Last Saturday, we traveled out to the beautiful Fitch WARF in Warrenton, VA for the annual Delaney Athletic Conference Championship meet, and once again, it was a very competitive meet for both our boys and our girls. The meet was especially tight for our Girls, who won the meet by only ½ of a point over Trinity Christian, 300 to 299.5 – after probably the most consequential heat of 100 Breaststroke in Seton Swimming history. Wow!
Congratulations to Seton senior Anna Kenna who was named co-Swimmer of the Meet of after breaking two DAC records in 50 Free and 100 Free. Anna will leave Seton with the three (3) DAC records, including 100 Fly also.
For the second time, the meet was hosted by Trinity Christian School, and they certainly ran one of the best Conference Championship meets that I have been a part of – and I’ve been a part of DAC Swimming since 2001. It turned out to be a great team effort with Seton for many aspects of the meet. With the great parent volunteers that we have at Seton, the TCS/Seton team was unbeatable in the meet-running department. I was so pleased to watch Charles Seltman, Bill Dealey, Hank Konstanty, John Kleb, Therese Griffin, Dan Flook, and Chris Caron step up to help wherever it was necessary.
Last year, our girls lost to Trinity Christian in this meet by 42 points – the first time ever – but this year, we were able to avenge the loss with the closest score in DAC history. Prior to the meet, I scored the psych sheet and we were looking at a 40-point victory. So Trinity Christian outswam their seeds to the tune of 39.5 points – pretty strong.
Congratulations Trinity Christian School Girls! All of us who watched their Coach, Andy Gingrich, their Athletic Director, Cheryl King, and their DAC Champs meet host, Jennifer Fletcher, work last Saturday night could have nothing but admiration for what they have put together in such a short time. I think they can give Hampton Roads Academy a run for the VISAA Division II title and, at a minimum, I don’t see anyone who can keep them from winning the State runner-up – except maybe Seton 😉
Fortunately for us though, the actual DAC conference championship has always been determined by the results of the regular season. This year, the Athletic Directors decided that the regular season champion would be determined by one selected meet during the regular season. In our case, the Highland Invitational was that meet for most of our DAC opponents. By virtue of the fact that we were undefeated against all conference teams during those selected in-season meetings, both our Boys and our Girls are repeat conference champions.
For the Seton’s Girls, it is our 24th consecutive DAC Conference championship in swimming. For Seton’s Boys, this was our 21st DAC Conference championship.
Here’s how the final scores looked on Saturday.
Trinity Christian School 299.5
Fredericksburg Academy 146
Fredericksburg Christian 131
Chelsea Academy 32
Fredericksburg Christian 202
Fredericksburg Academy 165
Trinity Christian School 152
Randolph-Macon Academy 81
Chelsea Academy 59
Michael the Archangel 33
Medal Winners and All-Conference Swimmers for Seton
One unique form of recognition available to our swimmers at this meet was the possibility of being designated “All-Conference”. All-Conference recognition goes to any swimmer that gets a gold, silver or bronze medal in an individual event.
One thing that you will notice is that we only Anna Kenna won a Gold medal for Seton in the entire meet, yet our Girls still won, and our Boys won handily. That’s what happens when so many different swimmers can score, even our younger swimmers. It is very cool to have so many Freshman and Sophomores on this list!
Here are Seton’s All-Conference Swimmers for 2017-2018:
- Anna Kenna (JR) was the Swimmer of the Meet, a 2X DAC Champion and 2X All-Conference swimmer! In spite of the fact that Anna wasn’t feeling well, she smoked the 100 Back field to win the Gold medal by 6.47 seconds, and she took the Gold medal in 100 Free against Trinity Christian’s top sprinter in a DAC Record time of 53.08. That 100 Free race was a particularly good race for Anna. She knew that the key would be to get out fast so that the TCS girl would never believe that she had a chance, and that’s just how Anna swam it. She went out in a blazing 25.43 to take a lead that she never relinquished. In the relays, Anna also swam very well. In our Silver medal 200 Medley Relay, she split 25.47 in 50 Fly (yes, that is a Fly split, not freestyle!) and leading off our Silver medal 200 Free Relay, Anna broke the DAC Conference 50 Free Record with a time of 24.63. I think Anna is ready for States!
- Alex Ceol (SR) was a 2X All-Conference swimmer with a Silver medal in 100 Fly and a Bronze medal in 200 Free. In 100 Fly, had was able to out-touch a strong Wakefield swimmer by only .15 seconds with a near perfect finish – head down, long reach. But it was his 200 Free that really impressed me even more. Alex took it out in a very fast 57.69 for the first 100 and left it all in the pool for the 2nd That’s how you swim a 200-yard race! In the end, he just missed Silver by only .36 seconds. It was a great swim. Alex was also great in the relays. In the Medley Relay, his Fly leg helped Seton to the Silver medal over a very fast Fredericksburg Christian team, and in the 400 Free Relay, his season-best 54.52 anchor split jumped Seton up to the Bronze medal.
