Last Saturday, Seton Swimming hosted seven other teams, including the mighty Division I Collegiate School from Richmond and long-time annual public school opponent North Stafford High School, for our Homecoming Invitational.  Once again, our teams performed better than I expected.  Our girls defeated everyone except Collegiate, who already has 19 girls qualified for States in the 200 Free alone, and our boys defeated everyone except Collegiate and North Stafford.

The meet began with a touching tribute to John Paul the Great swimmer Sarah Jakielski who lost her 8 month battle with leukemia last week.  With great leadership from team captain Alex Doonis, we had a big orange banner that said “Seton Swims 4 Sarah J.” and all of the members of our team wore orange ribbons in Sarah’s honor.  We all prayed before the meet for Sarah’s soul and for Sarah’s family, as well as the community of Pope John Paul the Great Catholic High School.

Our tribute to Sarah was followed by some exhibition alumni relays.  It was great to see so many of our former swimmers back at the meet, and I think all of current our swimmers enjoyed watching Nevin Cook cruise a 50 Breaststroke in only 26.20 seconds.  I also enjoyed watching both Jonathan Rosato and Andrew Minarik swim PR splits during their relay legs – I guess a year of rest of was good for them!  Andrew always did maintain a policy of maximum rest for optimal performance 😉

After all of the homecoming tributes and fanfare ended, we got down the business at hand.  In the end, the final scores for this week turned out like this:


Collegiate                       202             Seton                               110

Seton                    218              North Stafford                         83

Seton                               210             Bishop Ireton (partial team)   79

Seton                               221               Pope John Paul the Great      79

Seton                               211               Flint Hill                                  78

Seton                               241               St. Michael the Archangel      45

Seton                    244              Wakefield School           42



Collegiate                       171               Seton                              130

North Stafford               184              Seton                               123

Seton                               156               Flint Hill                                  124

Seton                               165               Pope John Paul the Great          116

Seton                               168             Bishop Ireton (partial team)   115

Seton                               194               St. Michael the Archangel      97

Seton                    210               Wakefield School           56

Our Girls 200 Free Relay Rocks!

The 200 Free Relay was definitely the race of the day for Seton.  With Cat Rogers and Alex Doonis, this event has been the staple of our team state championship seasons over the past four years, including our Gold Medal in the 2010 State Championships.  Cat and Alex have teamed up with a variety of swimmers in the past, but on Saturday, they were joined by Freshman Alex Sinner and 8th grader Claire Kenna for another amazing performance.

Alex Doonis gave us the lead with a 26.05 split (she practiced hard on Saturday morning), followed by two excellent splits by Claire Kenna and Alex Sinner.  Their 27.72 and 27.27 second splits were outstanding time for girls their age, and they were good enough to keep us close to Collegiate for the anchor leg.  As Alex same toward Cat, she was just a hair behind the Collegiate girl.  Even though the Cougars had the two time defending State Champion in the 200 IM lined up for the anchor, her relay start was no match for Cat Rogers’ start.  The 3rd Collegiate girl touched first, but Cat’s awesome start gave her the lead when both girls surfaced!  And there was just no way anyone was going to catch Cat at that point – especially since she split 24.76!  (If you want to learn how to do the relay start that Cat used to win this event, don’t miss Tuesday’s practice – I will be teaching it to the whole team)

Our 1:45.80 not only qualified for States, it would have placed 5th overall last year in Christiansburg.  Prior to the season, I was a little worried about how we were going to get some relays into finals at States, but I’m not worried anymore!  I think those same four girls have a shot of making the finals in the 200 Medley Relay also.  With the Nansemond-Suffolk’s returning swimmers, we are going to need some serious relay points if we want to challenge them for the girls State Championship this year.

Post-Season Championship Qualifiers

Two of our biggest meets of the year are the National Catholic High School Championships at Villanova in Philly and the Virginia State Championship at Freedom.  Both of those meets require participants to hit qualifying times to be eligible for participation.  Here’s where our championship teams stand as of this weekend:

States National Catholics
·       Cat Rogers

·       Alex Doonis

·       Alex Sinner

·       Claire Kenna

·       Kimberly Rector

·       Emily Heim

·       Vincent “Catfish” Dunn

·       Michael Hill

·       Girls 200 Medley Relay

·       Girls 200 Free Relay

·       Boys 200 Medley Relay

·       Boys 400 Free Relay

·       Cat Rogers

·       Alex Doonis

·       Alex Sinner

·       Claire Kenna

·       Kimberly Rector

·       Vincent “Catfish” Dunn

·       Girls 200 Medley Relay

·       Girls 200 Free Relay

To be eligible to swim in a relay at States or National Catholics, you either have to have swum in the relay when it hit the qualifying time or you need to have qualified individually.  The relay line-ups that I ultimately use will depend a lot on who ends up swimming the fastest times prior to the events and where I think we can score the most points.

