It was a great weekend of swimming for Seton – it has me very encouraged for our December 20th Homecoming Meet when we face the boys from Fredericksburg Christian and Wakefield with a conference championship on the line. One thing I have concluded after this past weekend is that our Boys are better than I thought. I knew our Girls would be strong, but I am so encouraged by the big improvements that I saw from our Boys team, that I’m thinking that our conference championship loss last year to the FCS boys will not be repeated again this year.
We had two meets this weekend. On Friday night, we had our Icebreaker Invitational at Central Park with John Paul the Great, Randolph-Macon Academy and Ad Fontes. It was a great opportunity for us to show off what we have learned in the first four (4) weeks of practice – and we sure showed a lot – 99 Personal Records!
Here’s the way the meet scores turned out:
Seton 145 John Paul the Great 104
Seton 190 Randolph-Macon Academy 71
Seton 212 Ad Fontes 0
Seton 170 John Paul the Great 91
Seton 147 Randolph-Macon Academy 20
Seton 214 Ad Fontes 27
And then on Saturday, we took our “A” Relays and our Seniors down to Woodberry Forest for their 2nd annual Relay Carnival. It was a blast! Not only did we get to compete in several unusual and fun relays, we also got to jump into 25 yard races in each stroke – most of us haven’t done that since we were 8 and Unders in summer league – and boy was it fun.
This Relay Carnival is going to become an annual Seton tradition on the first Saturday of December from now on. The good folks at Woodberry Forest really did a great job!
Out of the 14 teams that competed, our girls took 3rd place overall and our boys took 6th.
A Great Example from Captain Meghan O’Malley
You’ve often heard me say that Seton Swimming is about so much more than just swimming, and Friday night was an example of what I’m talking about.
As Coach Lowell, Coach Dalrymple and I leaned against the pole for the backstroke flags, we quietly watched Meghan O’Malley at the end of the lanes cheering for each swimmer as they came in and out of their turns. As the meet progressed, more and more of her fellow swimmers joined her until, by the final 400 Free Relay, when most of the other teams had left their teammates to complete their swims alone, the bulk of our team was with her cheering loudly.
And after that, we were of course all available to march around the pool for a long post-meet handshake. Over time, other teams will follow our lead and we’ll all be raised up just a bit more.
It was great to see – and I wasn’t the only one who thought so. After the meet, a group of John Paul the Great parents approached me and told me what great sports they thought our kids were. And even one of the life guards told me, “I’ve been swimming all of my life, and I’ve never seen a handshake like that. We don’t do that at our high school”.
St. Francis said something like, “Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words”. I think he may have liked what he saw from Meghan O’Malley on Friday night.
Top Performances at Central Park
There were so many great swims on Friday night. Here are the swimmers that won one or more of their events:
- Kimberly Rector took 1st place in 100 Breast with a very strong early season swim. She also managed to PR in 50 Free by .37 seconds. For our top swimmers, you don’t often see PRs at this point in the season, so I was very pleased to see her swimming stronger.
- Alex Sinner has started her senior year in style with a 1st place finish in 100 Fly and a 2nd place finish in 100 Breast. She swam a couple of pretty strong early-season times for a swimmer at her level.
- Claire Kenna took 1st place in the 100 Free, beating three strong John Paul the Great swimmers handily. She also had a tremendous swim in the 200 IM, an event that she doesn’t normally swim. In the end, she took 2nd place by only .47 seconds in a very exciting race.
- Anna Kenna had the opportunity to swim two off-events for her, the 200 and 500 Free, and dominated both of them with a 9.58 second PR in the 500 and a 4.87 second PR in the 200. It was very impressive to see Anna break 6:00 in the 500 this early in the season. Anna also cut .02 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
- Tommy Flook took 1st place in 100 Fly with a big 2.20 second personal record to go 1:01.97. That time was just off the State cut. As his level of conditioning improves, I don’t see any reason at all why he shouldn’t drop well below 1:00 by States.
- Matthew Fioramonti had an impressive 1st place finish in 500 Free with a very strong time for this point in the season. Matt also had a strong lead-off on the “B” medley relay with a 1.43 second PR in 50 Back to go 29.86. That’s now the 2nd fastest time on the team and fast enough that I will probably do some experimentation on our boys medley relay. Nice work Matt.
