On Saturday, February 12th, Seton Swimming ventured down to St. Michael the Archangel for the annual DAC Conference Championship Meet hosted by St. Michael and Fredericksburg Christian. It was a very well run event and our kids took full advantage of the opportunity to shine.
We entered the meet as both the boys and girls regular season DAC Champions for the 17th straight year, and not surprisingly, Seton Swimming also won the meet for both boys and girls, taking home 27 of the 48 possible individual medals and winning gold in 5 of the 6 relays. So with the relays, we took home 15 of the 22 possible gold medals. Given those statistics, even I was still surprised at the point spread though– until I saw this: The meet scored the top 12 places in the individual events and we placed all 4 of our swimmers in the top 12 in every event:
Fredericksburg Christian 194
Fredericksburg Academy 168
St. Michael the Archangel 103
Wakefield Country Day 33
Fredericksburg Academy 151
St. Michael the Archangel 125
Fredericksburg Christian 123
Wakefield Country Day 79
Jonathan Rosato, DAC Champion and State Meet Qualifier!
The highlight of the meet was unquestionably the Boys 100 Breaststroke where senior Jonathan Rosato, junior Michael Hill and freshman Joe Kosten swam a near dead heat with Neil O’Heir from Wakefield Country Day. In the end, Jonathan Rosato touched first to win the gold medal in a story book ending fit for a movie.
Jonathan Rosato is going to kill me for this, but I vividly remember a skinny, 90 lb, 7th grade boy back in 2005 crying behind the blocks at the Freedom Center because he was afraid to jump off the blocks into the 13 feet of water. After much coaxing from his mother (not sure that adequately describes what actually happened, but we’ll go with that;-)), Jonathan jumped in and swam 42.58 in 50 Free and a 2:03.09 in what would become his signature event, 100 Breaststroke. Ever since that day when Jonathan conquered his fear, he had a dream to qualify for States. I’m sure he thought that it was impossible at that point, but he kept working, kept improving, and kept trying.
Fast forward 5 years to the beginning of this season when the goal of qualifying for States with a 1:11.41 still seemed daunting, but much more possible. At the first meet last December, Jonathan went 1:15.06, not a bad time for him, but an eternity from that State cut. In successive meets leading up to our Division II Invitational, he went 1:14.03, 1:13.45, 1:13.25, 1:13.10 – arghh – can’t even break 1:13! Well the breakthrough came at last week’s Invitational. After a few side sessions with Coach Rick Benner over at QDD and no event longer than a 50 to ensure he was fresh, he popped all the way down to 1:11.88 – still not there and only once chance left.
With the whole team cheering on the side of the pool, a shaved and highly motivated Jonathan approached the blocks. After the best pull-down I’ve ever seen from Jonathan, he surfaced off the dive with a very slight lead over teammates Michael Hill and Joe Kosten. A quick glance over at Joe Kosten revealed that Joe was also having the swim of his life. At the 50, Michael Hill took a small lead after a 33.73 split, Joe Kosten was in 2nd after a blazing fast split of 34.02, and Jonathan was 3rd with a 50 split of 34.65.
During the 2nd 50, you could just see the determination on the faces of all three of Seton’s swimmers, but this was especially true of Jonathan who came back in a 36.50 – wow! He split 34.65 and then 36.50 – now that’s how you swim a 100 yard race! And when he touched, we all saw a 1:11.15 on the scoreboard, a new DAC Champion in 100 Breaststroke, and the culmination of a dream that seemed impossible so many years before – he was a State Championship qualifier! The that little boy behind the block years before boy had taken a huge step toward becoming a man.