As for the divers, Coach Duran will determine that based on who she believes can compete with 11 dives.  As of now, I suspect that group includes Joe Duran, Michael Manley, Sarah Zapiain, Keziah Higginbottom, and Mary Duran.  I know that Joe Kosten recently started working toward that goal.  Joe is also close in 100 Breaststroke.

Other Top Performances

One of the reasons that I schedule a dominant team like Collegiate is to give our top swimmers a chance to swim against kids they will be seeing at States.  So this year, I coordinated some races with their coach for three of our all-time bests.  The result was some very fast swimming:

  • In the 50 Free, Cat Rogers lined up against one of Collegiate’s top sprinters and prevailed with a very fast mid-season time of 25.40, taking 1st place in the event. Cat’s walls are just too much for many of her competitors.  Cat also had a great race in 100 Breaststroke where she got to see Collegiate’s up and coming breaststroker up close and personal.  Cat lost round 1, but I don’t see it happening again.
  • Vincent “Catfish” Dunn raced in 100 Fly and beat his Collegiate opponent by .03 seconds in a very exciting race where he took 1st place overall. Catfish swam in an incredible mid-season time of 54.05 with a perfect finish.  Catfish also got to see a very fast backstroker from Collegiate who will probably contend for the backstroke State Championship.  Catfish swam well and showed that we should see him the State finals once again for this event.
  • Alex Doonis had a very fine swim in 100 Free, taking 2nd place overall behind a 2-time defending state champion from Collegiate.

Personal Records

As fast as Cat, Alex and Catfish are, they are not the only ones who are standing out with some of their performances.  I’ve been more than a little excited to see other kids step up and perform well, including these swimmers who combined for 75 more Personal Records on Saturday.  If you notice a lot of big breaststroke PRs (there were 13 in 100 Breaststroke alone), that might be the result of our concentration on the stroke over the past week in practice, and, except for the most striking PRs, you’ll also notice that I started with “Z” this time ;-):