99 Personal Records for 66 Swimmers!
Imagine averaging 1.5 personal records per swimmer for the first meet of the year? Well that’s what we did! So far this season, we’ve concentrated on Freestyle and Backstroke, so most of the entries this past week were in events that used those strokes – and the results were stunning.
In the 50 Free, we had 34 PRs for 40 swims and in 100 Back, we had 33 PRs for 38 swims. A performance like that really pleases me and all of the other coaches.
It is impossible to single out a small group of the most stunning improvements, but at the risk of failing to highlight someone, here are some of the most impressive Personal Records that I saw. Remember, the faster you are going, the harder it is to get a big drop:
- Marcie Van de Voorde had two huge PRs. In 100 Back, she lowered her PR by 18.93 seconds and in 50 Free, she lowered her PR by 15.33!
- Brendan Santschi swam PRs in both of his individual events plus in a relay lead-off. In the 500 Free, he cut 3.40 seconds and in the 200 Free, he cut 4.59 seconds. But the most impressive PR was his 50 Back PR leading off a medley relay. Brendan lowered his PR for that lead-off leg by 5.25 seconds.
- Martin Quinan hit PRs three times including two huge ones in Back – by 6.46 seconds in 100 Back and by 3.29 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay – and a big 1.45 second PR in 50 Free.
- Patrick Pennefather had two very strong swims. He cut 1.70 seconds in 100 Breast to go 1:09.80 to just miss the State cut. He also cut 1.23 seconds in 50 Free to go 25.73. Those are very large drops considering how fast those times are already.
- Mark O’Donohue broke 1:00 in 100 Free for the first time ever after cutting 1.54 seconds, and he went a very fast 25.50 in 50 Free after cutting .89 seconds. Mark has quickly developed into one of the top sprinters on our team this year already!
- Patrick Murray somehow managed to cut 24.44 seconds from his 100 Back PR and 9.05 seconds from his 50 Free PR. Those are huge drops!
- Seamus Koehr really showed some huge improvement in backstroke on Friday night. How about a 6.64 second drop in 50 Back leading off a relay? He also cut 4.76 seconds from his 100 Back PR. Seamus is now swimming some pretty competitive high school times!
- Brian Koehr cemented his position as our team’s top sprinter with a 1.44 second PR in 100 Free to go 54.09. That time is just off the State cut, which I think he is destined to beat before Christmas if he keep working hard in practice. Brian also cut another .99 seconds in 100 Back – some very high shoulders really helped him hit that great time.
- Hartung and the Hartung Family cheering section really had to be pleased with what they saw on Friday night in 50 Free and 100 Back – a four of the Hartung kids showed dramatic levels of improvement:
- Chris Hartung was so excited after his 13.22 second drop in 100 Back – and so was I. Just prior to that, Chris, a new swimmer, broke :30 in 50 Free with a 1.41 second PR. In only his 1st meet swimming competitively, he’s already starting swim some pretty competitive times!
- Theresa (“with an ‘a’!”) Hartung had two really huge personal records on Friday proving that she has been really trying to learn in practice. In 100 Back, she cut 14.12 seconds and in 50 Free, she cut 13.67 seconds. Way to go Theresa!
- Ruthie Hartung also had big PRs with a 9.14 second drop in 100 Back and a 4.94 second drop in 50 Free.
- Dominic Hartung cut nearly 10 seconds (actually 9.69) from his 50 Free PR
- Ryan Hall somehow managed to lower his 50 Free PR by 6.45 seconds and went 32.14 – a really good time for a new swimmer. Ryan also cut 2.94 seconds from his 100 Back PR.
- Gianna Gonzalez was just super in 100 Back with the biggest time improvement in the meet – an amazing 35.88 seconds. She also cut a big 5.78 seconds in 50 Free. It is so exciting to see her improve by this much.
- Nick Foeckler is another one that has me really excited with his dramatic levels of improvement. How about a 22.10 second drop in 100 Back and a 9.04 second drop in 50 Free? That’s huge!
- Dani Flook’s extra training with NCAP is paying big dividends for her. On Friday, she cut 2.18 seconds from her 100 Free PR and 4.27 seconds from her 200 Free PR. Dani also cut 1.01 seconds from her 50 Back leading off a medley relay. Dani’s backstroke underwaters have greatly improved this season.
