It was as if Apollo was determined to force us to make amends for a crime we did not commit.
By the time we got to last week, a premature rescheduling of DAC Champs started to feel like Hercules’ challenge to kill the Nemean Lion. Then the ice storm on Saturday felt like being assigned the task of slaying the nine-headed Lernaean Hydra, and even overcoming a last-minute discussion among the VISAA Swimming leadership about not recognizing a State Champion at all this year felt like capturing the Cretan Bull.
OK, I know that is all a bit hyperbolic, but it just seemed like nothing was going to be made easy this year.
And that made Saturday’s DAC Conference Championship Meet even more satisfying – our 12 “heroic labors” were finally completed for the Mycenean King.
Countless people were involved in these daunting trials, led of course by Paul Fifield and Bill Dealey who bore the brunt of the load. Thanks to these two plus so many others, I think we can honestly say that we have a done a great service to the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being of the nearly one-third of the kids at Seton who were on the swim team this year.
I must also express my gratitude to Tommy Cureton, the Warrenton Parks and Recreation Director, Denise Robey, the Aquatics Manager at the Fitch Warrenton Aquatics and Recreation Facility (WARF), and all their staff for being so helpful and accommodating. A late-night, weekday meet was no one’s preference, but instead of defaulting to “no”, they generated an option for us to make this meet happen. It is all part of the reason I love living in Warrenton.
Congratulations to both the Seton Boys and Girls who ended the night as Champions of the 2021 DAC Conference Championship Meet.
And congratulations to this year’s Swimmers of the Meet:
- Boys – Josh Kim, Trinity Christian School, with two individual Gold Medals and a new DAC Record
- Girls – Madisyn Carter, Highland School, with two individual Gold Medals and a new DAC Record
It was a very fast meet, particularly on the girl’s side where there were three (3) superstars vying for attention with their stellar swims. The girl’s Swimmer of the Meet could have just as easily been Paris Thornburg of Highland or Annalise Cornett of Trinity Christian School, both of whom also won two individual Gold Medals and set new DAC Records with tremendous swims.
Here are three of those great swims that resulted in new DAC Championship Meet Records:
- Girls 100 Butterfly, Madisyn Carter, Highland School, 57.15
- Girls 500 Free, Annalise Cornett, Trinity Christian School, 5:03.43
- Girls 100 Breaststroke, Paris Thornburg, Highland School, 1:06.79
We also had some new Seton and Highland Team Records:
- Seton Team Record: Angie Testani (8), 100 Breaststroke, 1:07.65, breaking Cat Rogers’ record of 1:07.70 from February 17, 2012.
- Highland Team Record: Madisyn Carter (FR), 100 Butterfly, 57.15, breaking her own record of 57.87 from February 6, 2021.
I hope you noted those times and the grade levels for these girls. We are talking about very fast girls that are going to be around for a while!
A recording of the Meet live-stream is under the About/Videos menu or by clicking here.
Going into the meet, I knew that we had two challenges:
- Position ourselves with the best possible times to submit to the virtual State Championship Meet, and
- Get as many Seton swimmers to All-Conference status as possible.
But after reviewing the Psych Sheet, I quickly saw that our Girls had one more significant challenge to try to outscore Trinity Christian. Led by Annalise Cornett’s prowess in her two individual events and on the anchor of two relays, I knew we would have our hands full. Scoring the Psych Sheet, it looked like the meet would be within only 35 points.
In the end, we completed our historic season with victories for both the Girls and the Boys:
Seton School 397
Trinity Christian School 350
Highland School 64
Seton School 493.5
Trinity Christian School 245.5
This final victory capped the most prolific season we have had in nearly a decade:
- Hosted nine (9) meets, more than any other school in the State of Virginia, public or private.
- DAC Regular Season Champions – Boys (24th of 27) and Girls (27th in a row).
