For the second week in a row, we had a meet where we faced off with the newest team in the DAC, Trinity Christian School (TCS).  TCS,in only their second year of swimming, has totally changed the dynamics of DAC girls swimming, and on Saturday night at the Fitch WARF, the did something that has never been done in the history of DAC girls swimming.

Once again, we scored the Psych Sheet prior to the meet and once again, it showed TCS beating our girls.  This time, with our top swimmer shining brightly at the Swim & Tri Invitational in Christiansburg with her Occoquan teammates, we were projected to lose by 28 points.

And once again, we had a plan – we knew which races could turn that 28 point deficit into an 8 point win.  But this week, TCS was just too much for us.  We ultimately cut into that projected deficit significantly, but in the end, we lost by 18 points.

Congratulations also to Trinity Christian School for hosting their very first swim meet.  I was so proud of our the way our Seton parents stepped up to help them every step of the way, but with the volunteer spirit they showed among their own parents, they are well on their way to successfully running meets completely on their own.

Next weekend, it is the Boys turn to face a big challenge in the conference when we meet Fredericksburg Christian School (FCS) at our annual Homecoming Invitational at Central Park.  They are the only boys to team to have ever beaten us in a regular season meet, so we want to do everything possible to make sure that does not happen again this year.

Final Scores

Here’s the way the meet scores turned out for us at Seton:


Trinity Christian     152         Seton                                                     134

Seton                       203         Highland                           56

Seton                       211         Chelsea Academy              45

Seton                       224         Wakefield                          36

Seton                       223         Wakefield Country Day     12

Seton                       226         St. Michael the Archangel  11


Seton                       149         Wakefield                         96

Seton                       168         Trinity Christian                74

Seton                       191         St. Michael the Archangel  67

Seton                       174         Highland                           55

Seton                       185         Chelsea Academy              52

Seton                       194         Wakefield Country Day     16

8th Grader Mairead Geiran Was Super On Saturday Night

Mairead Geiran was a stand-out on Saturday.  With four incredible swims, this 8th grader had all of us, including coaches from the other teams, talking about her future in high school swimming:

  • After seeing her swim breaststroke at the Relay Carnival last week, I decided to give her a shot at the Breaststroke leg of the 200 Medley Relay. Wow!  She split 34.13 which was easily the fastest split in the meet.  It is going to be tricky figuring out if it is better to have Mairead stay in the butterfly leg of our “A” Medley Relay.
  • In the 200 IM, Mairead was seeded 3rd, more than 8 seconds behind two of Trinity’s top swimmers. Six of the 10 points that we made up on Trinity came in this one event where Mairead cut 7.75 seconds from her PR to go 2:22.54, take first place, and hit her 4th State Championship qualifying time.
  • Then in 100 Fly, Mairead met TCS freshman Brooke Williams for a preview of some great races for the next four (4) years. Mairead was seeded more than five (5) seconds behind Brooke, but she cut 4.42 seconds her PR for a tie to the hundredth of a second!  It was an awesome race that had both girls smiling after the race.  At the very end, it looked to me like Brooke was actually ahead, but Mairead had a great reach at the finish to steal the tie.
  • And as if that weren’t enough, Mairead’s anchor leg in the 400 Free Relay was even better. I was talking to the TCS Coach Andy Gingrich as we were watching this relay, and finally I said, “this isn’t going the way it was supposed to”.  After he agreed, I excused myself to go behind the block to cheer for Mairead.  Mairead hit the water more than 6 seconds behind the TCS anchor, but with a blazing 57.17 split, she was able to pull into the lead and take the event by a little more than a second.  Mairead had a great swim, but so did the TCS anchor Elizabeth Brazier.  Comparing her splits from last week to this week, Elizabeth split 3.03 seconds faster than she did last weekend – and I found out after the meet that Elizabeth wasn’t feeling well.  So that was some great swimming from the anchors on both teams!