- Ben Dealey had a huge drop in 100 Back when he cut 11.43 seconds from his previous best time – awesome! He also cut more than a second (1.09) from his 50 Free PR. He’s making progress towards Varsity with great swimming like that.
- Drew Dalrymple, only a 7th grader, looks like he has the potential to be a good one for Seton. His 4.23 second PR in 100 Back and 2.13 second PR in 50 Free are good signs, especially given how fast the times are. With a little more improvement, he’ll be scoring for us next season!
- Tim Costello, already a scorer for us in 100 Breaststroke, lowered his PR in the event by a huge 3.65 seconds. As if that weren’t enough, he also broke :27 in 50 Free for the first time. Uncle Jim was pretty pleased.
- Kaela Catabui made me so happy when I saw her starting to get what we are teaching her in practice. It was so great to see her cut 23.98 seconds in 100 Back and 10.77 seconds in 50 Free. She’s our littlest 7th grader, but I can already see the big heart.
- Philip Ashton is making the most of his first year on the team, even though he’s a sophomore. I was very impressed with that 12.89 second drop in 100 Back and that 2.13 second drop in 50 Free. His Free time in particular is starting to get pretty competitive.
And here are the rest of the great performances that made up our PR total:
- Vivian Zadnik cut 22.91 seconds from her PR in the 500 Free
- Dominic Wittlinger lowered his 100 Back PR by 4.14 seconds
- Jude Van de Voorde had a nice swim in 200 Free, cutting 4.46 seconds from his PR even though it is still early in the season.
- Katharine Rowzie cut .37 seconds off of her 50 Free PR
- Andrew Quinan rocked in the 50 Free, dropping his time by 1.40 seconds to 26.01. That dog will definitely hunt!
- Michaela Pennefather cut .54 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke PR
- Therese Pechie took advantage of the extra practice in backstroke by cutting her 50 Back PR by .24 seconds while leading off a relay.
- Paul Pechie had a great early season swim in the difficult 200 IM with a .75 second PR. He also cut .17 seconds from his 100 Free PR leading off our 400 Free Relay.
- Bridget O’Malley showed that she has a strong future with two huge drops in 100 Back (by 2.88 seconds) and in 100 Free (by 1.73 seconds). That 100 Back swim was good enough to take 2nd place in the meet!
- Peter O’Donohue swam PRs every time he hit the water. He cut 2.74 seconds in 100 Back, 2.12 seconds in 50 Free and 2.10 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay.
- Tommy Moore cut a very significant 6.83 seconds from his 100 Back PR.
- Joshua Miller has a breaststroke! Coach Lowell and I could immediately tell that something special was happening as we watched him during 100 Breast – and we were right – he cut 4.26 seconds. He also cut .63 seconds from his 50 Free PR
- Anne Konstanty is really improving fast. In 100 Back, she lowered her PR by 6.09 seconds and in 50 Free, she broke :40 seconds after a 3.89 second PR.
- John Paul Kleb had a pair of very fine swims. In 100 Back, he cut 3.68 seconds and in 50 Free, he cut .50 seconds.
- Jeremy Kleb also had some very big time drops including a 5.21 second PR in 100 Back and a 2.80 second PR in 50 Free.
- RJ Kenna had a nice 2.86 second PR in 100 Back and a .85 second PR in 50 Free – I was glad the Lobster King was able to break away to see his last Seton swimmer start his career with us.
- Mary Heim is already scoring for us. In the 200 IM, she cut 1.73 seconds and took 4th
- Emily Heim is learning to find success in strokes other than breaststroke – I was happy to see her lower her 100 Fly PR by .25 seconds. We’ll be working on Fly just before Christmas.
- Bernadette Hassan had a pair of nice PRs including a 5.30 second PR in 100 Back and a 1.08 second PR in 50 Free.
- Patrick Hall had a great swim in 100 Back when he lowered his PR by 7.06 seconds. He also had a great swim in 50 Free when he cut 1.65 seconds. Patrick’s 50 Free is now down under :29 seconds.
- Caroline Griffin is going to be a good one for us. Her .39 second PR in 100 Back. Too bad she’s only in 7th grade because that means she can’t score. In both 200 IM and 100 Back, she would have placed 3rd!
- Justin Fioramonti cut 2.91 seconds from his 50 Free PR and 1.52 seconds from his 100 Back PR.
- Joe Fioramonti had a nice swim in 100 Back, lowering his PR by 1.72 seconds.
