There were an awful lot of smiling faces on deck at the Fitch WARF for our 15th Annual VISAA Junior Varsity Invitational Championship on Saturday, January 29, 2022. One of the faces with the biggest smile was mine because the future of Seton Swimming was on full display, and that future is clearly very bright.
Seton is loaded with middle school boys and girls. By “loaded”, I am referring to not only the fact that, between the Seton and the Seton Family Homeschool teams, we have 74 kids in 9th grade and below. I’m also referring to the strength of top swimmers in that group.
Of the 42 swimmers and divers that made this year’s Varsity squad, 13 of them are Freshman or 8th graders. And among the swimmers that I project to make the State Team this year, nine (9) of them are underclassmen. If 7th graders were allowed to compete at States, that number would be ten (10)!
As further evidence of the future prowess of our underclass swimmers, let me point to the two new meet Records set by Seton relay swimmers, including one (1) record that was destroyed by 5 seconds. Or the fact that we won 14 of the twenty events outright. Or the fact that our Boys scored nearly triple the points of their closest rival, a rival that swims in VISAA Division I.
With all those exciting statistics, we also saw evidence that our prowess on the Girl’s side is not going to go unchallenged over the next four (4) years. Oakcrest School, an all-girls school that I hope to have in the VCAC Conference next season, showed up with 49 girls! I can’t think of a time in many years when I’ve had to say that someone beat us because of their depth, but that is what happened.
While our Boys took home the traveling trophy after completely dominating the competition, it was Oakcrest who seized the hardware for the Girls – by only 9 points with over 700 points scores between us.
We all know how strong the young Trinity Christian girls are. Can you imagine what Girl’s swim meets are going to look like in the VCAC over the next few years with Oakcrest in the mix? This could be a lot of fun!
Seton created this meet back in 2008 as a season-ending championship meet for the swimmers who would not be participating in the Varsity Championship season. This year was the 9th time that the boys won. While the girls didn’t win this year, they’ve won this meet 6 times before.
Here is a breakdown of this year’s top scoring teams:
Seton School 450
St. Christopher’s School 173
Immanuel Christian School 161
The Carmel School 108
Veritas Collegiate 50
Oakcrest School 365
Seton School 356
St. Catherine’s School 126
Brookewood School 91
Immanuel Christian School 90
Walsingham Academy 80
For the second time, we are recognizing a Swimmer of the Meet for the boys and girls. I totally dropped the ball on getting a ballot around to the coaches during the meet, so we did it by e-mail.
Congratulations to our two (2) Swimmers of the Meet:
- Moses Wolf (7), Immanuel Christian School
- Moses won Gold medals in all three (3) of his individual events, two of them by wide margins. His times were remarkable for a 7th grader. In 100 IM, he went 1:04.80 and won by more than 4 seconds. In 50 Butterfly, he went 28.48 and won by almost 3 seconds. And in 50 Breaststroke, he went a very fast 32.12, but found himself more challenged by Seton’s Drew Nguyen. In the end, the choice of Moses as Swimmer of the Meet was pretty clear.
On the Girl’s side, it was much less obvious. In the end, Seton’s Angie Testani was selected by the Coaches present at the meet, but another 7th grader, Seton’s Ariana Aldeguer, was a very close runner-up.
- Angie Testani (FR), Seton School
- Angie took four (4) Gold medals and one (1) silver to tie for the honor of highest individual scorer with 45 total points. Angie dominated 50 Breaststroke, winning by more than 2.5 seconds. Her much 50 Free was improved just enough to squeak out a .04 second victory over a strong Immanuel Christina swimmer. Angie’s other two Gold medals were in the Meet Record-setting 200 Breaststroke Relay and the 200 Free Relay with Ariana Aldeguer, Clara Condon, and Elodie Brox. Her Silver medal in 100 IM came just behind her teammate Clara Condon.
- Ariana Aldeguer (7) was the other Seton swimmer who was tied at the top for most individual points scored. Her Gold medals came in 100 Free (58.03), 50 Back (30.56), 200 Breaststroke Relay (Meet Record), and 200 Free Relay. Her 50 Back was a .02 second PR which won the event by more than a second, and she won 100 Free by more than 2 seconds! Her Silver medal in 50 Breaststroke came just behind her teammate Angie Testani.
