For the first time in Seton history, both our boys and girls team has defeated Bishop Ireton Catholic High School!  Our boys also defeated Davison I power St. Christopher’s from Richmond, and our girls also defeated former Division II State Champion Stonebridge.  I am getting very excited for Seton’s prospects in the post season.

Among other opponents that Seton hosted on Saturday was last year’s Division I Girls State Champion St. Catherine’s, the sister school to St. Christopher’s, and 7-Time Boys Division I State Champion, Woodberry Forest.  While St. Catherine’s and Woodberry beat us handily, we had several great races against them.  I was really pleased with the results.

Our victories came on the strength of 48 Personal records.  We have now had 362 personal records so far this season!  I would just love to hit 500 PRs by the end of the season.

For the season so far, our boys are 12-5 and our girls are 14-3.  These are excellent records considering that only about half of the teams we swim against are VSIS Division II teams.  Against teams in our Division, we haven’t even had a close meet yet.

The final scores turned out like this:


Seton     184             Bishop Ireton                 124

Seton     128             St. Catherine’s               179

Seton      210             Stonebridge                       73

Seton      244             Portsmouth Christian         14


Seton     187            Bishop Ireton                  132

Seton     158            St. Christopher’s             144

Seton     113             Woodberry Forest             187

Once Again, Our Girls Were Amazing

It continues to be a joy to watch our girls swim so well.  Without one of our top swimmers, we once again showed how strong and deep our girl’s team is.  Against our main competition, Bishop Ireton, our girls won every event! One indication of how strong our girls were this week was the fact that we won all three relays against Bishop Ireton.  The performance of our relays at last year’s State Championship was a big reason we won the Division II title.  All three of our relays finished in the top-8 at States last year.  (Remember that States is a combined Division I and Division II event so when you finish in the top-8, you are doing it against Division I schools.) Relays score 10-5-3 for the top 3 places in a regular season meet, so a first place finish guarantees victory in the event:

  • The first girl’s event, the girls 200 Medley relay was very exciting.  Our girls took 1st place overall when anchor Laura Talbott overtook a St. Catherine’s senior in the last 5 yards to garner victory by only .37 seconds.  Alex Doonis, Mary Kate Kenna and Bridget Wunderly put Laura in position to take the lead with great swims in Back, Breast and Fly.  I think our girl’s medley relay should repeat last year’s top-8 performance at States.  This relay beat BI’s “A” Relay by over 7 seconds.
  • Upperclassmen Mary Kate Kenna and Carolyn Claybrooks were the back half of a 200 Free relay led off by freshman Cat Rogers and 8th grader Sarah Blanchard.  These 4 girls beat BI’s “A” relay by nearly 8 seconds.  Carolyn Claybrooks 50 split was particularly fast.
  • Our girls 400 Free relay completed an 11 event streak of event victories over Bishop Ireton.  By the time we got to this event, there was no way that Laura Talbott, Bridget Wunderly, Carolyn Claybrooks and Alex Doonis were going to get beaten.

We also had very strong individual scoring performances from the following girls.  In individual events, the top 7 places score 8-6-5-4-3-2-1, so unlike the relays, a 1st place finish does not guarantee victory an individual event.  All four official entries need to contribute:

  • Whenever Carolyn Claybrooks hits the water, I always say the same thing to myself – “Surprise me Carolyn”.  Carolyn’s 200 Free was another great swim, and I continue to be surprised by how much she has improved this season.  She cut almost 3 seconds from her PR and beat the top BI swimmer by over 6 seconds.
  • Sarah Zapiain cut 14.37 seconds from her 200 Free PR to jump up to 4th against BI.  Combined with good performances from Monica Byers and Alex Cummings, we won the 200 Free over BI and Stonebridge.
  • Mary Kate Kenna and Bridget Wunderly swam well in a very competitive 200 IM race, taking 2nd and 4th.  Eighth graders Keeley Cook and Sarah Blanchard took 5th and 6th to ensure victory in the event over both BI and Stonebridge.  It was Sarah’s first ever 200 IM.
  • In the 50 Free, Freshman Alex Doonis beat the entire field, including the top St. Catherine’s swimmers, by 1.28 seconds – nearly a body length.  Kelsey Kleb, Sarah McGurk and Sarah Blanchard took 3rd, 5th and 6th, respectively, to give Seton an 18-11 victory over BI in the event.
  • Bridget Wunderly and Laura Talbott took 2nd and 3rd versus BI in 100 Fly.
  • Rachel Lambrecht had a 4 second PR in 100 Fly to take 5th, and Kristen Rafter’s courageous swim took 6th and ensured a Seton victory in the event.
  • Carolyn Claybrooks came back in the 100 Free and dominated, taking first by a wide margin over BI and Stonebridge.  Daniel Smith, Alex Cummings, and Monica Byers took 3rd, 4th and 6th to keep the streak of Seton event victories over BI alive.
  • Laura Talbott led Seton in the 500 Free taking 2nd behind a BI swimmer who could compete for the individual state championship.  Fortunately, we also had Leslie Zapiain, Kelsey Kleb and Cat Rogers take 4th, 5th and 6th – and all three of them swam Personal Records!  Great timing.  Don’t think that those bottom places don’t matter – those were the scores that won the event for us.
  • In the 100 Backstroke, Freshman Alex Doonis had a tremendous swim against BI senior Mackenzie Soniak, who is one of the top backstrokers in the State.  Alex went a personal record 1:02.72, but just got out touched for first.  I don’t think Mackenzie was expecting Alex to be so strong – when you go as fast as Alex, it is really hard to improve by .86 seconds!  I’m looking for the final result to be reversed at States!  Both of these girls could be top-3 in February.
  • Once again, we won an event on the strength of our remaining swimmers.  Danielle Smith, Keeley Cook and Kristin Rafter took 3rd, 4th and 6th behind Alex and Mackenzie to once again seal victory in the event for the Seton girls.
  • Seton completed the streak of event victories over BI in a very competitive 100 Breaststroke.  Fortunately, we had Mark Kate Kenna, Rachel Lambrecht, Leslie Zapiain and Maggie Murphy take 2nd, 4th, 5th and 6th to win the event over BI 15-14.

Diving is a new piece of the puzzle for us this year.  Diving counts just like one swimming event, and for the second time this season, Coach Duran’s diving team extended our lead over an opponent.

  • Ann Duran came with 8 points (122.15 to 129.90) of taking first place over BI’s top diver.  Ann also jumped in a 200 Free relay and swam great!
  • Sarah Zapiain, Cat Rogers and Lizzie Rogers took 3rd, 4th and 5th to actually lead Seton to a big event victory in diving.

Boys Victory Not Secure Until the Final Event

The boys meet was much closer to than the girls meet.  After the boys 500 Free, Seton was ahead of Bishop Ireton.  At the end of 100 Fly, our boys were beating BI by only 3 points, and they were losing to St. Christopher’s by only 4 points.  That means that the meet was coming down to our 3rd and 4th swimmers in each event.  How did we get to this point?