- MacKenzie Farmer’s backstroke looked much, much better – and it showed in her time – a 3.54 second PR
- Katie Dealey logged a 1.74 second PR in 100 Back and a 1.18 second PR in 50 Free.
- Kalli Dalrymple cut .84 seconds from her 50 Back PR leading off a medley relay. It looked pretty strong.
- Leslie Chang has really come a long way. How about a 14.69 second PR in 100 Back and another 1.78 second PR in 50 Free?
- David Catabui had a great swim in 100 Back with his 7.36 second PR. He also had a great swim in 50 Free with a 1.72 second PR.
- Edith Barvick lowered her 100 Free PR by 2.51 seconds. Very nice work.
- Katie Albin cut a big 2.67 seconds from her 50 Free PR and 1.63 seconds from her 100 Back PR. I can’t wait to see her breaststroke at this coming week’s meet. I know it is much improved too!
Other Great Performances
I’m not completely diligent at this because I’m so ADD, but here are some other great things I remember or took notes on from the meet:
- In that very first boy’s Medley Relay, we had a race on our hands with John Paul the Great until Patrick Pennefather hit the water and just ate his guy up. Then Tommy Flook hit the water for Fly and, by the time Mark O’Donohue dove in for the anchor leg, it was over.
- Dani Flook’s Underwater’s in backstroke have really improved. No girl in the State (literally) has an Underwater like Anna Kenna, but Dani was surprisingly close leading off the Girl’s “B” Medley Relay.
- Brendan Santschi was in a very close race in the 200 Free with a swimmer from RMA, but Brendan’s last turn and last 25 were awesome – he put him away ended up taking 3rd place by almost 3 seconds.
- Brian Koehr is really looking strong in the water. His power in the water reminds me a bit of his oldest brother. I was especially pleased with his final turn and final 25 in that 100 Backstroke race. Seamus Koehr is also growing stronger. I’ve never seen his freestyle look better than it looked this weekend.
- Our boys went 1-2-3 in the 500 Free. Matthew Fioramonti, Andrew Quinan and Brendan Santschi all were taking advantage of strong stroke technique to wear down the swimmers from other schools with more flaws in their strokes.
- Its official: Joshua Miller can swim breaststroke. He has a strong wide pull and a long underwater glide with each stroke – and his time really showed it.
Qualifiers for VISAA States and National Catholics
Unlike most of our other meets, during the Championship season, we have two big swim meets that require participants to achieve a qualifying time during this season in a non-time trial meet (that’s a change from the past). The National Catholic High School Championship Loyola University in Baltimore at the end of January and the State Championship is moving back to the Collegiate Aquatic Center in Richmond February 13-14th.
After this weekend, here are the swimmers who have qualified individually so far: Anna Kenna, Claire Kenna, Kimberly Rector and Alex Sinner. All four (4) of these girls were swimming off events, so I’d certainly expect them to qualify in more events in the future.
We had three boys very close to qualifying, and I’d expect all three (3) to get it done sooner rather than later: Brian Koehr, Patrick Pennefather, and Tommy Flook.
Here’s where we stand for our Championship meets so far:
(assuming the cuts have not changed)
· 50 Free
· 100 Breast
· 200 IM
· 100 Free
· 50 Free
· 200 Free
· 100 Fly
200 Medley “A”
200 Free Relay “A”
400 Free Relay “A”
· 50 Free
· 100 Breast
· 200 IM
· 100 Free
· 50 Free
· 200 Free
· 100 Fly
200 Medley “A”
200 Medley “B”
200 Free Relay “A”
400 Free Relay “A”
| 200 Medley “A”
For relays at States, we are I am able to enter an “A” scoring relay and a qualifying “B” exhibition relay. Swimmers are qualified to swim on a relay if they have either qualified in an individual event or swum on the relay when it hit the qualifying time.
At the time that I submit our relay entries, I will enter the fastest two qualifying relays that I can, so that means that relay line-ups are subject to change up to the last moment depending on who is the fastest at that time. For now, I won’t even attempt to project who is traveling with us for relays yet – I will say that there are a lot of opportunities for swimmers on our team!