More Top Swims From Saturday Night

Here are a few other swims that really turned my head on Saturday night:

  • Caroline Griffin (FR) wasn’t feeling well, but it was hard to see that based on the way she was swimming. I had Caroline in the 200 Free thinking that, with the improvement she’s shown in every other event so far this season, I could count a big improvement here also – and for the second week in a row, she didn’t disappoint.  Caroline cut more than 8 seconds from her PR to go a very fast 2:22.50.  Then in 50 Free leading off a 200 Free Relay, she cut another 1.15 seconds from her 50 Free PR to break :30 for the first time.  I can’t wait to see what Caroline can do when she’s feeling good!
  • Rosie Hall (JR) felt the sweetness of redemption on Saturday night, and it sure was fun to watch! In the 500 Free, Rosie was seeded 8th versus TCS.  For the entire race, she swam side-by-side with the 6th seeded TCS swimmer.  With 100 yards remaining, Rosie picked up the pace, finally pulling away slightly to win by only 1.53 seconds, moving up to 5th place versus TCS – and she beat her PR by 22.51 seconds!  I had a huge smile on my face as I watched her slap the water and throw her hands into the air.  Great job Rosie!
  • Isabelle Luevano (7) is showing the signs of becoming a really great swimmer for us in the future. Only in 7th grade, she cut 21.40 seconds from her 200 Free PR and went 2:30.30.  Then she cut 5.58 seconds from her 100 Fly PR to go 1:20.47.  Those are amazing times for a 7th grader who’s not quite 5 feet tall.  I can’t wait to see her swim in the years to come.
  • Theresa McGrath (7) had some amazing drops from the best USA times that I have for her. How do you drop 26.82 seconds in 200 IM and 10.22 seconds in 100 Fly (1:23.78)?  I’ll tell you how:  as a young swimmer, you concentrate on your stroke technique.
  • Emily Flynn (7) tried to events for the first time, and swam some really amazing times. How about 6:27.45 in the 500 Free and a 1:24.49 in 100 Fly for a 7th grade girl?  Then, she lowered her 50 Free PR leading off a 200 Free Relay by another .43 seconds to go 30.65.  I’m thinking she’ll break the :30 second barrier by the end of this season if she keeps improving at this pace.  Emily’s freestyle is getting much longer and much stronger, and that is why we are seeing these kinds of results.
  • Meghan Curley (SR) made me so proud. Even though she is a senior, this is her first year ever swimming competitively.  During her 50 Free, Meghan lost her goggles and did exactly what you are supposed to do in that case – just keep swimming.  Then in 100 Free, Meghan cut another 3.92 seconds showing that she continues to learn.  Great job Meghan!
  • Dani Flook (SR) needed to get us a 1st place in the 500 Free, and she did. Her stroke was long and easy – from the beginning of the race, it was very easy to see that no one was going to catch her.  It is so great to have Dani back on the team for her senior year, and she has made all the difference for us already this year.
  • Joseph Rowzie (7) got my attention during his two relay swims. Even his relay teammates came up to me to ask me if I saw him swim.  The guy’s really starting to move.

Swim Personal Records and the Winning Takes Care of Itself

Yep, for the second week in a row I think that proved to be true.  Last week, we won when we had 73 PRs, and this week, we lost with only 48 PRs.

That’s not to say that we didn’t have some very fine swims on Saturday night.  Let me tell you about the ones that I have not yet mentioned:

