We’ve only had five (5) days in the water, and we’ve only concentrated on learning freestyle so far, but I was very excited for the progress I’m already seeing.
For those families new to the team, let me give you a little of the background philosophy behind this blog – a weekly summary of what happened during the weekend’s swim meet. I equate success with excellence – in all we do – because I believe that excellence is not merely compatible with Catholicism – excellence is required by Catholicism. So my working definition of success is this: I am successful when I am maximizing my abilities and helping others to do that same.
That is why you will always see an emphasis from me on improvement. It does not matter where you are today. What matters is that you are working hard to get better tomorrow. Of course, improvement doesn’t really happen on the weekend, it just shows up on the weekend. Improvement happens on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning.
One of our primary improvement metrics is Personal Records or “PRs”. Every time you hit the water, I’m looking for a personal best effort. That does not always result in a PR, but, barring extraordinary circumstances, eventually it will. So the purpose of our annual time trials meet is to ensure that we have a baseline on every kid against which to measure progress.
And the purpose of this blog is to highlight those improvements. Unfortunately, I simply cannot highlight the performances of 79 kids every week. I will do my best to highlight all 79 at some point, but one thing I guarantee: If you swim a PR, you will be highlighted.
All of this is not to say that we don’t care about winning. That would be silly, but I have noticed that if everyone on the team is consistently getting better, then the winning seems to take care of itself.
Where Did That Come From?
Every year at Time Trials, there always seem to be some kids that make themselves impossible not to notice. Their performances are so far beyond my expectations that it is simply exciting to see. Here are some of the kids who made me turn to another coach as say “who’s that?!”
- Michael Kenneally! It seemed like every time I looked up, he was winning his heat by huge margins. Seeded with his PR, it was no wonder. Compared to his previous bests, he was 20.21 seconds faster in 100 Free, 19.90 seconds faster in 100 Back, 16.04 seconds faster in 100 Breaststroke, 13.64 seconds faster in 50 Fly and 3.35 seconds faster in 50 Free.
- Brian Koehr has improved so much since last season that even I didn’t recognize him in the water a couple of times! He was really focused during his time swimming high school prep with the Nation’s Capital Swim Club (formerly Curl-Burke) and the results really showed. His most striking improvement came in 100 Breaststroke when he cut 16.29 seconds with a beautiful stroke that resulted in a time that is going to score a lot of points this season. He also cut 12.77 seconds in 50 Fly (is that even possible?), 9.44 seconds in 100 Back and 7.16 seconds in 100 Free.
- Tommy Flook showed that he’s going to be a real player this season. He had 5 PRs, all of which resulted in some really competitive times for a sophomore. Besides breaking 1:00 for the first time in 100 Free, he cut 4.71 seconds in 100 Breaststroke, 4.28 seconds in 100 Back, 2.91 seconds in 50 Fly and .06 seconds in 50 Free. His butterfly was particularly impressive looking. If you want to see what butterfly is supposed to look like, watch Tommy swim it.
- Anna Kenna is only in 7th grade, but she is already proving that she can swim with the big girls. Coach Lowell and I were trying to figure out if we’ve ever had a 7 grade girl break 1:00 in 100 Free and after going through all of the former Seton greats, we decided that it has never been done before. She also went 1:08 in 100 Back, 27.57 in 50 Free and 31.11 in 50 Fly – other amazing times for a 7th grade girl. Anna has the potential to be something really special – and by special, I mean she has the potential to join Katie Shipko, Kevin Koehr, Nevin Cook, Jameson Hill, and Alex Doonis as an individual State and National Catholic High School Champion.
- Andrew Quinan really had some special swims with some huge time drops. He dropped an incredible 26.41 seconds in 100 Breaststroke. He also cut 14.68 seconds from his 50 Fly PR, 10.81 seconds from his 100 Back PR, 5.10 seconds from his 100 Free PR and 1.17 seconds from his 50 Free PR. Let’s keep that up Andrew!
A Surprising Number of Personal Records (PRs)
We’ve been in the water a total of 5 days with some cross country runners having swum even less, but somehow we managed a surprising number of personal records. If you didn’t get a PR, there’s absolutely no reason to be concerned. The way I look at it, if you were anywhere near you be previous best time, you had an amazing performance – wait until you get back into shape!
But here were some more kids who managed to swim personal records in spite of their limited time in the water:
- Will Arnold swam a PR in all 5 events! He cut 9.60 seconds in 100 Breast, 9.18 seconds in 100 Back, 7.19 seconds in 100 Free, 1.76 seconds in 50 Fly and .98 seconds in 50 Free. Those were some very big drops!
- Mary Camarca continues the improvement trend from last season with a 3.11 second PR in 50 Fly, a 1.39 second PR in 100 Free and a .22 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.