We got one interesting vote for Boys Swimmer of the Meet from the Immanuel Christian Coach Katie Kim Wolf who said:
There was a very nice Seton boy who came up to Moses and fist bumped him and said “good swim” after the IM………..I thought that was a noble gesture to come find Moses and congratulate him after the swim. Therefore, I would like to vote for him for Swimmer of the Meet for the boys.
Who was that mystery Seton swimmer? It was Michael Brox (FR). Nice work Michael! Simple gestures of graciousness can make a big difference to a young swimmer.
As I referenced previously, we had three (3) new Meet Records:
- Girls 200 Breaststroke Relay, 2:16.39 – Seton School, Ariana Aldeguer, Angie Testani, Clara Condon, Elodie Brox
- That swim just smashed the previous record. The previous record was set last year at 2:21.04 with a relay that contained both Angie and Clara. And the record that they broke was set back in 2012 by Seton at 2:22.24.
- Boys 200 Breaststroke Relay, 2:30.16 – Seton School, Greg Bauer, Max Gonzalez, Seth Kellogg, Max Wilson
- The previous record was 2:31.02 from last year’s meet.
- Girls 200 Backstroke Relay, 2:09.95 – Oakcrest School, Amelia Adams, Maddie McDonnell, Amelia Magee, Viviane Hart-Hodgson
- This record was the oldest among those that went down. It was set by Collegiate School at 2:10.49 way back a decade ago.
Seton’s Top Individual Scorers
The future of Seton Swimming is very bright. You will see what I mean as I review the other swimmers who scored the points by winning Gold, Silver or Bronze medals on Saturday:
- Drew Nguyen (FR) was the 2nd highest scoring boy in the meet. He scored 45 total points with four (4) Gold medals and a Silver medal. Drew won both of the sprint freestyle events taking the 50 Free by more than a second and taking the 100 Free by more than a second and half. Drew also had a heck of a swim in 50 Breaststroke just missing Gold against a very fast Immanuel Christian swimmer. Drew’s two relay Gold medals were delivered in dominant form in the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relay.
- Clara Condon (FR) was the 3rd highest individual scorer in the meet with dominate wins in the 100 IM (by more than 2 seconds) and in 50 Fly (also by more than 2 seconds). Teamed up with Ariana, Angie and Elodie Brox, it is no surprise that Clara’s two relay Gold’s were delivered in dominate fashion too.
- Connor Koehr (FR) was the 3rd highest scoring boy in the meet. Not only was Connor part of two (2) relays that won by more than 20 seconds and more than 13 seconds, but he was also the winner of a Gold medal in 50 Backstroke by more than 2.5 seconds, a Silver medal in 100 Free, and a Bronze medal in 50 Free. Connor’s 100 Free was one of the best swims by anyone on the team all day. He dropped 5.45 seconds, broke 1:00 for the first time, and jumped onto the State relay. Connor’s 50 Back and his 50 Free Relay lead-offs were both lifetime bests, by .06 and .82 seconds, respectively.
- Max Wilson (FR) came to play with three PRs that resulted a Silver, Bronze and 4th place, plus two (2) Relay Gold medals. His Silver medal 50 Fly was a .38 second PR, his Bronze medal 100 IM was a 3.73 second PR, and his 50 Back leading off a Time Trial relay was a .11 second PR (that qualified Max for States!) Max was also part of two Gold medal relays including the Meet Record-setting Boys 200 Breaststroke Relay.
- Anastasia Garvey (8) was the leading scorer for the Seton Family Homeschool team with a Bronze medal in 50 Fly, a 4th in 100 IM, and a 5th in 50 Back. All three (3) of those swims were Personal Records by 3.01 seconds, 4.19 seconds, and 1.32 seconds, respectively.
- Michael Brox (FR) was the 8th highest scoring boy in the meet with two (2) Silver medals in 50 Free and 100 IM. Michael’s 100 IM was a lifetime best by 7.84 seconds. He also won Gold medals for two (2) relays that won by nearly a whole length of the pool.
