 seconds in 100 Fly.
  • Elizabeth Francis (FR) looked great in her 100 Free, lowering her PR by another 4.17 seconds. She also lowered her 50 Free PR by .02 seconds.
  • Moira Haggerty (JR) had two PRs including a .59 second PR in 100 Free and a .62 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Orla Haggerty (FR) lowered her 50 Free PR by another .24 seconds.
  • Patrick Hartung (JR) is starting to figure out how to use his length in the 50 Free leading off a relay, and the result was a .15 second PR.
  • Peter Hartung (FR) had three (3) PRs. In 50 Back leading off a relay he cut 1.67 seconds, in 50 Free he cut .98 seconds, and in 100 Free he cut 3.40 seconds.
  • John Henry Hawley (8) made the most of his first Seton meet with a .59 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Maddie “Major” Heiny (8) showed some improvement in 50 Free with a .09 second PR.
  • Mary Catherine Hurley (FR) looked great in her 100 Free which she swam 1.23 seconds faster than her previous best.
  • Dominic Judge (7) dropped a big 1.51 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Maggie Kleb (SR) came back for her senior year, so I was very happy to see her swim a .90 second PR in 50 Free and a .64 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Gus Kohlhaas (FR) looked fast in the 50 Free, and it showed with his 1.84 second PR.
  • Chris Lynch (SO) swam three (3) PRs on Saturday. In 50 Back leading off the medley he cut 4.70 seconds, in 100 Free he cut 2.16 seconds, and in 50 Free leading off a relay he cut .48 seconds.
  • Anna McGrath (FR) had great swims in 50 Free where she had a 3.86 second PR and in 100 Free where she had a 1.86 second PR.
  • Michael McGrath (SO) looked very strong in his 50 Free with a 2.48 second PR. He also cut .53 seconds from his 100 Free PR leading off a relay.
  • Anthony Morales (8) has developed a very nice freestyle, and it showed with his 1.6 second PR in 50 Free and his .57 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Helena O’Keefe (8) really showed tremendous improvement, cutting a whopping 4.86 seconds from her 50 Free PR and .81 seconds from her 100 Free PR.
  • Shannon O’Malley (FR) had a beautiful swim in the 200 Free, particularly given that it is so early in the season. It’s very unusual to get a PR in 200 Free in the first meet, but Shannon managed to do it – by .67 seconds.
  • Gabriel Orellana (FR) dropped 2.69 seconds in 50 Free and .88 seconds in 100 Free. I’m very excited to see him get a PR in setting his own alarm 😉
  • Mary Claire Osilka (8) caught my eye during 100 Free when she lowered her PR by .88 seconds. She also lowered her 50 Back PR leading off a relay by .96 seconds.
  • Gabriella Russo (7) had two big PRs. How about a 5.60 second drop in 100 Free and a 2.49 second drop in 50 Free!?
  • Daniel Sokban (7) really looked strong swimming his 1.50 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Nick Vaughan (FR) lowered his 50 Free PR by a huge 1.66 seconds.
  • Cate Waldron (SO) had a big drop in 100 Free, cutting 3.35 seconds from her previous best time. She also cut .57 seconds from her previous best 50 Free time.
  • Sophia Zadnik (SR) had a great lead-off leg for one of our Medley Relay. In the process, she cut .98 seconds from her 50 Back PR.
  • Michael Zahorchak (7) had two big PRs. He lowered his 100 Free PR by 3.20 seconds and his 50 Free PR by 2.88 seconds.
  • Lucy Cunningham (FR) had a courageous swim in the 500 Free. She wasn’t feeling well, but she dove in and gave it her best effort anyway.  Way to go Lucy!
  • Just because you didn’t swim a PRs, doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t have some good swims. In events like 200 Free, 200 IM, 100 Fly and 500 FR, it is very difficult for an experienced swimmer to swim a PR at the beginning of the season before they are in better shape.  Some swimmers who scored for us on Saturday in these longer events were:
    • Peter Konstanty (SO), 200 IM and 500 Free, 7th and 9th place overall
    • Madelyn Zadnik (SO), 200 IM and 500 Free, 8th and 6th overall
    • Teresa Bingham (SR), 200 IM and 100 Fly, 7th and 9th place overall
    • Mary O’Malley (SR), 200 Free and 500 Free, 5th and 4th place overall

Thank You Madelyn and Céilí

For the second year in a row, we’ve had to add practice sessions on Wednesday and Friday, and for those sessions, we need student Coaches to help with dryland and stroke demonstrations.  It’s a tough ask because it means that you need to get up early all five (5) days during the week – quite a sacrifice for a teenager.