  • David Lambrecht continued his perfect streak of a PR every time that he hits the water with another 3 PRs on Saturday! And he had some big ones:  A 2.67 second PR in 200 Free, a 2.05 second PR in 100 Free and a 1.54 second PR in 50 Free leading off a medley relay.  Now that’s a pretty good day!
  • Joe Kosten has grown into one of our top swimmers this season, and he still continues to improve. On Saturday, he had 3 PRs in his 3 events including a 1.47 second PR in 100 Free leading off a relay, a 1.06 second PR in 50 Free leading off another relay, and a .37 second PR in the 200 IM.  His 50 Free is now down to 25.85 and his 100 Free is down to 58.24 – these a pretty good times for a sophomore!
  • Claire Kenna’s great swimming performances did not end with her participation on our “A” relays. He also swam a superior time in 200 IM that was 7.92 seconds faster than her previous best, and a superior time in the 500 Free where she was 8.38 seconds faster than her PR.  Now that was a good day of swimming and made all of the problems the meet caused her family’s Christmas party all worth it 😉
  • Kimberly Rector, one of our top 8th grade swimmers, is showing some tremendous versatility. In the past couple of weeks, she showed that she is one of the top breaststrokers and 200 IMers on our team, and Saturday, she showed that she can compete with the big girls in 200 Free.  She took 6th place overall with a very fast 2:18.46.  Kimberly is now the 4th fastest 200 Freestyler on the team – as an 8th  She also cut .40 seconds from her 50 Free, breaking the 30 second barrier on her way to possibly earning a future spot on our 200 Free Relay.
  • Emily Heim was awesome in the 200 Free, swimming a 17.48 second PR, but what was really awesome was her 1.53 second PR in 100 Breaststroke which got her the qualifying time for the State Championship meet!
  • Jillian Ceol was super in the 500 Free, cutting an amazing 24.96 seconds from her personal record. Versatility is the key for young swimmers, and Jillian is showing it.
  • And Patrick Pennefather, only a freshman, is also stepping up into a key role on our team in the short-axis strokes (i.e. Breaststroke and Butterfly). His butterfly improved another 3.76 seconds to an excellent 1:10.33.  To put that in some perspective, at this age, David Basinger, one of our all-time best butterfliers, was going just a half second faster than this!  In two individual events, Patrick placed 8th and 11th overall in what turned out to be a very fast meet.
  • Peter Quinan has clearly figured out how to carve out his niche on our team so that he can score the maximum number of points for us. That is why he has been so enthusiastic about events like the 500 Free, where, on Saturday, he cut another 16.42 seconds to take 7th place overall.
  • Meridyth Rosato swam very well, lowering her 100 Breaststroke PR by an amazing 4.67 seconds and her 50 Free PR by 2.71 seconds. Now that’s a pretty good days work!
  • 8th grader Geni Lucas scored well with 2 9th-place overall finishes, including a 9.66 second PR in the 500 Free and a great first-time effort in the 200 IM.
  • Joe Zapiain is starting to get the hang of things in both swimming and Algebra class. In swimming on Saturday, he showed he was listening in practice and when he swam a 3.13 second PR.
  • Vivian Zadnik had two PRs on Saturday including a 2.09 second PR in 100 Breaststroke and a .42 second PR in 50 Free.
  • And older sister Catie Zadnik, a first year swimmer, continues to show amazing improvement. She cut 4.95 seconds from her breaststroke PR and another .56 seconds from her 50 Free PR.  It was great to watch Catie congratulating her younger sister for such a great swim in breaststroke.
  • Way to go John Wunderly! You had a really nice swim in 100 Breaststroke and you lowered your PR by 2.46 seconds!
  • Jude Van de Voorde, I’ve never seen your breaststroke looking so good. And it showed in your time with a 8.94 second personal record!
  • Gotta love Steven Shaw. After swimming a .78 second PR in 200 Free, he came over to Coach Lowell and I and said, “I know I did my best.  It’s not my full potential, but it was my best today.”  That’s all I can ask for.
  • 8th grader Cris Salas is showing some enthusiasm. He cut .90 seconds from his PR in 50 back leading off the relay and was unfortunately disqualified in a pretty good effort at 100 Fly.   I’ll make sure you get another shot at that Fly Cris.
  • Mary Remington showed noticeable improvement in 100 Backstroke. I also noticed that her time was 1.62 seconds faster too.
  • Rose Remington really had a good swim in 100 Breaststroke cutting 2.60 seconds from her previous best time.
  • Andrew Quinan beat his previous best time in 50 Free by .58 seconds.
  • Michaela Pennefather, another one of our 8th grade girls, is going to be a key member of our squad in the future if she keeps improving like she has been this season. On Saturday, she cut another .46 seconds from her 100 Free.
  • Another freshman, Paul Pechie, also did well in 100 Fly, cutting 10.00 seconds from his PR. And Paul’s 100 Back swim was a PR, by .43 seconds.
  • Mark O’Donohue is really trying hard in practice, and it showed with his 5.48 second PR in 100 Breaststroke!
  • John O’Donohue continues to show his heart with two PRs: John swam a .96 second PR in 50 Free and a .06 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Paul Mosimann is doing much better in Breaststroke, cutting 2.02 seconds from his 100 PR.
  • Junior James Mosimann is working his way into the varsity ranks by scoring points for us in 100 Fly after a 5.48 second PR!
  • Tommy-Boy Moore (a great movie you adults who, like me, work in sales!) not only helped the team by assisting his Dad set up the music equipment, he made some dramatic improvement in 100 Breast with a 5.32 second PR.
  • I was really pleased with Sally Marrazzo’s backstroke lead-off in one of our medley relays when she swam her personal best by 1.59 seconds. She is also knocking on the door of a sub-30 seconds 50 Free with another .09 second personal record.
  • Junior Luke Marrazzo cut .17 seconds from his 50 Free PR solidifying his position as one of our Varsity relay swimmers.
  • How about Emily Lowell’s butterfly? Looks to me like near perfect performance on every drill in practice is starting to translate to faster times in the pool.  She cut 10.50 seconds from her PR in 100 Fly on Saturday!
  • Is it just me, or does Jessica Krynitsky look awfully comfortable in the water? This is her first year swimming with us, but I can already see great potential as she cut another .48 seconds from her PR in 50 Free.
  • I was very pleased with Brian Koehr’s performance. He cut 8.31 seconds from 100 Breast PR, a very big improvement that resulted from a big improvement in his technique.  He also cut another .09 seconds from his 50 Free PR.  He had a great start.
  • John Paul Kleb lowered his 50 Free PR by 1.28 seconds, another big improvement.

