Last weekend, we took a group of our top swimmers to Philadelphia to participate in the 87th annual National Catholic High School Swim Championships and we returned with 10 Medals! Seton is proud to have had three male individual champions, but on Sunday afternoon, we saw our first female crowned – Alex Doonis took Gold in the 100 Free! And Cat Rogers set a new team standard in the 50 Free. One visit to gym at Seton to glance at our record board, and you will see how infrequent new records are going to become.
Seton’s Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals
As expected, we saw great performances from Alex Doonis, Vincent “Catfish” Dunn and Cat Rogers, but I was also excited to see one of our relays, that included Freshman Alex Sinner and 8th Grader Claire Kenna, take a medal.
- As it turned out, Alex Doonis’ Gold medal in 100 Free was never really in doubt. She entered the meet as the top seed and swam a high school meet best time of :54.11 in Saturday’s preliminaries at Villanova University to claim the middle lane for finals. In that preliminary race, the highlight was her first 50 where she split :25.96. I always know that Alex is going to have a great 100 if she splits :25 high on that first 50. Then, on Sunday afternoon, over at LaSalle University, Alex took the lead off the start and never relinquished it. The most exciting part of her finals race for me this time was how well she swam the last Last year, Alex was winning off the 3rd turn and lost. This year, she took control of the race on the 3rd 25 and looked stronger than I’ve ever seen on her final length. No one was going to catch her – you could just see it. Her performance this weekend bodes very well for States where I fully expect her to take Lauren Donohoe’s team record of :54.08. Speaking of team records, Alex also went 28.54 in 50 Back leading off the medley relay, so I think she can break Jessica Dunn’s team record of 28.50 at States also.
- Vincent “Catfish Dunn” Dunn took the Silver medal in 100 Back on Sunday by just .07 seconds over a very fast swimmer from Malvern Prep, and he did it on the strength of a great finish. Coming off the last wall, Catfish was actually 3rd or maybe even 4th, but that’s when his great training kicked in. Coming to finish, Catfish was definitely behind the Malvern kid, but he took one less stroke, reached back hard, gave one big dolphin kick and out-touched the guy! It was a text book finish that made all the difference between silver and bronze.
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay is swimming better this year that I ever would have imagined at the beginning of the season, and on Sunday, they swam well enough to take the Bronze medal. Over the past few years, we’ve had some really great 200 Free relays, including the gold medalists at States two years ago, but with graduations returning only Cat Rogers and Alex Doonis, I thought we’d be a little down this year – but that was before freshman Alex Sinner and 8th grader Claire Kenna stepped up to the plate. The performance of these young swimmers, combined with our two senior captains, have us in the hunt for a top 3 finish at States also.
And We Were Not Done with the Medals
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn also swam extremely well in the 100 Fly, swimming a personal best :53.11 during prelims to qualify as the 3rd seed for finals. In the end, Catfish took the 4th place medal at Sunday’s finals. That :53.11 should score very well at States in a few weeks.
- Cat Rogers added two individual medals to her relay medal this past weekend. In the 50 Free, Cat took the 4th place medal in a very fast heat. Her preliminary time of :24.52 broke her own team record of :54.54. I can’t wait to see what she’s got in her for States. Cat also swam well in 100 Breaststroke where she took the 5th place medal.
- Alex Doonis warmed-up for her 100 Final with a fast swim in the 50 Free where she took the 5th place medal. We haven’t decided yet, but I think we’re leaning toward this race for Alex at States also.
Other Great Swims
- I’m looking forward to seeing how our Girls 200 Medley relay performs at States. Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna qualified for the championship final and took 6th place. They swam particularly well in prelims where Alex Doonis came within .04 seconds our team record in 50 Back and Claire Kenna anchored with an incredible :26.15. I was also excited to see Alex Sinner doing very aggressive relay starts.
- How about an 8th grader scoring at National Catholics? Well that is exactly what Emily Heim did with her 14th place finish in 100 Breaststroke! Emily 1:16.27 in finals was her 2nd faster time ever, so I think she’s peaking at just the right time. Emily also cut 3.27 seconds from her 100 Free PR and took 40th
- Kimberly Rector also scored with her 16th place finish in the 500 Free! And even more exciting was that her personal record 6:05.53 beat the State championship qualifying time by more than 5 seconds! I’m anxious to see how she does at States once she learns to relax on that first 50 a bit – in both prelims and finals, Kimberly came to play, taking it out in :31 high for the 1st 50 and 1:06 for the 1st One day, that will be the pace she’ll hold in the State finals I predict. Kimberly also took 29th in the 200 IM.
- Alex Sinner wasn’t just awesome in the relays, she also swam very well in the 100 Free. She took 17th place overall with a personal record :58.75 – that was 1.20 seconds faster than her previous best time. Alex is a very versatile swimmer, which is going to be huge for Seton in the years to come.
- Claire Kenna, only in 8th grade, got a taste of some big-time individual competition in the 50 Free where she swam a personal record 27.28 and took 21st Incredibly, she almost qualified for finals.
- Jillian Ceol, another 8th grader, also got some valuable experience in a big-time meet and took 51st in both the 50 and 100 Free
- I think our Girls 400 Free relay of Alex Sinner, Jillian Ceol, Kimberly Rector and Claire Kenna (that’s a freshman and three 8th graders!) has a great shot to score at States, especially if they swim like they did this past weekend. In the end, they took 14th place overall in the event.
Post-Season Championship Qualifiers
This Saturday, we have our annual VISAA Division II Invitational at the Freedom Center. It is one of our final chances to add to our list of State Championship qualifiers. One thing that was new last year is that we can enter “B” Relays made up of swimmers who have either qualified individually or swam on a relay during the season that hit the qualifying time. So for this weekend, I’ve lined up some “B” relays to try to get some more of our kids with us at States. If you are in a relay, check out that qualifying time and swim like participation at States was at stake!
Here’s the current state of our State Team:
|State Championship Qualifiers|
|· Cat Rogers|
· Alex Doonis
· Alex Sinner
· Claire Kenna
· Kimberly Rector
· Emily Heim
· Vincent “Catfish” Dunn
· Michael Hill
· Girls 200 Medley Relay
· Girls 200 Free Relay
· Girls 400 Free Relay
· Boys 200 Medley Relay
· Boys 200 Free Relay
· Boys 400 Free Relay
I do my first serious draft of the entries for States after this weekend. I think most of the entries are pretty well set, but the boy’s relays are still in flux. To set those relays, I’ll look at every available combination and determine which line-ups have the potential score the most points for our team. We also have a couple of individuals on the cusp of qualifying including Joe Kosten and Patrick Pennefather.
We’re in the final push now – 2.5 weeks of hard practice left for our Varsity swimmers. Let’s make the most of it – starting tomorrow morning.
See you at practice!