- Jillian Ceol rocked with 2 personal records. In 100 Breaststroke, she cut 1.66 seconds and in 50 Fly, she cut 1.49 seconds.
- Tim Costello, coming off a very strong cross country season, is already off to a great start for swimming. He somehow managed to cut 10.21 seconds in 100 Back and 10.18 seconds in 100 Free. Great work Tim!
- Kenneth Cuomo is back after a short hiatus from Seton Swimming and already looking good. His 4 PRs included a drop of 6.76 seconds in 50 Fly, a drop of 4.13 seconds in 100 Breast, a drop of 3.07 seconds in 100 Free, and a drop of .68 seconds in 50 Free. His father was so excited that Kenneth was on the team, that he couldn’t resist jumping into the water himself before the meet!
- Patrick Dealey is also off to a great start this season with his 4 PR performance on Friday night. He cut 8.94 seconds in 100 Back, 5.36 seconds in 50 Fly, 2.82 seconds in 100 Breast, and 2.08 seconds in 10 Free.
- Elizabeth Earls has really been impressing me in practice so far this season. On Friday, she already cut 9.19 seconds in 50 Fly, 4.76 seconds in 100 Back and 1.00 seconds in 100 Free. I really like the way she focused on learning better technique in practices.
- Bryanna Farmer popped a PR in 100 Free by .40 seconds.
- Dani Flook avoided her father’s DQ slips by swimming really well this weekend. He cut 9.03 seconds in 100 Breast, 1.79 seconds in 100 Back, and .56 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Cecilia Garvey looked like she was having almost as much fun as her mother, especially after she lowered her 50 Fly PR by 3.69 seconds, her 100 Back PR by 1.01 seconds, and her 100 Free PR by .50 seconds.
- Allison Given brought a smile to my face when I watched her swim 100 Breaststroke 22.64 seconds faster than ever before. She also swam a personal best in 100 Back.
- Noelle Hickey had a nice 11.88 second PR in 100 Breast and another strong 3.04 second PR in 100 Free.
- Xavier Holl has rejoined the team after a short break and already managed to cut 1.07 seconds from his previous best 100 Free time.
- Claire Kenna also stepped up on Friday night to show that she’s going to be a real leader in the water for Seton. As fast as she was last season (she swam on two of our State relays as an 8th grader), she’s already 2.44 seconds in 100 Back, .64 seconds faster in 100 Free and .62 seconds faster in 50 Fly.
- It was great to see Connor Kleb doing so well and having so much fun. I’m sure his 1.94 second PR in 100 Breast and his .35 second PR in 50 Fly had something to do with that.
- John Paul Kleb is off to a great start with his five PRs on Friday. He cut 5.30 seconds in 100 Breaststroke, 5.17 seconds in 100 Back, 3.64 seconds in 50 Fly, 2.45 seconds in 100 Free and .05 seconds in 50 Free. Not a bad night’s work.
- Patrick Koehr missed a couple practices when he went to Staten Island with our Warrenton Parish (see the cover of this week’s Herald), but he still managed to swim a PR in 100 Back.
- Senior David Lambrecht is focused on having a great season. On Friday, he had a 5.71 second PR in 100 Breast, a 2.55 second PR in 50 Fly and a .15 second PR in 100 Free – not bad for someone who’s only had 5 practices.
- Senior Luke Marrazzo is going to have a great season as one of our top swimmers. It was great to see him really push himself during his races. It was also great to see his 1.99 second PR in 50 Fly and his .02 second PR in 50 Free.
- Sally Marrazzo was also looking very “long and strong”, especially during her 2.66 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Nice work Tommy Moore! He swam personal bests in 100 Free by 2.88 seconds and in 50 Fly by 2.26 seconds.
- John O’Donohue was super in 100 Backstroke, swimming 22.41 seconds faster than ever before. He was also faster in 100 Breast by 7.87 seconds, 100 Free by 1.91 seconds, and 50 Fly by .70 seconds.
- Mark O’Donohue also had an excellent evening of swimming with a 5.65 second PR in 100 Free and a 4.10 second PR in 50 Fly.
- McDonald’s before the meet wasn’t enough to stop Meghan O’Malley who swam 2 PRs in spite of not feeling well. In 100 Free, she best her previous best in 100 Free by 3.39 seconds and in 100 Back by 1.65 seconds.
- Cat Pechie swam very well with a 3.59 second PR in 100 Breaststroke, a 1.06 second PR in 100 Back and a .05 second PR in 100 Free.
- Paul Pechie also showed that he’s ready to compete for a lot of points this season with PRs in 100 Breast by 8.63 seconds, 100 Free by 4.89 seconds, 50 Fly by 2.46 seconds and 50 Free by .56 seconds.
- Ryan Pugh looks like he learned something about butterfly at the end of last season after he swam 50 Fly 8.50 seconds faster than ever before.