I also have to mention how proud I was of Joe Kosten’s performance in that race. Joe has also been trying to hit that state qualifying time but he was coming from even farther back, starting the season with a 1:16.44 and needing to cut more than 5 seconds. Joe rapidly dropped time all season to enter Saturday’s championship at a 1:12.87 – a long way from the 1:16 at the beginning of the season, but not yet the State cut he hoped for. In the race on Saturday, Joe cut .64 seconds to get down to an amazing 1:12.23. I know that the 4th place was not the result that Joe had hoped for, and I know he was anxious to swim at States, but it is otherwise hard not to be very excited about the amount of improvement that Joe showed this season. I know this is no consolation Joe, but if it didn’t hurt so badly when you don’t get it, it wouldn’t feel so good when you do. He’s only a freshman, and I can clearly see that “JK” has a very bright future in Seton Swimming.
And finally, congratulations to Michael Hill who took the Silver medal in 100 Breaststroke with his 2nd best time of the year, 1:11.77. Jonathan will be joining Michael at States in this event.
Swimmers of the Meet and More Conference Records
Congratulations to David Basinger who was voted by the coaches as the Boys Swimmer of the Meet (MVP) for 2011. David took home 4 Gold Medals, all by wide margins. Individually, he won the 200 IM by more than 5 seconds and the 100 Free by more than 4.5 seconds. David also swam the butterfly leg on our Gold medal 200 Medley Relay which won by more than 5 seconds, and he swam the anchor leg on our Gold medal 200 Free relay that beat a very fast RMA relay by 3.5 seconds. I didn’t see the vote totals, but I can’t imagine the voting was close, except……….
Vincent “Catfish” Dunn was the only other swimmer in David’s league on the boy’s side, and a case could have easily been made that Catfish was also worthy of the honor. Like David, Catfish was a 4-time DAC champion with four dominating performances. Individually, he won 100 Fly and 500 Free. In the 500, he beat his nearest non-Seton opponent by more than a minute! He also took gold in two relays teamed up with David (more about the relays below).
On the Girls side, Rachel Dumez of Wakefield Country Day was voted Girls Swimmer of the Meet. While Rachel is an excellent swimmer and a great kid, Seton had two swimmers that could have also made a strong case:
Junior Cat Rogers and Senior Bridget Wunderly both took home 4 Gold medals with dominating wins for all four (4) races. In addition, Bridget broke her 4th DAC record in the last two weeks with one more yesterday, and Cat broke her 5th DAC record in the last two weeks with two more yesterday.
- Bridget and Cat’s first Gold medal came in the record breaking 200 Medley Relay with teammates Alex Doonis and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe – not bad company for sure. They went 1:56.28 to break their own record of 1:57.14 that they set last week.
- Cat set her 2nd DAC Conference record of the day in a gold medal swim in the 100 Free where she went 55.69 to break Katie Planchak’s record of 56.08 set back in 2006. Katie was one of our all-time great sprinters.
- Then Bridget followed with a dominating 6 second victory in 100 Fly, just missing another conference record in the process, and an even more dominating 42 second victory in the 500 Free.
- Cat’s 3rd and Bridget’s 4th gold medals came in the 200 Free Relay with the same teammates as the Medley.
- And finally, in 100 Breaststroke, an event where Cat beat her nearest non-Seton competitor by 12 seconds, she went 1:10.07 and just missed Katie Shipko’s conference record of 1:09.99 set back in 1999. Fortunately, Cat is a junior so she will have another chance to clean that up next year.
So we end the season with every DAC conference record except two. I will always remember that 15 minute period of time during last week’s invitational when we held every single conference record. With some of the talent coming up from other DAC teams now, that may be the last time we accomplish that feat – at least until those 7th grade girls grow up a little!
The Rest of the DAC Individual and Relay Champions
I mentioned that Seton claimed 15 of the 22 possible Gold medals. Here are the swimmers who I have not already mentioned who brought home individual gold medals:
- Alex Doonis took home 3 Gold medals and a Silver. Individually, Alex is now the DAC Champion in the 50 Free and she took the silver in 100 Back. At States, I think we’ve decided that Alex is going to take her shot at the 100 Free and 100 Back where I’m very excited for her prospects.