- Caroline Griffin (SO) had one of her best meets ever. She became a 2X All-Conference swimmer with a Silver and Bronze medal in the 200 IM and 100 Back. Her 200 IM was a 1.48 second PR over two TCS girls and her 100 Back was a 1.00 second PR that just missed the Silver medal by .19 seconds. Caroline was also excellent in the relays. She led off our Silver medal Medley Relay with a .20 second PR 30.26 50 Backstroke and she also had a strong lead-off leg on our 400 Free Relay that sealed the Meet victory for Seton.
- Shane Koehr (SO) swam a huge 1.95 second PR in 100 Backstroke to take the Bronze medal and become an All-Conference swimmer for the first time. He has been working so hard in practice – I can’t describe how pleased I am to see him get such great results from his efforts in Coach Lowell’s lanes. Shane also earned a Silver medal leading off the Medley Relay with a near-lifetime best 28.82. Finally, Shane finished off the evening in our “B” 400 Free Relay where he almost split under 1:00 for the first time. It was definitely a great evening for Shane!
- Jacob Alsup (SO) is an All-Conference swimmer during his first year on the team! He did it with a 5.22 second PR in the 500 Free, finishing just .67 seconds ahead of teammate Jerry Dalrymple for the Bronze medal. Jacob also took a Bronze medal in the 400 Free Relay with a lifetime best split of 57.41.
- David Flook (SO) was a serious over-achiever with his All-Conference Bronze medal swim in 100 Breaststroke. He entered the meet seeded 4th behind one of Fredericksburg Christian’s top swimmers, but he dropped 2.16 seconds from his PR to jump up to the Bronze medal. David is Seton’s most versatile swimmer, able to compete in all four strokes, so not surprisingly, he also did quite well (5th place) in the 200 IM.
- Jack Santschi (FR) was one of the few freshman boys ever to achieve All-Conference honors with his tremendous .43 second PR 55.45 100 Free. That time was fast enough to claim the Bronze medal behind two seniors. In 100 Back, Jack lowered his PR by another .41 seconds and scored in 6th Jack was also superior in the relays. In our Bronze medal 200 Free Relay, he split a lifetime best 24.05 and in our Bronze medal 400 Free Relay, he led off with a very fast 56.49.
How Did Our Girls Win?
That was much too close for comfort! I did our meet line-up a little differently, choosing to concentrate on opportunities for swimmers to break records and make All-Conference, but based on a projected score of the Psych Sheet, we still should have won by 40 points.
Well it certainly didn’t turn out that way.
The meet got scary fairly early on as we fell way behind our projected seeds a number of times through 100 Butterfly, but very strong showings in 100 Free, 500 Free and 100 Backstroke got us back in the game. Anna Kenna was in two of those events which is always an advantage, but once again, it was our depth that proved to be our great strength. As you will see below, the backbreaker for Trinity Christian was the 500 Free and an incredibly consequential heat of 100 Breaststroke.
It is no overstatement to say that everyone who swam a scoring race made an important contribution to this victory.
Let me show you what I mean by reviewing our plan for each event and comparing it to what actually happened:
Girls 200 Medley Relay
In our previous meeting with TCS on January 5th, we stole a first place in the relay, but Trinity was ready for us this time. Caroline Griffin led-off with a PR 30.26 and Mary Heim followed with a 35.42 to have us very close at the 100.
Then Anna Kenna jumped in against TCS’s top Butterflier Brook Williams. Anna split an amazing 25.47 to give us a slight lead, but the lead was only slight – Brook Williams nearly matched that incredible split with a 25.75 of her own. Mary Pennefather (8) jumped in for the anchor and swam an outstanding 26.46, but that wasn’t enough to take the Anna’s eventual co-Swimmer of the Meet, Annalise Cornett.
Even though our Relay swam a 1.62 second PR, we still got the Silver medal – but that was what was projected, so we were still on schedule.
Girls 200 Freestyle
On the Psych Sheet, we were projected to get 3rd, 6th, 8th and 10th, which would win the event overall, but we ended up with 4th, 7th, 9th and 12th. That was more the result of some great swimming by Trinity Christian’s Laurel Schmidt and Jenna Phillips that poor swimming by Seton. In fact, Julia Rowzie took 4th after swimming a .38 second PR.
The killer was that Jenna Phillips jumped up from the 7th seed to take the Bronze medal and push all of our swimmers down the scoring ladder. TCS’s Caroline Sicks also same a 2.30 second PR and jumped ahead of two of our swimmers.
So instead of winning the event by 5 points, we lost it by 7. That was a 13-point swing in one event, but there was still plenty of swimming left – and we had a 40 point buffer to play with.