- Peter Quinan, a senior, showed that he’s going to score a whole lot of points this season with some really fine early season times in 50 Fly (5.67 second PR), 100 Breast (5.25 second PR), 100 Back (4.83 second PR) and 100 Free (.22 second PR)
- Welcome back Kimberly Rector! Nice work cutting 1.66 seconds from your 100 Free PR, 1.03 seconds from your 50 Fly PR, .79 seconds from your 100 Back PR, .69 seconds from your 100 Breast PR and .34 seconds from your 50 Free PR. And you cut that much from some pretty good times to start with!
- Meridyth Rosato swam 4 Personal Records including a 11.32 second PR in 50 Fly, a 8.50 second PR in 100 Breast, a 8.39 second PR in 100 Free, and a 6.84 second PR in 100 Back.
- Stephen Shaw just came off a strong cross country season to swim a 2.36 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.
- Alex Sinner managed to swim a .57 second PR in 100 Backstroke to take top honors in the event for the meet in spite of some pain in her hips. Nice work Alexandra!
- Jude Van de Voorde swam very well for his sister Grace who returned to the deck for Seton Swimming. He lowered his 100 Back PR by 9.09 seconds and his 100 Free PR by 6.97 seconds.
- Vivian Zadnik had a great evening with 4 PRs including a 6.79 second drop in 50 Fly, a 6.71 second drop in 100 Back, a 4.80 second drop in 100 Breast and a 1.88 second drop in 100 Free.
- Joe Zapiain’s 100 Free time is starting to get pretty good after he cut another 1.30 seconds off of his previous best. He also cut .01 seconds off of his previous best in 50 Free.
Some New Faces to Watch
We have twenty five (25) new kids on the team this year. That’s a very high number, but not unusual for Seton Swimming. Personally I enjoy seeing such a high percentage of the school population experience Seton Swimming and our philosophy of excellence in all things. It is also exciting to see new faces emerge as promising performers for this season or future seasons.
While it would be impractical to list everyone, here are a couple of the swimmers who have already struck me so far this season:
- Andrew Bishop joins us as an athletic sophomore who seems very eager to learn. I see some serious upside potential in Andrew, and I also see a great attitude to achieve it.
- Ashley Cackett is one of a large group of 7th graders new to the team this year. She always comes to practice with a smile on her face – ready to learn. I’m sure her freestyle times this weekend were faster than they would have been 1.5 weeks ago.
- Ben Ceol is another 7th grader who shows early promise. If he keeps working hard in practice and listening to the coaching he’s getting, this kid is going to be a real player for Seton
The Spirit of Seton Volunteerism
Another underlying purpose of time trials is to shake out the kinks in the process we use to run meets. It always takes us some time to establish who’s going to do what, so it serves as a great dry run.
We won’t normally need 24 timers for just our team for a meet, but one thing that worked particularly well was the timer recruiter function, largely because we have another group of parents so willing to step up and volunteer. As I’ve often said, “Swimming ain’t soccer – you don’t come to a meet with your lawn chair”. Everyone involved with the Seton Swim from Team President John Wunderly on down is a volunteer – that’s how things work at Seton and Seton Swimming. We use the novel approach at Seton that parents are the best teachers.
Opportunities for Improvement
As well as things went on Friday night, I want to highlight a couple of things that simply have to change:
- There is no reason to miss your event without permission from me – not another assistant coach, but me. Some kids somehow couldn’t manage to figure out where they were supposed to be and then get there. We have a high school swim team here so we can’t have swimmers waiting for someone to tell them what to do. A little personal responsibility is required.
- Even worse, we had swimmers who just decided they didn’t feel like swimming, so they skipped their event. That is definitely not going to work. I’m looking for your personal best effort in all things, even if today, that might not be objectively very good.
- And even worse than that, we had swimmers miss the meet without notifying me at all. This week, it was relatively easy to deal with, but when the line-up is competitive, it is a killer to try to recreate all of the logic that went into while trying to run our team’s warm-up and the meet itself. If you can’t make a meet, that’s fine – but let me know by e-mail at least a week in advance. Better yet, since you probably already know which meets you’ll miss for the rest of the season, e-mail me right now.
- At Seton Swimming, we support each other. We stay in the team area and we cheer for our teammates – until the meet is over. That’s part of what it means to be a team.
- And finally, as we reviewed right before the meet, we need to be lined up along the length of the pool, with our hands over our hearts and our eyes on the flag for the national anthem. Respect for our country is very important to me, and it should be to all of you swimmers as well.
This coming week, we’ll start backstroke. By Christmas, the other coaches and I hope to build every stroke and every wall with every swimmer from scratch. The fastest way to get faster is to do the strokes right, so try not to miss practice and try not to just “swim through” the sets we are doing. If you treat each practice like a priceless opportunity to get better, you will get better.
See you Monday morning,
Coach Jim Koehr