  • Katharine Rowzie (FR) is really starting to swim well. She made a big difference last week, and she made a big difference again this week.  Her 3.00 second PR in 100 Back and her 1.39 seconds PR in 100 Free got her 4th place overall in both events.  I can’t wait to try her in the 200 IM and 500 Free.
  • Christian Ceol (FR) crushed his 100 Fly PR by 19.30 seconds. I guess his work at practice this past week really paid off for him.
  • Sophie Zadnik (7) was super in her swims on Saturday with a 11.81 second PR in 100 Free and a 2.57 second PR in 50 Free. Those are big drops!
  • Jerry Dalrymple (8) continues to show huge improvement every time he swims in a new event this season. On Saturday, he lowered his 200 Free PR by 11.80 seconds to take 3rd  Jerry also cut another .55 seconds from his 100 Free PR to go 57.21, a very good time for an 8th grader for sure.  It was so good in fact, that it took 2nd place overall in the meet!
  • Seamus Koehr (JR) really swam well on Saturday. In the 200 Free, Seamus took it out very fast and ended up cutting 2.59 seconds from his PR.  Then in the 50 Free, he had a great start that was probably the source of .07 second PR in 50 Free.  If you want to see what I’ve been trying to teach you about starts, watch Seamus the next time he is on the blocks.
  • Shane Koehr (FR) continues his growth into a four (4) stroke swimmer with a great 14.76 PR swim in the 200 IM.
  • Justin Fioramonti (FR) had a very fine swim in the 200 Free, giving a big St. Michael upper classman a real run for his money. Justin cut 13.76 seconds from his PR to almost catch the St. Michael swimmer on the last lap.  One source of advantage from Justin was his turns, which have shown great improvement.
  • Julia Rowzie (JR) was great in the 500 Free, cutting 24.82 seconds from her PR to secure 3rd place versus TCS. She also cut .18 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
  • Brendan Santschi (JR) showed off his improved Butterfly technique with a 2.57 second PR. Brendan also cut .96 seconds from his 50 Free PR leading off a 200 Free Relay.
  • Maddie Given (7) had a tremendous swim in the 100 Free, lowering her PR by a whopping 9.88 seconds!
  • Kevin Geiran (JR) was very excited after he cut 17.06 seconds from his 500 Free PR. In fact, his smile was so big at the end of the race, I could clearly see how much he wanted to do that event again.  I’m sure he can go even faster.
  • Grant Mantooth (SR) continues to shine in the sprints. This week, Grant took another .78 seconds off of his 100 Free PR to go 57.37.  I can see even more improvement in Grant’s future with some more work on his walls.
  • Katie Albin (FR) cut 1.20 seconds in 100 Breaststroke and .71 seconds in 200 Free. Katie’s 200 Free PR moved her up to 5th place versus TCS from 6th place on the psych sheet.
  • Kevin Rodriquez (7) has the best day of his Seton Swimming career with two big PRs. In 100 Back, Kevin cut 9.68 seconds and in 100 Free, Kevin cut 3.36 seconds.
  • Alex Ceol (JR) was not even supposed to make it to the meet from his VEX tournament, but when he won his VEX competition early, he asked if I could get him into the meet. Entries for the individual events were already final, but I was able to put in three relays and an exhibition 50 Free.  Boy was I glad I did too – Alex cut .82 seconds from his 50 Free PR to go 25.51.  Saturday was a good day for Alex.
  • David Flook (FR) is getting very close to breaking 1:00 in 100 Free. On Saturday, David cut .90 seconds to go 1:00.24 while leading off our 400 Free Relay.
  • Drew Dalrymple (FR) cut another .18 seconds off his already very fast 50 Free. How about 25.15 for a freshman boy?
  • Jack Santschi (8) showed that he can swim all four (4) strokes while cutting 1.57 seconds from his 200 IM PR.
  • Patrick Murray (JR) lowered his 100 Free PR once again, this time by .33 seconds.
  • Mary Ostrich (SO) cut .55 seconds from her 100 Back PR. She also had a great first-time attempt at the 200 IM, nearly breaking 3:00.
  • Maria Tozzi (8) had a nice 100 Fly swim, lowering her PR by .64 seconds.
  • Peter Tozzi (FR) lowered his 100 Breaststroke PR by 1.07 seconds and his 100 Free PR by .56 seconds. Peter has steadily improved since he joined the team last season.
  • Lauren Volk (FR) cut another .68 seconds from her 50 Free PR.

Conquering Our Fears

Thomas Edison famously said “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.”  I’ve have been watching that play out in some way every one of my 16 seasons coaching at Seton, and I watched it play out on Saturday night with a number of kids attempting the 100 Fly, 200 IM or 500 Free for the very first time.

It’s natural to be fearful of these events if you’ve never done them, but I think a lot of us learned this weekend, that they are really not all that scary.  We may struggle to get through them, and we may get DQ’d in the process, but we can finish them – we can all finish them.  Some of the biggest smiles I’ve ever seen from a Seton swimmer over the years have come after they conquered their fear in one of these events.