- Freshman Joe Kenna had a big meet with his 3 DAC Gold medals plus a silver. Individually, Joe won the 200 Free in a close race over an excellent Wakefield swimmer. Joe also took a very close second to an RMA swimmer in the 50 Free.
A top finishing relay at DAC Champs scored 32 points, and we got that many points 5 out of 6 times:
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren Donohoe totally dominated the competition, set a new conference record, and defeated the 2nd place team from Fredericksburg Christian by nearly 13 seconds. This is one of two relays we will have at States with the best chance for the gold medal.
- The other one is our Girls 200 Free Relay with the same girls, Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren Donohoe who totally dominated that race also, again beating 2nd place Fredericksburg Christian by a wide margin.
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Michael Hill, David Basinger and Joseph Kenna, beat 2nd place RMA by more than 5 seconds.
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Catfish Dunn, Patrick Kenna, Brendan Koehr and David Basinger won a relatively close race by Saturday’s relay standards – they won by only 4.5 seconds.
- And finally, our Boys 400 Free Relay of Joseph Kenna, Stephen Shaw, Jamie Smith and Brendan Koehr took gold by 11 seconds.
All-Conference Swimmers from Seton
“All-Conference” is a recognition afforded to swimmers who finished in the top 3 in an individual or relay event during the DAC Conference Championship meet. I’ve already mentioned a number of these kids, including:
- David Basinger
- Cat Rogers
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn
- Bridget Wunderly
- Alex Doonis
- Joseph Kenna
- Jonathan Rosato
- Michael Hill
And here is the rest of Seton’s All-Conference team:
- Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe has done an admirable job fighting through her wrist injury. In spite of that, she was able to corral two gold medals in the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relays and two silver medals in the 50 and 100 Free, behind only her fellow teammates. Lauren has been practicing hard for the past two weeks so with a little rest now, I think she’ll be ready to anchor some close relays at States.
- Brendan Koehr took home two gold medals, a silver medal and a bronze in his final conference meet. In 100 Free, he took silver behind only David Basinger. In the 50 Free, Brendan took the bronze missing the silver by .01 seconds. His two gold medals were as part of the 200 and 400 Free relays.
- Rachel Lambrecht was just super again this past weekend winning three silver medals. What a season she has had, particularly in events outside of her normal 100 Breaststroke, which accounted for one of the silvers behind only Cat Rogers. This weekend, she once again lowered her PR in 200 IM, this time by 2.20 seconds to take a 2nd silver medal. Her 3rd silver came as part of the Girls 400 Free relay.
- Patrick Kenna has really come on strong in 100 Back these last few weeks. Yesterday, after a big drop last week, he dropped again to go 1:05.75 – .80 seconds faster than ever before. Patrick took had two 4th place individual finishes for the meet. He also took home a gold medal in the 200 Free Relay.
- Lucy Bennett had another great meet. On Saturday, she had two PRs and won three silver medals. First, in the 200 Free, Lucy cut 3.20 seconds from her PR and then in the 500 Free, she cut .98 seconds. Her final silver medal came as part of the Girls 400 Free relay. I’m looking forward to having Lucy down in Christiansburg with us next week.
- Sarah Zapiain was good for a silver medal and two bronzes. One of her bronze medals resulted for a 1.06 second PR in 100 Fly. She also took bronze in the 200 Free and as part of the 400 Free relay.
- Jamie Smith, only a freshman, earned a gold, silver and bronze medal with some great swimming. Jamie’s bronze came in the 200 IM where he cut .62 seconds from his PR and his silver medal came in the 500 Free where he cut .85 seconds. His gold medal came as part of the 400 Free Relay. I’m sure Jamie is excited about his first trip to States next week – it will be the first of many I’m sure.
- Luke Marrazzo broke into the All-Conference ranks with a PR swim in the 200 Free where he took the bronze medal. Over these last two weeks of the season, Luke has really done well. I’m looking forward to having him back next year!