- NoVa Catholic High School Champions – Boys
- NoVa Catholic High School Championship Runner-Up – Girls
- VISAA JV Invitational Meet Champions – Boys and Girls
- VISAA Division II Invitational Meet Champions – Boys and Girls
- DAC Conference Meet Champions – Boys and Girls
All that is left is to try to win our 9th and 10th VISAA Division II State Championships. The work in the water is done – very well done. I will submit our “entries” by February 20th, and we should hear the results of the virtual Championship by February 28th.
That would be amazing way to end this historic season. We will not be absolved of our guilt or achieve immortality, but a State Championship would be a great way to move on to other adventures. Next year, I understand there is a Princess in Troy that needs to be rescued.
One of the unique features of the DAC Conference Championship Meet is the path it provides to recognition as “All-Conference”. Anyone who finishes in the top-3 in an individual event is designated “All-Conference”.
We had a bunch:
- Jack Santschi (SR) anchored all three (3) of our relays to gold medals, so he only had one chance to be DAC Champion, of which he took full advantage in the 50 Free with a blazing 23.74. That was a .15 second PR, and a great way to wrap up his stellar career at Seton.
- Joe Wilson (SO) also helped our team enhance our chances in the virtual State Meet by swimming in three (3) gold medal relays, and like Jack, he used his one chance at an individual event to become the DAC Champion in 100 Fly.
- Mary Pennefather (SO) is the DAC Champion in 50 Free and the silver medalist in 100 Free with a season-best 58.39.
- Angie Testani (8) is the DAC Champion in 200 IM. She had a great race against another top 8th grader from Trinity, but her breaststroke leg was the difference. And as I mentioned above, Angie also cut another .62 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke PR to claim the silver medal, behind only Highland superstar senior Paris Thornburg.
- Nathan Luevano (SO) is the DAC Champion in 100 Breaststroke after a .69 second PR. Nathan also took the silver medal in 500 Free with a great swim.
- David Hudson (FR) is the DAC Champion in 200 IM after a gutsy race when he had to come back against teammate JJ Brox. It took a 6.98 second PR to get the job done. David also took the silver medal in 100 Fly with a 1.12 second PR, and even swam a 2.15 second PR in 50 Free leading off a 200 Free Relay. That’s quite a list of accomplishments for a freshman!
- Evan Wilson (SR) was the DAC Champion in 100 Backstroke after a tie. He needed every bit of that .22 second PR he swam to hold off a surging Trinity Christian swimmer. Evan also took the bronze medal in 1-meter Diving.
- Connor Koehr (8) is the DAC Champion in 1-meter Diving after a PR score of 148.75. Connor also took the bronze medal in 100 Back after a gutsy 4.62 second PR swim. It took a big drop like that because his friend Dominic Miller (FR) also had a great swim. Finally, Connor led off our “B” medley relay with a .02 second PR in 50 Back.
- Mary Clare Waldron (JR) is the DAC Champion in 1-meter Diving. To show her versatility, Clare also scored in 6th place in what turned out to be the fastest event of the meet, Girl’s 100 Breaststroke.
- Liam Kellogg (SR) rocked his two events and took two silver medals in the process. Both of his swims were very fast PR swims where he had the misfortune to face the eventual Swimmer of the Meet twice. In 200 Free Liam cut 3.73 seconds to go 2:07.06, and even more impressive, in 100 Free Liam cut an incredible 1.39 seconds to 53.03!
- Jerry Dalrymple (SR) swam out of his mind on Monday night. He took the silver medal in 50 Free in 24.04, a .27 second PR, and he took the bronze medal in 100 Free in a blazing 53:30, a .57 second PR. He was even faster in the relays, as we already discussed above.
- Lucy Garvey (JR) had two superior swims that resulted in two medals, two PRs, and two All-Conference recognitions. It started with the 200 Free when she dropped almost a full second (.96 seconds actually) to take the bronze medal and ended with the 100 Back where she took the silver medal behind the eventual Swimmer of the Meet with another PR, this one by .50 seconds.