- Joseph Borneman (FR) won a Bronze medal in 50 Fly, a 7th in 50 Free, and an 11th in 100 IM. I wish I would have had some previous times on Joseph in 50 Fly and 100 IM, because I’m quite sure they were substantially faster than the beginning of the season. Joseph also swam a lifetime best 50 Free split as part of the dominate Gold medal Boys 200 Free Relay.
Top Seton Relay Swims
Our Junior Varsity Relays, like our Varsity Relays, were particularly good on Saturday, but four (4) were particularly good with two (2) of those setting new Meet Records:
- Our Girls 200 Breaststroke Relay of Ariana Aldeguer (7), Angie Testani (8), Elodie Brox (FR), and Clara Condon (8) obliterated the Meet Record by almost five (5) whole seconds. They won the event by an incredible 28 seconds, lapping all but two (2) of their competitors. Too bad this relay is not an event in a Varsity high school meet!
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Connor Koehr (FR), Drew Nguyen (FR), Max Wilson (FR), and Michael Brox (FR) dominated the event to win the Gold medal by more than 20 seconds. Drew’s 31.93 Breaststroke split and Max’s 29.96 Fly split were lifetime bests, and Connors 29.92 lead-off Backstroke was very close to a lifetime best.
- Our Boys 200 Breaststroke Relay of Greg Bauer (8), Max Gonzalez (FR), Seth Kellogg (FR), and Max Wilson (FR) also broke the Meet Record, in their case by less than a second. Their swim beat the Silver medal team by 16 seconds.
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Michael Brox (FR), Joseph Borneman (FR), Connor Koehr (FR), and Drew Nguyen (FR) owned this event, winning the Gold medal by more than 13 seconds. Joseph and Connor’s splits were particularly good compared to their previous best performances.
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Angie Testani (FR), Clara Condon (FR), Elodie Brox (FR), and Ariana Aldeguer (7) won the Gold medal by more than nine (9) seconds. Ariana had a lifetime best relay split and Elodie swam courageously with an injured wrist.
We Had Some Massive Time Drops!
Amongst the Swimmers of the Meet and all of the Personal Records we saw, there were a few swims that were so remarkable, I wanted to single them out here:
- Emma Reynolds (JR) has been a great addition to the team. She’s improved so much since she swam 50 Breaststroke in last year’s JV Invitational that her time on Saturday was 21.04 seconds faster!
- John Pugh (FR) was deservedly excited about his performance on Saturday, and I know Coach Pretz shared his excitement. How about a 37.88 second drop in 100 Free and a 10.92 second drop in 50 Free!?
- Daniel Hurley (8) had a slew of big PRs that were the result of his hard work and attentiveness in practice all season. In 50 Breaststroke he cut 16.89 seconds, in 50 Back leading off a relay he cut 12.16 seconds, then in the 50 Back individual event he cut another 1.44 seconds.
- Joseph Minarik (SO), swimming with the Seton Family Homeschool team, had some massive drops on Saturday. In 100 Free, he dropped 17.28 seconds and just missed breaking the 1:30 barrier for the first time. He also cut 13.23 seconds in 50 Back – just imagine if he touched with his hand! 😉 Joseph also cut another 1.27 seconds in 50 Free. It was a great final meet for Joseph!
Believe it or not, we had another 115 Personal Records on Saturday! That brings Seton’s total for the year to 890! I think of goal of 1,000 PRs for the season is looking like it could be possible.
That total for PRs is even more remarkable considering that a lot of kids were swimming events for which I may not have had no previous flat-start time (like 50 Breaststroke for instance).
Here are the swimmers who swam a PR on Saturday who I have not already mentioned:
- Cate Waldron (SO) dropped .44 seconds in 50 Breaststroke.
- Nick Vaughan (FR) swam PRs in 50 Free twice. In the 50 Free event, he cut 1.49 seconds, and then while leading off the 200 Free Relay, he cut another .91 seconds.