- Steven Shaw took a gold medal as part of the Boys 400 Free relay. He also took 5th in both 200 Free and 100 Back and had a PR in 50 Back leading off the medley relay.
Our 14 Personal Records on Saturday brought our season total an incredible 601! Here are the rest of these PRs:
- How about Sarah Heim’s 500 Free? She beat her personal record by almost 43 seconds and scored in 11th place overall. She also scored in 7th place in 100 Breaststroke.
- First year swimmer, Junior Hugh Brien wrapped up a tremendous season with a PR in 100 Fly to take 5th Hugh’s 1:08.42 is a great time for a first year swimmer, especially considering that he went 1:15.15 at the Homecoming meet in December.
- Kenneth Cuomo ended his season on a high note after lowering his PR in 100 Back by 1.22 seconds. Kenneth scored in 12th place for backstroke and in 7th place for 100 Free.
- You gotta love how Keziah Higginbottom just keeps getting better. Once again, she had a PR, this time in the 200 IM by 2.77 seconds, which was good enough to score in 7th Even better was her 100 Fly where she ended up taking 4th by on .12 seconds behind two other Seton swimmers.
- In addition to his tremendous swim in 100 Breaststroke, Joe Kosten also lowered his 100 Fly PR by .79 seconds and took 6th
- Theresa Verry was very excited about her PR in 100 Free when she dropped .66 seconds and took 6th
Saturday’s DAC Champs was the last meet for a few of our seniors that I’d like to mention:
- Captain Leslie Zapiain has been on the team for all of her six years at Seton. In her later years, she became a reliable scorer in the longer events. Saturday was no exception since she scored in 4th place in the 500 Free and 5th place in the 200 IM. Leslie is coming down to States with us to help Mr. Cook and I run the meet, but I know I will miss her leadership and her smile next season.
- Matthew Verry can swim butterfly – no doubt about it. And he was able to swim well enough on Saturday to take 7th in the event. He also took 8th in 100 Breaststroke. Thank you Matthew for your willingness to do your best in whatever event I put you. Matthew is also coming to States to help us run the meet.
- Captain Christian “Rocky” Kleb was not able to swim on Saturday, but I already know that the team will not be the same without him. He was a great influence on the JV swimmers with whom he did not hesitate to do pre-practice stretches and post-practice dryland. My mental picture of Rocky will always include those old grey sweatpants and that longshoreman’s stocking cap.
- Monica Mosimann was also unable to swim because of play practice, but I want her to know how much I enjoyed having her on the team. She’s been swimming since her freshman year. In spite of all of our time together swimming, my best memories of Monica were her time with my son Patrick in “Beauty and the Beast”. She was fabulous. I saw the show 5 times. Good luck in the future Monica. I’m glad I still get to see you in your favorite class every day.
Notes on the Remainder of the Season
So now we are down to one more meet, the VSIS State Championship in Christiansburg on February 18th and 19th. If everyone swims well, I’d say we have an excellent chance for our girls to win their 4th State Championship in a row, surpassing the Seton record for consecutive State Championships held by one of Coach Duran’s boys soccer teams (“If it were easy, they’d call it soccer”?). And our boys should be in good shape to take their 4th State Championship as well and 3rd in a row.
We’ll have two more practices for the State Team – tomorrow morning (Monday) and then Tuesday morning. Tuesday’s practice will consist of some serious sprinting and then breakfast on me at the Ashton Avenue Diner.
On Thursday, please plan on being in Christiansburg early enough to be at the pool by 4:45 p.m. for a 5:00 warm-up session – that means that you’ll probably have to leave school at lunchtime. After the warm-up, it will be dinner at Olive Garden and a good night’s sleep. Try to remember that you will forget that movie you watched in the hotel room by next week, but you’ll never forget that you did well at the State swim meet.
I will publish an “Everything you need to know about States” document as soon as I can so you all know exactly where to be and when. And please: everyone on the State Championship Team should let their teachers know that they will be out of class.
See you at practice – almost there,