Last Saturday, we traveled down to St. Michael the Archangel for the annual Delaney Athletic Conference championship meet, and once again, we took the championship meet title for the girls. The actual conference champion is determined by the regular season records, and by virtue of the fact that we were undefeated against conference teams for another entire season, the Seton’s Girls secured their 22nd straight conference championship in swimming.
The girls also won the Conference Championship meet against a very strong first year team from Trinity Christian School. Their coach, Andy Gingrich, did a tremendous job getting their team up and running. Congratulations Trinity Christian for being the conference runner-up in your very first season. They had me worried after the first time I saw them in the water 😉 And I know they are going to surprise some people at States. It wouldn’t surprise me if they brought home the Girls Division II State Runner-up trophy.
On the Boys side, up to this year, we had won the conference championship for 18 straight years, and the last time we lost the conference championship meet was the first year that I was Head Coach back in the ’02-’03 season when we lost the meet to Fredericksburg Academy – but both of those streaks ended two years ago the hands of Fredericksburg Christian – but not this year! During the regular season, we beat the FCS boys by 4 points in our first meeting and we tied in the 2nd meeting, so with the conference championship determined by the first two meets – and our boys won their 19th Conference Championship by 4 only points!
At Saturday’s meet to determine the Conference Championship Meet winner, FCS got our boys back with a 4 point victory – sort of ironic actually that it was exactly 4 points. So while our Seton boys took home the Conference Championship trophy, a very good FCS Boys team took home the Conference Meet trophy. Congratulations to the FCS Boys team – they really swam well, especially on their very powerful relays. I’d expect their relays to do quite well at States, and maybe even get them the Division II State Runner-up trophy.
Here’s how the final scores looked on Saturday.
Trinity Christian School 275
Fredericksburg Academy 160
Fredericksburg Christian 119
St. Michael the Archangel 77
Wakefield Country Day 40
Chelsea Academy 5
Fredericksburg Christian 270
Trinity Christian School 155
St. Michael the Archangel 109
Fredericksburg Academy 108
Wakefield Country Day 49
Randolph-Macon Academy 38
The DAC is Getting More Competitive
One thing is for sure, DAC Swimming has gotten a lot more competitive, and I don’t think that is going to change anytime soon. Here’s a trend of the DAC Championship Meet scores since 2003. You can see that for many years, we would regularly double or nearly double the 2nd place team’s score – but not any longer.
I was looking back at 2010. At the DAC Championship meet, we won every single event except for the Girls Medley relay, which had just won by more than a length of the pool but was DQ’d (I’ll never forget that! ;-)). That year, we also held every single DAC Short-course yard record except the 50 Free – we had three girls that year who could all go much faster than the record but didn’t get the chance because DAC Champs was held in a meter pool.
But those days are behind us. With the emergence of Trinity Christian and Fredericksburg Christian, we are going to have to earn every victory for the foreseeable future.
And that’s OK because it is just going to make us better. We do our best when we are pushed, and we are now being pushed. If you’ve been watching many of the younger swimmers on our team this year, I think you are going to see that we are up for the challenge!
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 had a single Gold medal in the entire meet, yet we won the girls handily and almost won the boys. That’s what happens when so many different swimmers can score, even our younger swimmers. It is very cool to have two (2) 8th graders on this list!
Here are Seton’s All-Conference Swimmers for 2015-2016:
- Anna Kenna (SO) is a DAC Champion and 2X All-Conference Swimmer! Anna smoked the 100 Back to win the Gold medal by more than 5.5 seconds, and she took the Silver medal in 100 Free with a great race against Trinity Christian’s top swimmer. Her 100 Free time was a season best. I think she’s ready to head to States!
- Claire Kenna (SR) is a 2X All-Conference Swimmer with her Silver medal in 100 Breaststroke and her Bronze medal in 50 Free. Both of Claire’s races were in very competitive heats where she swam season best times. Her “quick hands” in breaststroke seemed to make all the difference for her. Hopefully we get a chance to get in the water this week so we can work a bit more on her underwater – I think she can final at States!
- Kimberly Rector (SR) had a very courageous race in the 500 Free to take the Silver medal and All-Conference honors. Swimming with an injured wrist resulting from a skiing accident, she was leading for most of the race until the pain reached the point where she was in no position for any big push in the last 100. Fortunately, she had built such a big lead that holding on for 2nd was easily possible. I was very proud of Kimberly on Saturday!