All of you in the Wednesday/Friday swimmers should be very grateful that Madelyn Zadnik and Céilí Koehr have volunteered to take on this important role.  These are two very impressive young ladies to whom I am very grateful.

Opportunities for Improvement

Overall, I was extremely pleased with how we performed at the meet, but I still see a couple of things that are causing me a little frustration:

  • Swim Caps During Warm-up
    • I talked about this at Time Trials, but somehow, we had a number of people who didn’t seem to understand how serious I am about this.
    • Our Swim Cap is an important part of our uniform. Everyone should be wearing a swim cap during warm-up and during each of their competitive swims.
      • To be clear, you are not disqualified from the meet if you do not have a Seton cap on.
      • But you are going to upset me.
    • Everyone was issued a free swim cap, so there is no excuse to not have one
      • I’ve asked Mrs. Lynch to be at every meet with some extra swim caps
      • If you don’t have a cap, bring Mrs. Lynch a $5 bill and she’ll make sure you have one.
    • Finishes
      • Remember in practice when I said “Never, never, never, never ….. never finish the race by grabbing the top of the gutter”?
      • When you finish a race, you should reach for the touchpad with your head down, and touch the pad below the surface of the water.
        • Not only will that ensure that your time is recorded properly, it is also the fastest way to finish.
      • Backstroke Turns
        • This is not a problem we’ve had yet, but I thought it would be more useful to put in this week’s blog, before we have the problem, than next week’s blog, after we have the problem. We have this problem every year, so I already know it is coming.
        • In the past, we’ve had a large number of DQs for people rolling over on their stomachs during backstroke (“past vertical toward the breast” as the rule states).
        • We’ll review backstroke turns one more time before next Saturday, but I already know that the root of the problem will be swimmers not doing flip turns.
          • If you do a flip turn EVERY time, you are allowed to roll over on your stomach and take one arm pull going into the turn.
          • If you don’t do a flip turn, you can’t roll over.
          • You also have to finish the race on your back, as I know we practiced last week.
        • Missed Events Were Not a Problem!
          • I think this might be the first year that this has happened, but I don’t think we had a single kid miss an event.
          • For our first meet, that is truly remarkable. Great job!

Our Annual Homecoming Meet

Two Saturday’s from now, on December 18th, is our annual Homecoming Meet at the Freedom Center.  1st warm-up starts at 1:00 p.m. and the first event goes off at 2:10 p.m.

As we have in the past, we’ll be running some alumni relays along with our own scoring relays.  I know a several of the adult Koehr Brothers will be there, and I’ve also heard that Liam Kellogg will be gunning for the relay that Coach Mulhern puts together.  We should also have Seton Relay record holder Bridget Wunderly joining us.

If you know of other alumni, please make sure they know they are welcome.  If they show up with a suit and goggles, I’ll try to get them in a relay and an exhibition heat of 50 Free.

Christmas Break Practices

Traditionally, every Christmas Break, we have practices at the Freedom Center for the Varsity swimmers who will be competing in the key Conference and Championship meets starting in January.

There will not be a clear delineation of who is and who is not on the Varsity team, so for the purposes of Christmas practices, if you are entered as a scoring swimmer in one of the December meets, then I expect that you will attend as many of the Christmas practices as possible.  That means that most of the swimmers who practice with Coach Mulhern, Coach Palazzo, or Coach Ross should plan on attending.

Everyone else can take the holiday off.  I know that some of you want to swim, but we won’t have enough lanes or enough coaches to accommodate any more kids.  So, if you are not Varsity, relax and enjoy Christmas – then come back ready for the push to the January 29th JV Invitational at the WARF.

I’m still finalizing the schedule (I’ve both e-mailed and called our contact multiple times now) with the Freedom Center, but I am anticipating practices from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on:

  • Monday, December 20th
  • Tuesday, December 21st
  • Monday, December 27th
  • Tuesday, December 28th

Also remember that we have the Cystic Fibrosis Swim-a-thon on New Year’s Eve from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m. at the Freedom.  I have more information posted on that shortly.

If you are in town, please plan on being at these practices and the Swim-a-thon.  I’m sure that Trinity Christian will be working hard.

We’re off to a great start this season – great job!  Two more December meets on the next Saturdays.  Expect to swim something different in those two meets.

See you at practice,

Coach Jim Koehr

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