We’ve had three championship meets in the last two weeks during our run-up to States, and the Seton Swimming machine seems to be clicking on all cylinders:

On Jan 31st and Feb 1st twelve (12) of our top swimmers went up to Villanova University for the National Catholic High School Champs where Jameson Hill was named Swimmer of the Meet after breaking two National Catholic records, Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe and Alex Doonis shined, and everyone who went returned for finals!  As coach Rick Benner, who went up to coach the team on Saturday on my behalf, said on my voice mail before our girls ultimately earned a 5th place overall finish, “the Seton girls are killin’ it!”

On that same weekend, while that group was swimming preliminaries in Philadelphia, the rest of the team was at the Freedom Center hosting our 3rd Annual VSIS Division II Invitational with 315 competitors from 19 schools.  Rachel Lambrecht led this Virginia portion of the team to the girl’s team Runner-up trophy when she medaled in 100 Breaststroke.   It is a pretty good indication of how deep we are in talented female swimmers when we can finish runner-up in the Division II Invitational (to a small Division I team) with so many top swimmers in Philly.

Then this past weekend, we took our Varsity team to Fredericksburg Academy where both the boys and girls dominated in the DAC Conference Championship Meet.  We won twenty (20) of the 22 events except two, we broke eight (8) of 22 conference records, we had Jameson Hill, Mary Kate Kenna and Carolyn Claybrooks named Co-Swimmers of the Meet, and we had nineteen (19) swimmers finish in the top-3 to earn All-Conference honors.

Obviously, we’ve seen some great swimming over the past two weekends, including another 70 Personal Records (PRs), bringing our season total PR count to 580.

Jameson Hill has been Amazing

Jameson Hill has had a good two weeks of high school swimming.  Since January 31st, he:

  • won two individual National Catholic High School championships,
  • broke two the National Catholic high school records,
  • was named the National Catholic HS championship Swimmer of the Meet,
  • won four conference championships,
  • set three conference records, and
  • was named the DAC Conference MVP

Not a bad 8 days work.  Here are few of the details:

  • At National Catholics in the 200 Free, Jameson broke a 21-year old record by over a second when he swam 1:39.53 in preliminaries. He repeated that 1:39 in finals on Sunday and won the individual championship pulling away.  It is sometimes hard to comprehend a time that fast, so let me put it in a little perspective:
    • His first 50 split (to his feet after a flip turn) was :22.60 and his 100 split was :47.34. That is substantially faster than both Nevin and Kevin’s high school 100 Free times.
    • If Jameson had been entered in the men’s 200 Free relay as an individual, he would have placed 10th, and would have beaten Bishop O’Connell’s “B” relay.
    • Had Jameson swum individually in the Girls 200 Free relay, he would have won by 5 seconds.
    • He’s only junior in high school, and he was unrested, his swim in the 200 Free would have got him to the finals of Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) college swimming championships last year.
  • At National Catholics in the 100 Free, Jameson was equally awesome when he broke a 2-year old National Catholic record with a :45.76. His 50 split was an incredible :22.18.  Remember, that split was taken when his feet touched – another 6 feet plus a flip.
  • Even though Jameson was a first-year participant in a National Catholic meet where all of the coaches pretty much know who all of the top swimmers are, he left such an impression on everyone, that the coaches voted him Swimmer of the Meet! That is making quite a splash (Mr. Minarik – that pun was intended;-)).
  • Naturally, Jameson also broke two team records with these swims.
  • At DAC Champs, Jameson broke the conference championship short-course meter record by nearly 5 seconds in the 200 IM and he broke the 100 butterfly record by over 3.5 seconds. Those records were set back in 2002 and 2003, respectively, by a couple a pretty good swimmers who went on to swim in college.
  • Jameson also help two relays earn gold at DAC Champs