- Emily Heim (SR) had a great meet on Saturday. She earned All-Conference honors in 100 Breaststroke with her Bronze medal finish, and she scored in 4th place in 100 Free with a .47 second PR.
- Martin Quinan (SO) had a great .65 second PR swim to take the Bronze medal over a very strong FCS senior who was their top breaststroker. In addition to that All-Conference swim, Martin also scored in 7th place in the 200 IM.
- Alex Ceol (SO) wrapped up his season with an All-Conference swim that earned the Bronze medal in 100 Butterfly. Also all scored in 6th place in 200 Free with a .99 second PR.
- David Flook (8) finished with the Bronze medal and All-Conference honors in the very difficult 200 IM – an 8th grader that can swim all four (4) strokes – I just love it! David also scored in 7th place in 100 Back.
- Caroline Griffin (8) really shined brightly on Saturday earning her first All-Conference honors with a Bronze medal in 100 Backstroke. She had a very close race most of the way with Trinity Christian’s top seeded backstroker (a freshman who is not going away Caroline ;-)), but Caroline pulled away to touch ahead of her now and future rival to finish with a 1.33 second PR. Caroline also scored in 4th place in the 200 IM with a 1.79 second PR – another 8th grader who can swim all four (4) strokes!
Championship Meets are won with relays
There are 48 possible individual medals, and as you see from above, we only won 10 of them. That’s not bad, but the big points in this meet were scored by our relays. In a high school championship meet, relays typically score double the points of an individual events.
The traditional depth that we’ve always had at Seton has long been the foundation of many great relays, and that depth was on display again Saturday when our Girls took home a Gold and a Bronze medal plus a 4th. The reason the Girls meet was as close as it was is because Trinity Christian’s girls took one Gold medal and two Silver medals.
Our Boys took home three 4th place finishes in the relays. While they swam well in the 200 Medley Relay, it is hard to win without any relay medals – and we still almost did!
Here are some of our top-performing relays from Saturday:
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay took the gold medal by nearly 4.5 seconds over a strong Trinity Christian squad. Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Kimberly Rector and Claire Kenna just rocked the pool, particularly Anna’s lead-off leg. I’m hoping that this relay can swim well enough to come back for finals on Friday night at States – it’s going to be close, but I think they can do it! This relay was Kimberly’s first swim since her skiing accident – she had a great split considering the pain.
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Bridget O’Malley, Emily Heim, Anna Kenna, and Claire Kenna found themselves behind early, but with Anna and Claire on the backend, we almost came back. Claire Kenna’s great anchor leg of 25.54 made up a lot of ground on the TCS anchor but ended up with the Silver medal, but only by .67 seconds. Bridget O’Malley swam a big .63 second PR in the lead-off spot.
- Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Meghan O’Malley, Julia Rowzie, Bridget O’Malley and Reilly Cuccinelli took 4th place, and our “B” Relay also did very well.
- Our girls 400 Free “B” Relay of Caroline Griffin, Ashley Cackett, Bryanna Farmer and Vivian Zadnik would have taken 5th place had they been eligible to score. Their time was excellent – it crushed the State cut so this group will be joining us in Christiansburg. Ashley Cackett had a particularly good split of 1:06.89.
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Matthew Fioramonti, Martin Quinan, Will Arnold and Andrew Quinan took 4th place behind some strong swimming, particularly Andrew Quinan’s 23.84 anchor leg and Matt Fioramonti’s 1.02 second PR lead-off backstroke leg.
- I think we are going to have to work some more on relay starts this coming week. We had a number of swimmers who were really slow off the blocks – we have to get better in this area for States.
- Sounds like a coaching problem if it is happening that frequently. Coach Lowell is going to need to fix this during the upcoming week 😉
- One other important note on relays: Do NOT listen to the timers when they try to tell you who is on the relay. The relay cards are often printed before final relay line-ups are set, and Timers are NOT officials. We all need to be respectful of adults, so if a timer tries to tell you something that is wrong, just tell them “my coach is making us swim it this way”. A lot of heartache could have been saved on Saturday if well-meaning timers from other teams understood the rules, including that they have no role in enforcing them.