- Clara Condon (8) had a great meet to wrap up her first year on the team. She swam an awesome .93 second PR 1:03.85 in 100 Fly to take the silver medal behind only the eventual Swimmer of the Meet, and she took the bronze medal with a strong swim in 100 Breaststroke.
- JJ Brox (SO) earned 2X All-Conference honors with a silver medal in the 200 IM and a Bronze medal in 100 Breaststroke. He had a particularly good race in the 200 IM where he came back on the breaststroke leg.
- Isabelle Luevano (JR) came to me before the meet to tell me that she was not feeling well. She was concerned about her potential impact on the team – I loved that Isabelle. Her selfless attitude was one of the many reasons I was so pleased to see her swim her season-best time in 50 Free to take the silver medal and All-Conference honors. Isabelle also took 7th in 100 Free.
- Mick Fioramonti (FR) earned two (2) medals with their accompanying All-Conference recognitions. In Diving, Mick won the silver medal with a score of 127.65, and in the 500 Free, Mick won the bronze medal. Mick scored an awful lot of points in that 500 Free event this season.
- Emma Catabui (JR) took the silver medal in Diving with a PR score of 98.90. I was so proud of her when Coach Keapproth texted me a video of her doing a nearly perfect inward somersault at this morning’s practice!
- Joey Dealey (SO) achieved All-Conference honors with his first-ever bronze medal in the 200 Free. Immediately after the race, his father told me that Joey had set a goal back when he was in 7th grade to be All-Conference in 200 Free by the time he was a sophomore – he did it! Joey also took 4th in 500 Free.
- Maggie Gibbons (FR) sure was excited after her bronze medal 50 Free – and she deserved to be – she was All-Conference. Maggie also took 6th in 100 Free with a .36 second PR.
- Max Wilson (8) had a great swim in 200 IM and took the bronze medal with a 5.21 second PR. Even at a young age, Max is already a great four (4) stroke swimmer. Max also cut 1.30 seconds from his 100 Fly PR to score in 4th
The All-Important Relays
As I described in the opening of the livestream, preparing our entries for the meet left me at cross purposes: Are we trying to win DAC Champs or are we trying to win the virtual State Champs.
Of course, we were trying to have our cake and eat it too by winning both, but that did not mean there were some hard decisions to be made. Most of those were in the relays where I needed to use Jack Santschi (SR) and Joe Wilson (SO) in all three of them to help ensure we would have the best possible times to submit for States.
The calculus here was complicated by the fact that we only had two (2) teams with relays in the meet and only “A” Relays scored. With first place scoring 32 points and 2nd place scoring 26 points, winning a relay was only worth 6 points in this meet.
But that will not be the case for States, so I went all-in on our line-up with States in mind.
The boys swam three (3) excellent relays, winning the DAC Championship in all of them and improving our State Meet chances in two of them:
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Evan Wilson (SR), Nathan Luevano (SO), Joe Wilson (SO), and Jack Santschi (SR) came into the meet with the 7th fastest time reported in the VISAA (I am not assuming that all times have been reported) at 1:48.54. In the end, they did not improve on that, but Evan, Joe and Jack all had small PR splits in the attempt.
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Liam Kellogg (SR), Jerry Dalrymple (SR), Joe Wilson (SO), and Jack Santschi (SR) on the other moved up two spots on the VISAA top times report with some amazing swims. They came in at 1:36.56, the 6th fastest time reported, and ended up at 1:36.17. That improvement moved them ahead of Veritas (a Division II school) who had out-touched them on February 6th by only .01 seconds – and Woodberry Forest too.
- The biggest contributors to the time drop were Jerry who cut .57 seconds from his PR split and Jack who went a blazing 23.24, his fastest ever by .11 seconds.