- William Sokban (FR) continues to improve in sprint freestyle, improving his 100 Free PR by another .17 seconds. He also improved his 50 Back PR leading off a relay by .52 seconds.
- Daniel Sokban (7) had two large drops. In 50 Fly he dropped 3.94 seconds, and in 50 Back he dropped 2.09 seconds.
- Briana Shillingburg (FR) lowered her 50 Free PR by another .91 seconds.
- Gabriella Russo (7) saw a huge drop in 50 Back, lowering her PR by 6.41 seconds.
- Noemi Rodriguez (7) dropped big in 100 Free, beating her previous PR by 4.71 seconds. Her walls are getting very good, and that almost certainly explained at least part of the drop.
- Allison Quispe (8) had a cut 3.33 seconds off of her 100 Free PR and broke 1:30 for the first time.
- Maria Pennefather (SR) concluded her one and only season in style with a .51 second drop in 50 Free and her first-ever completely legal 50 Breaststroke.
- Mary Clare Osilka (8) was quite impressive in 50 Breaststroke where she cut 1.30 seconds from her PR. She also looked great in 50 Back after cutting .68 seconds.
- Justin Orr (SR) can swim Butterfly! It was a great way to conclude his single-season career at Seton Swimming with a 4.80 second drop in 50 Fly. He also swam a beautiful 50 Breaststroke for the first time.
- Kevin Orellana (SR) took full advantage of his last opportunity to swim 100 Free by lowering his PR by 4.21 seconds. Kevin also competed in 100 IM for the first time. Who would have thought just a year ago that Kevin would be able to compete in an event that required all four (4) strokes? I think it is official – Kevin Orellana is a swimmer!
- Gabriel Orellana (FR) swam on the team for the first time this season, and he ended on a very strong note with a 7.54 second PR in 100 Free and a 1.16 PR in 50 Free.
- Shannon O’Malley (FR) had a big PR in 100 IM, beating her time from last year’s meet by 5.47 seconds.
- Anthony Morales (8) looked better than ever in 50 Back, dropping .70 seconds from his PR.
- Maria Miller (8) looked great in 50 Fly. I was not surprised at all to see her drop 3.38 seconds. I was also not surprised to see her drop .92 seconds in 50 Free.
- Anna McGrath (FR) dropped .06 seconds in 50 Back.
- Aiden McCardell (8) had a couple remarkable swims. In 50 Back he cut 9.19 seconds, and in 50 Breaststroke he cut 8.47 seconds. That was Aiden’s first time under 1:00 in 50 Breaststroke. He also cut .32 seconds in 50 Free.
- Elizabeth Maranian (SR) wrapped up her one and only season with a tremendous PR in 50 Back, by 5.45 seconds.
- Raphael Likoy (7) got a chance to compete, and he took full advantage of it with a .72 second PR.
- Maggie Kleb (SR) had us all smiling as she wrapped up her senior season with a .48 second PR in 50 Back.
- Seth Kellogg (FR) showed that he is a four (4)-stroke swimmer after a strong 7th place finish in 100 IM and a 7.86 second PR. Seth also cut .46 seconds in 100 Free and 1.47 seconds in 50 Breaststroke.
- Dominic Judge (7) had two great swims in 50 Back and 50 Free with PRs by 4.89 seconds and 4.01 seconds, respectively.
- Mary Catherine Hurley (FR) looked great in 100 IM, and it showed in her 2.84 second PR. She also cut a big 2.41 seconds in 50 Breaststroke.
- John Henry Hawley (8) had three (3) big PRs. In 50 Back in the relay and in the individual event, he beat his previous best by 10.72 and 10.80 seconds, respectively, and in 50 Breaststroke he best his best time by 11.08 seconds. I think John Henry can do more than John Henry thinks he can do, and I look forward to pulling that out of him next season.
- Patrick Hartung (JR) used that significant length to his advantage on Saturday and swam PRs in 100 IM (by 1.04 seconds), 50 Fly (by 2.94 seconds), and 50 Breast (by 7.65 seconds).
- Gabe Hambleton (8) swam 50 Back faster than ever before, beating his previous best by 3.41 seconds.