More Personal Records

  • Michael Kenneally followed many of his teammates with a 4.47 second PR in 100 Breaststroke, and he did that after swimming a .94 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Coach Irving was pumped with Tommy Irving cut 2.80 seconds from his breaststroke PR. Tommy is only in 7th grade, and with the strength that he’s already developed, I can see him turning into a very fine swimmer.
  • And Julia Irving also swam a PR. Her’s was a .14 second PR in 100 Back which earned a 9th place overall and scored in all of our dual meets on Saturday.
  • Noelle Hickey improved her 100 Breaststroke PR by .05 seconds.
  • How about Sarah Heim’s 100 Freestyle? A 4.99 second PR for a swimmer with her experience is a really great accomplishment.
  • Cecilia Garvey swam two PRs, including a .45 second PR in 50 Free and a .20 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.
  • Tommy Flook was great in that 50 Free, swimming 1.43 seconds faster than his previous best with a really great finish. He also had a really fine swim in 100 Fly going 1:13.71, a very fast time for a swimmer his age.
  • Dani Flook sure does look good in the water. I especially liked her 50 Backstroke leading off the medley relay.
  • Bryanna Farmer is making great progress in the short-axis strokes. On Saturday, she lowered her breaststroke PR by 2.97 seconds and in Fly, she lowered her PR by another .24 seconds.  I’m anxious to see her really start working hard in practice so she can take full advantage of her significant potential.
  • Elizabeth Earls swam well with a big 1.58 second PR in 100 Back and a .58 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Patrick Dealey had another PR in 50 Free, this time by .16 seconds.
  • Tim Costello was taking much better advantage of his glide in breaststroke and the result was a 5.03 second PR.
  • Seth Catalano cut 1.84 seconds from his 50 Free PR leading off a freestyle relay.
  • And Hayden Catalano had a PR in the same event. Her’s was by .28 seconds.
  • Michael Byers swam two PRs including a .75 second PR in 50 Free and a .08 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Sarah Brien swam very well in 100 Breaststroke, lowering her PR by 2.58 seconds.
  • Hugh Brien’s focus on his freestyle technique is showing up in his times. He cut 1.17 seconds from his 200 Free PR and .06 seconds from his 100 Free PR
  • Teresa Bliss had a good day with PRs in 100 Breast (by an amazing 11.80 seconds) and 50 Free (by .28 seconds)
  • Sarah Blanchard is getting back to her old form after a hiatus playing basketball. She cut another .03 seconds from her 50 Free PR.  I love to watch her swim because of her athleticism.  She can be good!
  • Will Arnold is having a really great season with improvements in many events. This time, he lowered his 100 Breaststroke PR by 8.05 seconds – that’s a big drop!


I was very pleased with the performances of the following swimmers who tried some of the more difficult events in the meet for the very first time:

200 IM

  • Jack Corkery
  • Seth Catalano
  • Geni Lucas

100 Fly

  • Cat Pechie
  • Dani Flook
  • Meghan O’Malley
  • Hayden Catalano

There are a lot of points to be scored in these two events because so many teams can’t find 4 swimmers who can do them.  I’m very happy to say that we have a few more swimmers capable of competing in these events now.


Our divers continue to improve and score points for the team.  Here are some comments from Diving Coach Maureen Duran:

Saturday’s diving meet was a spectacular event for Seton’s first year divers, including all those diving official for the very first time. ALL Seton divers improved their performance and scores from our preceding meet early December. Lets start with the boys, my favorite. Joseph Duran, despite several diving set backs for the past few weeks was able to pull off a first place with a score of 154.40, well below his best of 170, but an improvement from his score in the  Dec 3rd meet of 141.65.  Michael Manley, is the boy to watch. A third year diver, he is on his way of reaching his best score this year. Michael placed second with a score of 127.10 and improvement from last meet of 122.90. Now the proud coach award goes to Joseph Kosten and Joseph Zapiain. Did I mention we have 3 Joseph’s on our team and two Michael’s. O kay so Joseph Koston, first year diver placed 4th in yesterdays meet with a score of 111.40, crushing his first meets score of 80.30. Joseph Zapiain, first time competitor, took 5th place with a score of 65.05. Don’t let Zapiain’s score fool you, he’s capable of great diving. Now, lets move on to my favorite event, girl’s diving. Sarah Zapiain, captain of Seton’s dive team placed 3rd yesterday with a score of 117.30 beating her score from the December 3rd meet of 113.25. Like Joseph Duran, Sarah’s potential hasn’t been maxed out yet. She dove well but left a lot out for her competitors to see. Right behind Sarah with a score of 113.75, Mary Duran, who had a decent  day of diving. She impressively beat her score from last meet of 101.00. Trailing Mary by the tips of her toes is Keziah Higginbottom with a score of 112.00. Keziah’s last meets score was 102.25. Keziah had some amazing forward dives this meet and is capable of improving from 5th place. First time competitor, Theresa Verry, a bit nervous and scared seeing that it was her first real competition completed six dives. Several dives were short from perfection but her potential like most Seton divers is quite obvious. I am so proud of all of our divers and look forward to moving several more divers into the competition and exhibition stages. Good job Seton!! On a personal note, I want everyone to thank Mrs. Ceol for taking pictures during and after our diving meet. She volunteered her time, energy and talent making the Seton dive team a bonafied entity at our school. Big hug Dawn, oops, I mean, “Oh most beautiful queen!”

Missing Meets or Being Late for Events

As much as I’ve emphasized this, we still seem to be having problems with kids who miss meets without telling me.  Yes, it is a big problem for Grace Van de Voorde, Dianna Pechie (our outstanding team managers) and me who have to try to change relays at the last minute with 80 kids around us asking questions, but the bigger problem is for your teammates.  What should I say when three swimmers come up to me before an event and say that one of their swimmers is not there?  If for some reason we didn’t catch it in the heat of battle, they have to scratch there relay – in other words, they don’t get to swim.  Very uncool on so many levels.

The problem is exacerbated by kids who are chronically late.  Dianna and I have to look at each other and make a judgment: are they coming?  Should we change the relays?  I think, from now on, that we are just going to have to start removing people from relays if they are not present while the team is stretching – unless of course they’ve had the courtesy to tell me they are going to be late.

One more problem that we need to straighten out:  The officials told me that a lot of our kids are late getting to the blocks which delays the meet.  Technically, you should be disqualified if you don’t get on the block when the referee blows the whistle.  I’ve told Mr. Seltman and Mr. Rogers that they just need to start disqualifying swimmers who can’t manage to get themselves in the right place at the right time.  I hate to do it, but at this point in the season, we shouldn’t be talking about this sort of thing.

Thank You Mr. Cook

Our Team President for the last 10 years, Mr. Cook must leave his role on our team to others now.  His time, generosity and vision have been instrumental in making Seton Swimming what it is today, and I know that I would not have been able to do the things I’ve done with this team without him “behind the curtain”.  We’ve divided the things that he did for the team into 5 areas, and have identified how we are going to fulfill those responsibilities on our team.  Thank you to Mr. Wunderly who is taking over the leadership of our dry-deck officials, including setting up and seeding all of our meets in the computer, and the Mr. Moore who has jumped in to handle all of the sound systems that give our meets so much energy.   We have yet to identify a new team President, but will be talking to potential candidates over the next few weeks.  If you are interested, or if you have a suggestion, please feel free to give me the benefit of your opinion.

Christmas Practices

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, which are school days, we will practice at the normal times.  Please try to make it because we will be learning breast/fly turns and relay starts.

I’m still finalizing this with the Freedom Center, but I hope to have Captain’s Practices on the following days from 9:21 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.:

  • Thursday, December 22nd
  • Tuesday, December 27th
  • Thursday, December 29th
  • Monday, January 2nd

As soon as I have a definitive answer on the times, I will let you know.  Coach Lowell will be writing these practices, and at least one adult coach will be on deck, but as has become our tradition, these practices will be run by the Captains.

If you swim with Coach Remington, Coach Flook, Coach Lowell or Coach Zadnik, and you are in town, you are expected to attend.  These practices are option for Coach Rosato’s and Coach Ceol’s swimmers.  Coach Irving’s swimmers have the Christmas break off.

Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow,

Coach Koehr

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