Mary-Kate Kenna and Carolyn Claybrooks named Co-MVPs for the DAC Conference

  • Senior Mary-Kate Kenna and Junior Carolyn Claybrooks have also had a pretty strong 8 days of swimming:
    • A few highlights of Carolyn Claybrooks’ recent accomplishments:
      1. At DAC Champs, Carolyn won three (3) gold medals, including individual titles in the 200 and 400 meter freestyles plus a relay title in the 400 Free Relay.
      2. She broke the DAC conference record for the 400 meter Free by 5.15 seconds, when she cut 3.48 seconds from her Personal Record. Ironically, that record was previously held by her co-MVP, Mary-Kate Kenna who set it in last year’s meet.
      3. At National Catholics, Carolyn had an amazing performance in prelims during the 200 Free. She cut her PR by 1.41 seconds, swam a 2:09.09, and ultimately finished 8th place overall.
      4. Carolyn also contributed to a 4th place finish for the Girls 400 Free relay and a top 16 finish in 100 Free at National Catholics
    • A few highlights from Mary-Kate Kenna’s recent swimming:
      1. At DAC Champs, Mary Kate won three (3) gold medals, including individual titles in 200 IM and 100 Breaststroke plus a relay title in the 200 Medley Relay.
      2. In the 200 Medley relay at DAC Champs, she joined Alex Doonis, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren Donohoe to break the conference record, previously held by last year’s Seton “A” relay.
      3. At National Catholics, Mary-Kate had three top-8 finishes in 100 Breaststroke (6th) and 200 IM (8th) plus a 5th place finish as part of the 200 Medley Relay. During preliminaries, she PR’d in both events.

Girls Sprint Freestyle is in the Good Hands of Lauren Donohoe and Alex Doonis

  • Seton girls sprint freestyle is in great hands for the next few years thanks to sophomore Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe and freshman Alex Doonis who could both finish in the top 3 or 5 at States.

At Catholic Nationals last week:

  • The Machine comes to play when it counts. In the prelims of the 50 Free, she cut .48 seconds from her PR and jumped up to 2nd for the finals with a :25.28.  The next day at finals, she officially claimed the silver medal for the 50 Free with another PR at :25.15!  That swim also broke Katie Planchak’s 50 Free team record of :25.22 set in the 2006 State Championship.
  • The Machine took the bronze medal in 100 Free with an incredible :54.91. That was a PR for Lauren, and it broke her own team record by .10 seconds.
  • Alex Doonis was right there with Lauren, representing Seton as the school with fast female sprinters. Alex went :25.49 to take 4th overall in the 50 Free, and she went :55.78 to take 5th overall in 100 Free.
  • It is going to be an interesting decision to determine where we are going to swim Alex at States. Using last year’s results and eliminating seniors, Alex’s current best times would put her 3rd in 50 Free, 6th in 100 Back and 7th in 100 Free.  Too bad she can only swim two individual events.

At DAC Champs this past weekend these two were absolutely dominate:

  • In the girls 50 Free, Alex got back at Lauren when she out-touched her by only .15 seconds for the Gold medal. They were so fast in the championship final heat that the bronze medal time was over 2 seconds behind them.  That is quite a gap for such a short race.
  • For their second individual event, we used the split them up to take gold in two other events. Lauren took gold by a huge margin in the 100 Free, and Alex crushed Wakefield’s top girl to take gold in 100 Backstroke.
  • This pair of sprinters also help set two conference relay records:
    • In the 200 Medley relay, they joined Mary-Kate Kenna and Bridget Wunderly
    • In the 400 Free relay, they joined Carolyn Claybrooks and Laura Talbott

Top 16 finishes at National Catholics

As amazing as this sounds, all twelve of our swimmers at National Catholics came back for Sunday finals in at least a relay – and a few them really made their presence known:

  • Our girls 200 Free Relay of Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Laura Talbott, and Lauren Donohoe took the bronze medal, finishing only .29 seconds behind O’Connell’s “A” relay. These four entered the meet with a season best time of 1:47.10.  They dropped time in both prelims and finals, ultimately going a very fast 1:47.10.
  • Our girls 400 Free Relay of Alex Doonis, Laura Talbott, Carolyn Claybrooks and Lauren Donohoe finished 4th overall. Again this combination of girls did a season best time, dropping from 3:55.56 to 3:52.27.  The Seton record is 3:50.89 – at least until States!

I hope to have a much more complete write-up of the two meets posted shortly.

Coach Koehr

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