- Our Boys 400 Free Relay of Liam Kellogg (SR), Joe Wilson (SO), Jerry Dalrymple (SR), and Jack Santschi (SR) may have been the best swim of the night for our boys – in the very last event. We came into the meet with a PR for this season in this relay of 3:41.58 and finished in 3:34.96 – a 6.62 second drop.
- More importantly, that dropped us from the 11th fastest VISAA time reported down to 6th!
- Liam led off with a very fast 54.63, followed by Joe’s 55.03 (PR split of 55.42), Jerry’s amazing 52.85 (PR split of 54.94), and Jack’s 52.45 (PR split of 52.60).
- I’m so glad we took our final shot at putting this relay together!
We really needed that last relay, because Peninsula Catholic is looking like they could be our major competitor for the State Championship. They have two studs who are going to score a lot of points individually. Of course, if their coach ends up using the two of them in two (2) individual events, it frees up one of relays to score big against them. Plus, we have four (4) divers. It is going to be really interesting!
On girl’s the side, our competition is a lot better known and closer to home – Trinity Christian School. (We are also going to have to contend with the Steward School that we saw in the VISAA Division II Invitational.) Our girl’s relays swam incredibly well, but unfortunately for us in the competitive sense, so did Trinity:
- Our Girl’s 200 Medley Relay of Lily Byers (JR), Angie Testani (8), Clara Condon (8), and Maggie Gibbons (FR) were not going to beat our 1:53.55 (still the top reported time in the VISAA) without Lucy Garvey and Mary Pennefather, but still needed them to beat the Trinity Christian relay if we were to win this meet – and they got the job done!
- It is hard for me to believe, but I have never had Lily Byers swim 50 Back in her entire career at Seton so far – that meant that she did not show up on any of my reports.
- After seeing her swimming so well in practice, I decided to have a swim-off that she won. Then, with all the time that had elapsed between that swim-off and the meet, I forgot all about it, not even recognizing her in the water during the actual race.
- I am so sorry Lily – your 33.19 split was awesome and was a big part of the reason you all were DAC Champions!
- Following Angie and Clara’s PR splits, Maggie anchored with a 27.03, a .53 second PR. They won by 3.66 seconds and gave us the lead in the meet.
- Our Girl’s 200 Free Relay of Lucy Garvey (JR), Angie Testani (8), Mary O’Malley (JR), and Mary Pennefather (SO) came into the meet with the 5th fastest time in the VISAA (based on some new times on SwimCloud), and after dropping .43 seconds, they still have the 5th fastest time.
- Trinity Christian came into the meet with the 3rd fastest time, and despite their victory over us, they also stayed in the same place. Steward has the 2nd fastest time.
- That does not mean that our silver medal performance did not see some superior splits, particularly from Angie Testani (faster by .31 seconds) and Mary O’Malley (faster by .09 seconds)
- Our 400 Free Relay of Lucy Garvey (JR), Isabelle Luevano (JR), Mary O’Malley (JR) and Mary Pennefather (SO) also took the silver medal against a very strong Trinity team. I knew we would need at least a three (3) second lead when TCS super-star Annalise Cornett hit the water, and we just could not get it.
- The highlight of the race for me for Isabelle Luevano’s 2nd leg. As I previously mentioned, she had come to me before the meet saying that she was not feeling well. She wanted me to do what was best for the team.
- It was not an easy decision for me – she swam a silver medal PR in 50 Free but was off her PR in 100 Free. I decided to bet on Isabelle when she said she thought she could do it.
- I am really glad I did, because she came through with a 1:00.18 split, the 2nd fastest split among all of the girls in either our “A” or “B” relay!
Our Highland Girl Superstars
Four (4) swims, four (4) individual DAC Championships, two (2) new DAC Conference Championship Meet Records, one (1) Swimmer of the Meet, and one (1) new Highland Team record. Not a bad night’s work for Paris Thornburg (SR) and Madisyn Carter (FR).