Here are the swimmers that tried one of these big events for the first time on Saturday night.  I’m very proud of all of you:

  • Colette Waldron (SO), 100 Fly
  • Lauren Volk (FR), 100 Fly
  • Maria Tozzi (8), 200 IM
  • Caroline Pechie (7), 100 Fly
  • Mary Ostrich (SO), 200 IM
  • Mary O’Malley (7), 100 Fly
  • Kathleen O’Malley (FR), 100 Fly
  • Katya Konstanty (JR), 100 Fly
  • Shane Koehr (FR), 100 Fly
  • Jeremy Kleb (FR), 500 Free
  • Matthew Kelly (SO), 200 IM and 100 Fly
  • Liam Kellogg, (8), 100 Fly
  • Bernadette Hassan (SO), 100 Fly
  • Ryan Hall (JR), 100 Fly
  • Rosie Hall (JR), 100 Fly
  • Emily Flynn (7), 100 Fly and 500 Free
  • Katie Dealey (FR), 100 Fly

Believe it or not, I actually get requests to swim these events.  Why? Because after you’ve tried these events once, you not only realize that they are not as hard as they seem, but you see that they are also the easiest way to score points in a high school swim meet.  If you are on the edge of making the Varsity team for the post-season, you may want to be one of those kids who send me a e-mail asking me to give you a shot at the 200 IM or 500 Free!

Wakefield Country Day and Renaissance Montessori Make Their Presence Known

Once again, I was very pleased to welcome two of our sister schools, Wakefield Country Day (WCDS) and Renaissance Montessori School (RMS), to their first meet with us on Friday night.  The other Seton Coaches and I are also serving as coaches for these two schools.

Renaissance Montessori had another one of their three girls in the water, 7th grader Lucy Garvey.  Lucy practices with us once a week when she’s not practicing with Occoquan, and fortunately for both of us, she had a chance to be on one of butterfly training sessions.  Not only was she able to demonstrate stroke technique for all of the Seton swimmers, she must have learned a thing or two also – she cut 1.05 seconds from her 100 Fly PR to go 1:12.88.  That’s a very, very good time for a 7th grade girl.  Lucy also cut .47 seconds from her 100 Back PR

In one fun exhibition race, I was able to team Lucy with three Seton 7th graders, Emily Flynn, Theresa McGrath and Isabelle Luevano for the 200 Medley Relay, and they really did well.  Had they been allowed to score, they would have placed 4th behind only Seton “A” Relay and both of the TCS relays!

Wakefield Country Day brought two of their three swimmers to the meet.   Our goal is for them to all PR in all eight (8) individual events, and they continued progress toward that goal again this week:

  • Lucas DuMez (SR) won both of his events, hit two more State cuts, and added another PR to his total for the season. In the 200 Free, Lucas swam a 7.68 second PR and crushed the field by more than 13 seconds.  Then in 100 Back, Lucas crushed the field by more than 7 seconds with a 56.51, a time just off of his PR.  Once we can get him to roll to his right side as quickly as he rolls to his left, I think I’ll be able see a :54 or better at States.
  • Bridgette Larson (JR) had another very nice early season swim, this time in the 500 Free where she took 3rd place overall with a strong time. Bridgette also had a PR swim in 50 Free, cutting .23 seconds to go 28.62

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 17-18, 2017 at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center.  I am a co-host for the meet along with Coach Greg Guldin of Woodberry Forest so I’m very excited for Seton to have a strong showing.  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 after this weekend:

  • Anna Kenna – 50 and 100 Free
  • Caroline Griffin – 200 IM and 100 Back
  • Mairead Geiran – 100, 200 and 500 Free, with new cuts this week in 200IM and 100 Fly
  • Alex Ceol – 100 Fly
  • Lucas DuMez (WCDS) – 100 Free and 100 Breast, with new cuts this week 200 Free and 100 Back

Here are the relays that have hit the cut:

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

I will not list names for these relays because it is impossible to tell who will actually swim.  You are eligible for me to enter you on a relay at States if you have swum on that relay during the season when it hit the cut, but that doesn’t mean I will be able to actual enter you to swim.  We go to States to try to bring home a State Championship or State Runner-up. If I feel like we have a legitimate shot at one of those titles, it would not be unusual for me to use some of our top swimmers in 3 relays and only one individual event because relays score so many points.  Time – and your times – will clarify this situation for all of us.