- Orla Haggerty (FR) had a big drop in 50 Back, lowering her PR by 7.54 seconds. She also cut .62 seconds in 50 Breaststroke.
- Moira Haggerty (JR) had cut her PR in 50 Fly by a huge 2.69 seconds.
- Aoife Haggerty (7) was super in 50 Free, lowering her PR by another .95 seconds.
- Max Gonzalez (FR) is going to be a good one for Seton, and he showed it on Saturday with three (3) PRs. He dropped 2.54 seconds in 50 Fly, 3.68 seconds in 50 Breaststroke, and .90 seconds in 50 Free.
- Amelia Geary (SO) looked really strong in 100 Free, and it showed in her time – a 3.28 second PR. She also dropped big in 100 IM, cutting 2.87 seconds.
- Elizabeth Francis (FR) cut exactly .51 seconds twice, once in 100 IM and then again in 50 Fly.
- Josh Fioramonti (8) is really coming on strong at the end of the season. I enjoyed watching his 9.18 second PR in 100 IM and his .46 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Kyleigh Fifield (7) looked great in 100 Free with her 2.41 second PR. She also cut 1.58 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay and .40 seconds in 50 Free.
- Haley Fifield (FR) has developed a beautifully long freestyle that is paying off with time drops. After her 1.38 second PR in 100 Free, she’s down to 1:06.83. She’s also getting fast in 50 Back after a .83 second PR there too.
- Rose Ellis (8) took advantage of an opportunity to swim 50 Free, and she made the most of it with a 2.79 second PR.
- Lucy Cunningham (FR) showed that she can swim all four (4) strokes after her 2.10 second PR in 100 IM.
- Emma Catabui (SR) wrapped up her Seton Swimming career with a 2.38 second PR in 50 Back and a 2.05 second PR in 50 Breaststroke.
- Elodie Brox (FR) swam a 9.27 second PR despite an injured wrist.
- Nora Blanchette (8) concluded her season with three (3) big PRs. She dropped 6.94 seconds in 50 Back, 3.18 seconds in 50 Breast, and 2.79 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay. Great swims!
- Aaron Bishop (SO) beat his previous best time in 50 Fly by a huge 4.98 seconds.
- Mariana Bingham (7) lowered her 50 Back PR by 1.07 seconds
- Molly Bauer (FR) rocked her 50 Breaststroke with a 3.20 second PR on the strength of that big kick. Molly also cut 3.17 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay.
- Greg Bauer (8) had his best swim in 50 Back leading off a relay when he cut 2.60 seconds from his PR.
- Julia Atkinson (SO) had three (3) nice PRs. In 100 IM she dropped 3.52 seconds, in 50 Fly she dropped 2.92 seconds, and in 50 Breaststroke she dropped .95 seconds.
Other Great Swims
Finally, we had several other swimmers end the season with strong swims:
- Rose Waldron (FR) had some great swims, particularly her 50 Fly where she went 35.84.
- Lizzie Rohan (FR) looked good in her 50 Free and 50 Backstroke.
- Evan Rodriguez (FR) swam times that I never imagined would be possible when I saw him on the first day of practice. I really enjoyed watching his 36.14 in 50 Free.
- Lucy Pennefather (FR) has a torn ligament in her ankle, but she was determined to swim at least once this season, so on Saturday, she jumped in a heat of 50 Free and swam remarkably close to her PR.
- Helena O’Keefe (8) finished her inaugural season with strong swims in 50 Free and 50 Back. I was particularly impressed with her first-ever competitive 50 Breaststroke.
- Colette Kramer (8) showed her usual determination with some strong swims in 50 Free and 50 Back. We’re going to get that Breaststroke next year Colette!
- Gus Kohlhaas (FR) showed the courage I’ve become accustomed to seeing from him. In spite of the fact that he was hurting a bit, he came out and competed strong, even coming close to his PR in 50 Free.
- Cate Gillson (7) competed in 50 Back and 50 Breaststroke for the first time and swam good times for a first-year swimmer.