- Paris Thornburg (SR) rocked on Monday night with two individual gold medals. We have been working to narrow down her State Meet entries to two (2) of the three (3) events in which she is competitive at the State level.
- Monday was the first time she had the chance to swim 100 Freestyle in a high school meet, and she sure took advantage of the opportunity. Her seed time was 56.82, a time she last swam at States in 2018, but her final time was an amazing 53.63! That is now the 2nd fastest time reported in the VISAA!
- Paris also took the opportunity to try to break 1:07 in 100 Breaststroke. She already held the DAC record in the event at 1:07.04, and on Monday night, she beat the record again by going 1:06.79! That is now the 4th fastest time in the VISAA.
- Looking at SwimCloud, I can also see that her 24.66 is also the 2nd fastest VISAA time reported in the 50 Free. Oh, how I wish we could actually swim in the water at the State Meet, because the only girl ahead of Paris in both the 50 and the 100 Free is Kaitlyn Sullivan of Williamsburg Christian. I would have loved to see that one settled in the water.
- Madisyn Carter (FR) also was stellar on Monday night, matching Paris’ two (2) gold medals.
- She started off with what was probably the best single swim of the night, her 100 Butterfly. That is really saying something with the great swims that we saw from Paris Thornburg and Annalise Cornett of Trinity Christian. Madisyn’s 57.15 crushed her own DAC and Team record of 57.87, set just one week before, and it won the Gold medal by 6.70 seconds against some very good competition.
- In her other gold medal swim, Madisyn cut time once again in 100 Backstroke, this time by .04 seconds to go a blazing 1:00.34 or 2.98 seconds ahead of Seton’s top backstroker who took the silver medal.
- For those great swims, particularly her 100 Butterfly which beat the Junior National cut for USA Swimming and earned her a trip to Orlando, Madisyn was voted by the coaches to be the Swimmer of the Meet.
At the beginning of the season, I got together with Paris and Madisyn and developed some goals. So far, we are meeting or exceeding all of them.
What is left on the list? State Finalist for both girls in both of their events. They are both looking so good for that goal, that I now want to see if it is possible for both to be All-State in both of their events.
In my next blog, will I be writing “four (4) swims, four (4) All-State recognitions”?
Other Personal Records and Great Swims
You do not win a meet like this with just medalists. Depth has always been the key to our victories, and Monday night’s DAC Championship was no different:
- Teresa Bingham (JR) had two great individual swims in the difficult 200 IM and 100 Fly, scoring in 5th place both times.
- Michael Brox (8) showed how great he can be by duplicating Teresa’s accomplishments with two 5th place finishes in 200 IM and 100 Fly – that scored 20 points. Michael swims were also big PRs, by 4.16 seconds and 9.40 seconds, respectively.
- Lily Byers (JR) scored big for Seton with 6th and 7th place finishes in 100 Fly and 100 Back. I am also quite sure Lily would have swum a big PR in 50 Back, but incredibly, she has never swum 50 Back in her career at Seton until Monday night. (See above).
- Emily Flynn (JR) had an amazing meet, crushing her season-best times and even beating her life-time best times by wide margins. In the 200 Free, where she scored in 6th place, she dropped 6.85 seconds, and in the 500 Free, where she scored in 5th, she dropped 8.44 seconds. Great job Emily!
- Liam Halisky (8) made the most of his first year competing at the Varsity level with two PRs and two top-8 finishes. In 50 Free, Liam scored in 5th place with a .35 second PR that broke :30 for the first time, and in 100 Back, Liam scored in 6th place after an even bigger 1.62 second PR.
- Virginia Hartung (SR) concluded her senior year with a good swim in the 50 Free. I was so proud of Virginia this season, and I am so grateful the help she gave me and Coach Zadnik with coaching on Wednesday and Friday.
- Ava Hudson (FR) scored well for Seton, taking 7th in the 200 IM and 9th in 100 Back.