Highlights from the Relay Carnival
There were also a bunch of great swims on Saturday down at Woodberry Forest School. The top 3 finishers all got Candy, so here are the swimmers who spoiled their dinners:
- Anna Kenna was a real standout on Saturday with a 1st place in 25 backstroke, a 2nd place in 25 Fly and a 3rd place in 25 Free. That 25 backstroke was simply awesome – her Underwater off of the start was unbeatable – she won a 25 yard event by more than a second! And then, to cap it off, there was a mixed medley relay at the end where she was matched up in the lead-off 25 backstroke against a 6’3” senior boy from Bishop Ireton. She actually had him up until the last few yards when his height actually allowed him to out touch her by only .10 seconds – Amazing!
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay is gearing up for another shot at the State Championship Finals. Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna took 3rd place on Saturday behind only Flint Hill and Bishop Ireton. We are loaded with female talent this year, so I’ll be experimenting with different line-ups in the upcoming meets just to see how we can enter the fastest possible relay in February.
- We are loaded with female breaststrokers, so it was no surprise that Claire Kenna, Emily Heim, Kimberly Rector and Alex Sinner were able to take 3rd place in the 100 Breaststroke Relay behind the same two teams.
- They had a “pyramid” relay which had successive swimmers swim 25 yards, 50 yards, 100 yards, 50 yards, and 25 yards. Dani Flook, Alex Sinner, Anna Kenna, Claire Kenna, and Kimberly Rector rocked and took 2nd place overall.
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay should also be competing in the State Finals in February, so I was happy to see Anna Kenna, Kimberly Rector, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna take 3rd place yet again.
- It was just the girls who got their hands on some candy. The Boys 200 Free Relay also took 3rd place with Tommy Flook, Andrew Bishop, Mark O’Donohue and Brian Koehr. Watch out FCS!
News From the Family
There have been some big happenings in the Seton Swimming family that I thought I’d share:
- Congratulations to the Catabui Family for their latest addition – born on Friday before our meet. I saw the proud Grandma, Rita Cooley, at the meet to cheer on David and Kaela. I know she was proud. One other interesting note: I just saw that in the blog from last year at this time, I also had a note congratulating the Catabui family. The Seton Swimming farm system looks to be alive and well 😉
- General Dan O’Donohue is returning from Afghanistan on Tuesday after almost a year. I recall when he left just after DAC Champs last year. What a great example of humility, service and leadership he is to all of us. If you met him timing with his wife Rani behind a lane, you might never know that he was a two-star Marine General, but behind that humble disposition is a man of enormous passion and energy. I recall a time when my son Sean was seeking to go to the Seminary and was having some trouble working it out with his ROTC obligation. General O’Donohue wanted to get involved. After the two of them talked, Sean called me and said, “Dad, I just had the most amazing conversation with General O’Donohue. I’m so pumped up – I need to go for a run!”. For all of us Americans thinking of the military on December 7th, thank you General!
Opportunities to Improve
As exciting as it all was this past weekend, there were still a few things that I am very anxious to tighten up.
- We had a number of kids miss their events, including some upperclassmen. That has to end. This is not summer swimming – I’m not going to set up a Clerk of the Course and I’m not going to run around with a sharpie writing your events on your hands. We are likely to have a close meet that could determine the conference championship on December 20th. A missed event might mean lost points. In addition, if you are a scoring swimmer, you are taking a spot that someone else couldn’t take – that’s not fair to your teammates. And Kaela Catabui, I’ll ask Mrs. Pechie to hang the entries a little lower on the wall so you can see them 😉
- We worked in practice on streamlining off of the walls. The Girls are definitely better than the boys, but I saw far too few kids with “hand on top of hand, squeezing your head with your biceps until your brains squirt out of your ears”. You’re never faster than when you push off the wall. Why would you negate all that free speed?
- We’ll continue our work on the short-axis strokes this week with a concentration on butterfly starting on Thursday – so don’t miss practice!
- I’ve scheduled the pool time at Central Park for practices over Christmas break. I’m targeting December 22nd, 23rd, 29th and 30th at 10:00 a.m. for Varsity swimmers (non-exhibition) only. If you are in town, I will expect you to come. If we want to be ready for the championship season which begins only a month after Christmas, we need to train over break.
- On December 31st, we’ll have our annual Cystic-Fibrosis swim-a-thon. Thanks again to the Given family for running it again. I’ll pass on more information as I get it.
- No practice Monday morning on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception
See you Tuesday morning,
Coach Jim Koehr