We had 29 personal records on Saturday (same as the last two years oddly enough!) which means that 45% 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.
Two of the new PRs resulted in new State Qualifying times:
- Matthew Fioramonti (SR) had the meet of his life from what I could see. In 100 Back he cut 1.84 seconds from his PR to go 1:03.72, he beat the state cut handily, and he scored in 4th In the 200 IM, he cut 8.38 seconds and scored in 5th place.
- Andrew Quinan (SR) also had a tremendous meet. Leading off the 200 Free relay, Andrew cut .33 seconds from his 50 Free PR to go 24.20 and hit the State cut! Andrew also dropped .88 seconds in 100 Free and .75 seconds in 200 Free. All three (3) swims were the fastest on our team this year.
- Josh Miller (JR) Miller had a great swim leading off the 200 Free relay with a .67 second PR. With that 25.83 swim, Josh qualified for the Bonus exhibition 50 Free event at States.
- Mary Heim (FR) broke :30 for the first time in 50 Free with her .76 second PR leading off the 200 Free relay. She even got to swim the anchor in that relay also 😉 Her 29.28 was fast enough to qualify her for the Bonus exhibition 50 Free at States.
Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned:
- Will Arnold (SR) rocked the 50 Free going 25.80 for a new PR. Will was entered as exhibition so he could have a second swim while he was down there. Had he been official, he would have finished 7th, he would have scored 7 points, and we would have won the meet! There’s just no accounting for bad coaching, huh Will?
- Ashley Cackett (SO) crushed her PR in 100 Fly by 6.62 seconds! That swim got us 7 points for 7th
- Drew Dalrymple (8) touched all 19 walls on the first try in his 500 Free and cut another 7.94 seconds from his PR as a result. Drew’s 6:28.80 is an excellent time for someone his age. I can’t wait to see what he can do as he gets older!
- Joe Fioramonti (SO) had a tremendous swim in 100 Back, lowering his PR by 2.41 seconds to score in 9th
- David Flook (8) led off a 400 Free relay with a .21 second PR in 100 Free.
- Caroline Griffin (8) led off a medley relay with a big .76 second PR in 50 Back.
- Patrick Hall (SR) sure ended his season in style – how about a 59.56 in 100 Free! His 1.58 second PR got him under 1:00 for the first time ever. Way to end the season on a high note Patrick!
- Seamus Koehr (SO) had a nice swim in the 200 IM with his .12 second PR.
- Shane Koehr (8) proved that his great 100 Backstroke swim at the Division II Invite was no fluke. He dropped again on Saturday by another .30 seconds!
- Bridget O’Malley (SO) took advantage of her chance to PR leading off the 200 Free Relay. She swam 50 Free from a flat start .63 seconds faster than ever before.
- Cat Pechie (JR) did a very fine job in the 200 Free. I challenged her to beat a girl in the next heat who was seeded 3.5 seconds ahead of her, and Cat almost did it! Cat cut 4.76 seconds from her PR and came within .51 seconds of getting it done. Her swim was good enough to score in 9th Nice work Cat!
- Therese Pechie (FR) also had a great swim in the 200 Free, dropping 4.46 seconds to score in 7th I guess the Pechie girls were really pushing each other!
- Julia Rowzie (SO) swam 500 Free 4.62 seconds than ever before and scored in 9th place as a result.
- Brendan Santschi (SO) had a great swim in 100 Fly, cutting his PR by 3.39 seconds to take the 12th place point for Seton. Brendan also scored in 7th place in the 500 Free after a 2.85 second PR. Not a bad way to end the season Brendan.
- Vivian Zadnik (SR) jumped up to 7th place with her 3.71 second PR in 200 IM.
The State Championship Meet is this Friday and Saturday, February 19-20th
I have submitted our State Meet entries, and they are now posted. We are bringing 24 swimmers to the Christiansburg Aquatic Center this year.
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.
I have posted details of the logistical arrangements in an “Everything You Need to Know” type document, but here are a couple other things for parents to understand about the meet:
- The admission fees set by VISAA are brutal: $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 t-shirt or rugby shirt!
- We need to supply two (2) timers for Friday morning Prelims. I’d appreciate it if someone could take that off my plate.
- 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.
I’m hoping we can get into the water at least one more time, maybe even Wednesday morning – let’s get ready to race!
Coach Jim Koehr