- Lucia Bingham (FR) had a very strong first-ever attempt at 100 IM. Her 1:21.39 was an excellent time. And yes, I realize that your name is pronounced “Lou – Sea – a”. Sorry for saying it wrong on the livestream Lucia.
Seton Family Homeschool Concludes a Great Season
For many years, we have flirted with having homeschoolers and younger siblings of Seton swimmers participate on the team, and this year, we formalized it for the first time. I’d have to say that I was very pleased with how it turned out.
To give the whole thing some structure, we used the following ground rules for a swimmer to be a member of the Seton Family Homeschool team, and I plan on keeping these ground rules for next season too:
- The swimmer intends to swim at Seton next year
- The swimmer’s family is or was involved in Seton School in some significant way, particularly in their capacity as a volunteer for the Swim Team or the School.
Our Seton Family Homeschool kids concluded their season with some excellent swimming:
- Lily Waldron (6) had some huge drops including a 11.08 second PR in 50 Breaststroke, a 10.55 second PR in 50 Back leading off a relay, and a .16 second PR in 50 Free.
- Betsy Arnold (6) swam PRs in all three (3) of her individual events including an 8.22 second PR in 50 Back, a 4.26 second PR in 50 Breast, and a .37 second PR in 50 Free.
- Monica Irving (6) used her newly learned underwater body dolphin to propel herself to PRs in 50 Free (by 1.42 seconds) and in 50 Back (by .10 seconds). She also had a huge drop in 50 Breaststroke, cutting 5.01 seconds.
- Joey Lynch (6) showed the “heart of a lion” as Coach Irving said on the livestream with his 6.19 second PR in 50 Back and his 5.49 second PR in 50 Breaststroke.
- Sophia Kohlhaas (6) swam very well in 50 Breaststroke where she lowered her PR by 3.68 seconds.
- Jonas Wilson (6) was awesome on Saturday, particularly in 50 Backstroke where he cut 2.99 seconds from his previous PR.
- Clare “Lieutenant” Heiny (6) lowered her 50 Free by another 2.32 seconds on the strength of her improved walls.
- Elizabeth Hurley (6) has learned to make the most of her underwater body dolphin. I can’t wait to see her continue to improve on the team over the next six (6) years.
- Veronica Gonzalez (6) had great first-time swims in 50 Back and 50 Breaststroke.
- Maria McGrath (6) seemed to enjoy her final meet of the season with some strong swims in 50 Free, 50 Back, and 50 Breaststroke.
State Championship Qualifiers
With a helping hand from Joe Wilson, Nathan Luevano, Mary Pennefather, Lucy Garvey and Angie Testani, we were able to get the last few swimmers qualified in relays for States.
We now have an “A” and “B” Relay qualified in all six (6) State Championship Meet relays. The only question remaining to answer is “Who will be swimming on those relays?”. I’ve shown the Varsity swimmers a draft of that list if I had to do it today.
But there are two (2) more meets where great swimming could change the relay line-ups prior to me having to submit them. Fastest times swims – let’s see who wants it.
I am so pleased that all the kids who got to compete on Saturday were able to grow physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually through the sport of swimming. At a time when not every school is allowing their kids to fully participate in sports, I am honored to coach at Seton where our school administration is so supportive of what we are trying to do.
Now it is up to the final 42 Varsity swimmers and divers still on our team to close out the season with some championship victories. We have three (3) big meets left:
- VISAA Division II Invitational Championship – Saturday, February 5th at the Freedom Center
- VCAC Conference Championship Meet – Saturday night, February 12th at the Freedom Center
- VISAA State Swimming and Diving Championship – February 18th and 19th at Claude Moore Recreation Center in Sterling, VA
Let’s make a strong final push toward the championship meets! I think our girls can win all three (3) of these meets, and for the boys, you know what I’m looking to get done – beat Trinity Christian at the VCAC Conference Championship Meet.
Coach Jim Koehr
Thanks for everything coach!!
Such great life lessons…learning how to work hard…stretching beyond what we think we can do…with loads and loads of fun for these kids! So grateful!
Thank you to your husband, Coach Joe Hurley, for helping teach these kids these life lessons!