- Seth Kellogg (8) made a big contribution during his first season competing on the Varsity level, and he did it with a two (2) big Personal Records. In 100 Free, Seth dropped 3.28 seconds to score in 7th place, and in 100 Breaststroke, he dropped 1.32 seconds to score in 6th
- Céilí Koehr (JR) surprised even her father when she cut 2 seconds from her season-best 50 Free and .59 seconds from her lifetime best. Céilí also cut 6.32 seconds from her 500 Free PR to score in 7th
- Peter Konstanty (FR) came on very strong late in the season when I gave him a chance to swim the 50 and 200 Free. In the 50 Free, he dropped .82 seconds to take 4th place in a very fast heat of much older boys. His 28.13 is a competitive time for a freshman. Peter also scored in 6th place for the 200 Free with a strong time of 2:26.
- Chris Lynch (FR) finished the season with great performances in all the last three (3) meets, including this one. He scored big points with two 5th place finishes, one in 500 Free with a 6.38 second PR and the other in 100 Breaststroke with a .52 second PR.
- Dominic Miller (FR) had a great first season on the Seton team and concluded it with a great performance in Diving where he scored in 4th place and a great swim in 100 Backstroke where he scored in 4th place after a .77 second PR.
- Teresa Mosimann (SR) wrapped up her one and only season on the Seton team by trying the 500 Free for the first time. She was so good at it, I found myself wondering why I did not give her a shot at it sooner. She scored in 8th place in that event, right after she had scored in 8th place in the 200 Free. It was so great having Teresa on the team this season!
- Nicolas Nagurny (FR) showed that he going to be force to be reckoned with in the future. As a first-year swimming, I was very pleased to see him take 4th in 200 Free and 5th in 100 Free.
- Mary O’Malley (JR) had a great meet, scoring in 5th place twice. The first time was her 2.18 second PR swim in 200 Free, and the other one was in a very fast heat of 100 Free.
- Jacqueline Oswald (SO) showed a lot of improvement this season, particularly in backstroke and freestyle. In 100 Back, she scored in 8th place, and in 50 Free, she cut a whopping 1.40 seconds.
- Lucy Pennefather (8) had a tremendous meet, making the difficult double of 500 Free and 100 Breaststroke look easy. She started by taking 6th in the 500 Free with a 7.19 second PR, and then she came back to take 5th in the super-fast 100 Breaststroke with a 3.94 second PR.
- Madelyn Zadnik (FR) scored in 6th place twice, including in 200 IM (with a 3.00 second PR), and in 50 Free. I was so grateful this year with Madelyn’s help coaching our new Wednesday/Friday group.
- Sophia Zadnik (JR) finished the season strong with her 7th place finish in a 100 Fly after a gutsy swim, particularly at the end of the last length.
You have left me with some very good times with which to work for the virtual State Championship. Now it is just going to be a game of chess with the pieces you have put on the board for me.
I am optimistic, particularly with the great work our Diving team has done this year, but looking at the latest VISAA time postings on SwimCloud, this is definitely not a slam dunk.
I hope to know the results before our Swim Team Banquet on Sunday, February 28th. Coach Dalrymple is working on a location that will handle a team our size with plenty of space. More on that soon.
In between all of that, Coach Dalrymple is also hosting a dinner for the Seton seniors at her house in Nokesville at 4:00 p.m. on February 20th. Parents and Coaches with spouses have also been sent invitations.
At the dinner, I hope to continue our tradition, started a States a few years ago, of offering the opportunity for the seniors to say a few words about their time on the Seton Swimming. It has been a very cool experience in the past.
Congratulations on a great season! I wish more than anyone that we had more work to do in the water to win our 9th and 10th State Championships, but I guess the ball is left in my court rather than yours, where it rightfully should be.
You have all done your part, for sure. You can count on me to give the level of effort in preparing our State Meet entries that you all deserve.
Coach Jim Koehr