Girls 200 IM
The bleeding continued in this event, but not because of Caroline Griffin! Caroline was seeded 3rd and jumped up to the Silver medal by beating her seed time from earlier this season by 4.88 seconds.
Emily Flynn, Katharine Rowzie and Teresa Bingham held Seton’s seeds, but unfortunately, the two TCS swimmers moved up behind Caroline to take 3rd and 4th.
Girls 50 Free
This event was a killer, once again because of some great swimming on the part of Trinity Christian who jumped up from the 2nd and 6th seeds to 1st and 5th. For the most part, our girls were close to their seed times, but rather than 5th, 7th and 12th, we only got 7th, 9th and 12th.
That was A LOT of points to lose. A meet that was supposed to be close but in our favor at this point was now trending strongly against us. The other coaches and I were starting to wonder.
Girls 100 Butterfly
The bleeding wasn’t over. Trinity Christian held their 1st and 4th seeds and Emily Flynn had a nice swim to hold her 5th seed. Unfortunately, our projected 6th, 7th and 9th turned into 8th, 9th and 10th resulting in an event score that went from +3 to -5.
Through only five (5) girls events, our projected 9 point lead had become a 22 point deficit. 31 points of our 40-point buffer was gone!
We needed to score big in the 100 Free and the 500 Free to get this thing back under control.
Girls 100 Freestyle
For the first time in the meet, we outperformed our seeds in an event – and it was not a moment too soon.
Anna Kenna was supposed to win, and she did in a DAC record time of 53.08. To join Anna in the fun, Julia Rowzie swam a 1.75 second PR 1:02.25 to take 6th place, Isabelle Luevano held 7th and Mary Pennefather swam a .75 second PR to jump from 9th to 8th.
Whew! We really needed that. But we were still in a pretty big hole.
Girls 500 Freestyle
The coaches are I were just dying to get to the 500 Free because we knew that the cavalry of Katharine Rowzie, Anne Konstanty, Elizabeth Caron and Katie Albin would be there to rescue us. As a group, they were seeded 4th, 5th, 7th and 9th, and they ended up scoring 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th!
They all swam well, but Elizabeth Caron was the star of the show for us where her 10.61 second PR to claim 9 points for 6th place rather than only 7 points for 7th place. In retrospect, that swim was one of the many that saved the meet for Seton.
For the first time that evening, we were in the lead.
Girls 200 Freestyle Relay
Even with Anna Kenna, I knew there was no way that we could hang with the Trinity Christian sprinters, so our best hope was to limit the damage by getting the Silver medal.
And that is exactly what happened. Anna led-off with her 2nd DAC Record of the night (50 Free in 24.63) and was followed by Isabelle Luevano’s 27.98, Julia Rowzie’s lifetime best 27.85 and Mary Pennefather’s 27.26. That was enough to hold off a very fast Fredericksburg Christian relay to get us the 26 points we need to stay close to Trinity Christian.
Had they not swum a .71 second Relay PR, they would have placed 3rd and we would have lost the meet.
Girls 100 Backstroke
This was the event where we ultimately scored enough points to seal the victory – but it wasn’t obvious at the time, especially when Trinity’s Becca Klanderman jumped up from the 4th seed to the Silver medal with a nearly 5 second PR.
Anna Kenna won by more than 6 seconds as expected, and Caroline Griffin’s great State qualifying PR swim held her 3rd seed – those two All-Conference finishes scored a ton of points for us.
We still lost some ground over our projection when 6th and 9th place seeds became 9th and 11th, but a big part of that was my fault. I accidently had Elizabeth Caron in this event immediately after her great swim in the 500 Free. Ooops! But Elizabeth still managed to score and still managed to come within a second of her Backstroke PR. Amazing!
At this point, we were really sweating because we knew that Trinity was going to score 32 points in the 400 Free Relay and we were seeded 5th (only 20 points). We had a 12 point lead, and we knew it was likely to disappear in the final event. We needed to beat them in Breaststroke.
Girls 100 Breaststroke
The projection for this event was to lose it by one point. That would put us ahead by only 11 points and put Trinity Christian in position to beat us by one point on the last relay.
If there was ever a time for four (4) season-best times from all four of our entries, now was it! Especially when Trinity Christian swimmers took both Gold and Silver when they were supposed to take Gold and Bronze.
But here came Mary Heim, Annie Cuccinelli, Katie Albin and Ashley Cackett. They were seeded 4th, 5th, 6th and 9th. With a .40 second PR by Mary, a 2.43 second PR by Annie, a .76 second PR by Katie and a 2.19 second PR by Ashley, we ended up in 4th, 5th, 7th and 8th.