The National Catholic High School Championship is at Loyola University in Baltimore on January 21-22nd with prelims in the morning on January 21st and finals on Sunday, January 22nd.  We also have a meet that afternoon, so depending on how many girls qualify, we’ll have to discuss later how we are going to handle that.

Here’s who has qualified for National Catholics so far:

  • Anna Kenna – 50 and 100 Free
  • Caroline Griffin – 100 Back
  • Mairead Geiran – 50, 100, and 200, with new cuts this week in 200IM and 100 Fly
  • Dani Flook – 50 Free

And here are the relays that have hit the National Catholic cut.  Once again, I will not attempt to project the line-ups for these relays yet:

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

An eligibility report for both meets is posted under Meet & Team Information.  If you are listed under Event #101 or #102 for States, that means that you have qualified for the Bonus 50 Free.  The Bonus 50 Free is an extra event in which you can participate only if you qualify in some other event, including a relay.

Opportunities to Improve

I was getting pretty grumpy during the meet – I’m sure a few of you noticed.  Let me give you four (4) reasons why:

  1. Uniforms – We have supplied every member of the team with a t-shirt, shorts and swim cap for a reason. This is our team uniform.  If you are in the team area, I expect you to be in your blue shirt and shorts.  If you are in the water, including warm-up, I expect you to be wearing your team cap.  I also expect the Captains to keep me from ever having to say another word on the topic.
  2. Missed Events – As Coach Dalrymple told me, “News Flash – there’s no Clerk of Course”. We are not 8-Unders anymore.  We are on a high school swim team, even you 7th  You should be able to get behind the block at the right time without any adult supervision.  And yes, 100 Fly comes right after 100 Free – as it has for years and as it shows on the posted meet programs.
  3. Cheering for your Teammates and the Final Handshake – at the end of the meet, I was standing in our team area with the TCS coach, and I was embarrassed to ask him, “where’s my team?”. Mairead Geiran had that amazing anchor leg in the 400 Free Relay – how many of you saw it?  Some of you participated in the post-meet handshake, but not enough to even have a recognizable line.  This is not a USA meet.  You are done with the team is done, then you can shower.
  4. Respect for Fr. Noah – we are so lucky to have a Priest at All Saints who cares enough to come all the way down to Warrenton for a swim meet. I’ve been doing this for 16 years, and I’ve never seen such a thing.  How many of you greeted Fr. Noah and spoke with him?  I was so embarrassed to see him standing alone in our empty team area while so many of you went and took care of yourselves.  Noah is humble enough to never ask for this, but I’m not:  for the rest of your lives, when you are in the presence of a Catholic Priest, you should, at a bare minimum, be sure to greet them with a welcoming smile and handshake.  These men commit their lives to you, and you should always show them the respect they deserve.

Final Notes

There’s been so much to say, but I’m 5,500 words into this thing so let’s wrap it up with some final notes:

  • We’ve largely wrapped up Butterfly, so we are ready to start Breaststroke tomorrow. By Christmas break, I hope to build each of those stokes from scratch plus the related turns.  This Thursday, Coach Reid Owen is coming back to teach us some techniques specific to sprinting.
  • On New Year’s Eve, December 31st, we’ll have our annual Cystic-Fibrosis swim-a-thon. Thanks again to the Given family for running it again.  There’s a link on the home page for each family to set up a fundraising page.  I’m not asking for big money here, but I am asking for participation.  The come join us at 10:00 on New Year’s Eve to swim 200 lengths of the pool.  If you think you can’t do it, you are probably right – but I know differently.  It is amazing what you can do it you’ll just try.

Our next meet is our annual Homecoming Invitational on Saturday afternoon at Central Park.  Our warm-up is at 2:00 p.m. so please be on deck ready to stretch before 1:39 p.m. Invite your alumni siblings and friends, and maybe we’ll even get some of them in the water!

See you Monday morning,

Coach Jim Koehr

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