The difference became the TCS 7th seed, who had a great swim that was exactly her seed time. Unfortunately for TCS – and very fortunately for Seton – a Wakefield swimmer named Kayla Swede dropped 2.42 to exactly tie the TCS swimmer for 9th. That was 3.5 points.
Had Ashley Cackett not jumped ahead of the TCS swimmer with her PR, that tie would have been worth 4.5 points and TCS would have beaten US by .5 points instead of us beating THEM by .5 points!
Girls 400 Free Relay
Before this event, we didn’t understand the score as clearly as it sounds in my description here. We knew it was super-close and we were terrified that if Trinity Christian got 1st place, which seemed like a forgone conclusion, and we got 5th place, which was our seed, we could lose.
I got the relay together. They were seeded with their best time so far this season of 4:13.19, but I knew the sum of their best splits was 4:08. The 2nd through 4th seeds were all in at around 4:10, so I the girls that we needed a 4:08, do or die.
And that’s what Caroline Griffin, Emily Flynn, Anne Konstanty and Isabelle Luevano delivered – a 4:08.02. What more could I ask for? Even with that great swim, they still took the 20 points for 5th place – but it wasn’t 6th!
Fortunately for my stress level, Coach Lowell and I had figured out by then that 5th place would be enough to secure the victory.
I don’t know if you are tired reading this story as I am writing it, but it was quite draining in real time let me tell you.
Congratulations to the Seton Girls!
Finalizing our State Meet Entries
The State Championship Meet is this Friday and Saturday, February 16-17th. I have submitted our State Meet entries, and they are now posted. We are bringing 24 Seton swimmers and to the Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport Center in Stafford this year.
I published our final entries on Sunday, and the Psych Sheet is now posted. It looks like Anna Kenna should be able to come back twice for Championship Finals in 100 Free and 100 Backstroke, and that our Girls 200 Medley Relay and 200 Free Relay should have a good chance to come back for the Consolation Finals.
I was very excited to see some new swimmers qualify individually on Saturday night with some tremendous swimming:
- David Flook’s (SO) All-Conference swim in 100 Breaststroke got him under the State cut for the first time ever. It took an amazing 2.16 second PR during the last meet of the year, but he pulled it off!
- Mary Heim (JR) has been working on her stroke technique and it paid off with a State qualifying time for 100 Breaststroke of 1:18.72. That was .40 seconds faster than she’s ever swum before.
We had 31 personal records on Saturday which means that almost exactly 50% of our individual swims resulted in a lifetime best – not a bad way to end the conference season! And remember as you are looking through these notes that finishes up through 12th place scored points in this meet.
Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned:
- Ben Ceol (SR) had a great final swim in 100 Backstroke, lowering his PR by an amazing 4.20 seconds!
- Christian Ceol (SO) had two PRs including a 1.00 drop in 100 Backstroke and a .38 second drop in 100 Free
- Annie Cuccinelli (SO) didn’t just have a meet-saving swim in 100 Breaststroke, she also cut .53 seconds in 50 Free.
- Drew Dalrymple (SO) lowered his 100 Fly PR by an amazing 3.98 seconds!
- Ben Dealey (SR) had an amazing final meet with a 1.98 second PR in 100 Free and a .76 second PR in 50 Free. 65 was Ben’s final 50 Free time – great work Ben!
- Kevin Geiran (SR) was on fire. How about a .28 second PR in 100 Free, a .14 second PR in 50 Free (24.99!) and a .74 second PR leading off a 400 Free Relay (56.95!)
- Liam Kellogg (FR) finished his breakout season strong with a huge 3.10 second PR in 100 Fly and a huge 2.96 second PR in 200 IM!
- Seamus Koehr (SR) rocked his 200 Free, cutting 3.19 seconds from his PR to take 6th
- Colette Waldron (JR) ended her season with a final .19 second PR in 100 Free.
Some Final Notes on States
I’ve posted a document called “Everything You Need to Know About States” in the hopes that it literally tells you that. I’m continually updating it as plans firm up.
A few things I’d like to highlight from that document:
- Our team uniform at States is an embroidered Rugby shirt. If you got one last year, don’t forget to bring it. If you are new to the State team this year, you can thank Mrs. Kenna for making the arrangements to get one for you.
- The Chief is allowing the State Team to wear them to school on Thursday – over your uniforms.
- By now, ever swimmer that is going should have a ride and a room with a parent or someone a parent designates.
- The admission fees set by VISAA are pretty stout: $10/person/day with a $30/day family maximum. I fought it all the way to the top of VISAA, but I lost.
- Any team member in a team uniform will be admitted for free, so where your Seton Swimming Rugby shirt!
- Several of the State Team members are swimming on only one of the two days. I will leave it up to the parents, but they are welcomed to participate in everything with us even on the days that they are not swimming. Seniors are also welcomed to join us.
Two more practices – let’s get ready to race!
Coach Jim Koehr