  • Our boys 200 Medley Relay of Catfish Dunn, Daniel Koehr, David Basinger, and Patrick Kenna swam a PR for this combination of swimmers.  Daniel Koehr’s leg was particularly strong.  They beat Bishop Ireton, but got 2nd to St. Christopher’s.  Fortunately, our B relay of David Harris, Jonathan Rosato, Christian Vestermark and Brendan Koehr got 3rd, so we only lost the event to St. Christopher’s 10-8.  Not bad.
  • Vincent “Catfish” Dunn did some nice work in the 200 Free, taking 1st against BI and 2nd against St. Christopher’s.  David Harris, Ivan Harangozo and Jonathan Jacobeen also scored for us.   Before the race, Coach Kosten told Ivan to PR and swim a 2:40.  He did both.
  • Freshman Ivan Harangozo had a particularly good swim in the 200 Free with a 4.5 second PR.
  • The 200 IM featured of preview of the Finals at the upcoming State Championship.  Connor Cook, one of our top two male swimmers, faced off against two very good swimmers from St. Christopher’s and Woodberry.  They got the better of Connor this week, but he gets a rematch with Woodberry next week, and I know the results will be different.  In spite of the loss, Connor scored 6 points (8 points versus BI).  Brendan Koehr and Kevin Bliss’ 4th and 5th place finish helped keep the meet close.
  • Brendan Koehr had a 4.43 second PR in 200 IM in his scoring swim, and Kevin Bliss scored the first time he ever swam 200 IM
  • In the 50 Free, it was time for Jameson Hill to make his presence known for the first time in the meet.  As expected, he was simply awesome against everyone’s top sprinters, winning by over a body length – quite a feat in such a short race.
  • Patrick Kenna and John Ross got 3rd and 5th versus St. Christopher’s and 4th and 6th versus BI.
  • Even though we lost 100 Fly overall, I was as pleased with our performance in that event as any event that we had.  Catfish Dunn had a nice swim to take 2nd versus a past State finalist from BI.  Then Christian Vestermark, who was feeling very sick, gutted through the event to take 4th and score a very important 4 points.  And Brendan Koehr somehow cut 21.44 seconds from his 100 Fly PR to jump up to 5th and score a very important 3 points.  Those 7 points we could have easily not gotten!

It was at this point in the meet that I first started to really pay attention to the score.  To be honest, I didn’t think we be anywhere near St. Christopher’s, but I suddenly realized that we could win.  Our top two male swimmers, Jameson Hill and Connor Cook, still had three swims left!

  • Connor Cook just owned the 100 Free, taking first place overall.  He was behind the leaders at the 50, but took control going into the 3rd turn and walked away with it on the last length.  It was a very strong swim.  Unfortunately, BI got 2nd thru 5th and St. Christopher’s got 2nd thru 4th so we know found ourselves actually behind BI by 4 points (82-78) and 6 points behind St. Christopher’s (82-76).  Uh-oh.
  • Late rehearsal for the senior play hurt us badly in the 500 Free, but fortunately Matthew Verry was able to swim a 39 second PR (wow!) and Ivan Harangozo did a great job in his first ever 500 Free to keep it close for us. Matthew and Ivan’s good performances actually helped us close the gap with BI to only 1 point (95-94) and helped us maintain our 6 point deficit with St. Christopher’s (96-90).
  • The boys 200 Free Relay was very good to us.  I used our fastest possible line up of Daniel Koehr, David Basinger, Connor Cook and Jameson Hill who took care of business, crushing both St. Christopher’s and BI.  Our “B” relay of Ivan Harangozo, Kevin Bliss, Thomas Kosten and Steven Shaw took care of both the BI and St. Chris “B” relays to take 3rd in both meets.  We won the event 13-5 versus both teams.  Suddenly we were 9 points ahead of BI (108-99) and 2 points ahead of St. Christopher’s (103-101)!
  • The race of the day for the boys was 100 Backstroke where there were three swimmers capable of finishing in the top 5 at States this year.  Fortunately, one of those swimmers was Jameson Hill who, swimming in an off event, went an incredible PR of 52.79 to beat a BI swimmer, Angus McDonald, who I doubt has been beaten in Virginia HS swimming all year, and a great 6’4″ Woodberry Forest swimmer.  Jameson was actually 3rd at the 50, but you should have seen his 3rd wall.  When he surfaced for the last 25 yards, the race was over.
  • Steven Shaw also contributed mightily in 100 Back with his 2nd PR of the meet.  This time he cut 5.76 seconds to take 4th versus BI and 5th versus St. Christopher’s.  Unfortunately, neither of our last two scoring swimmers were able to swim (one sick and one missed the meet).  That resulted in our lead over BI shrinking to 7 (120-113) and our lead over St. Chris turning into a 2 point deficit (116-114).
  • Fortunately, we had Daniel Koehr lined up for 100 Breaststroke, and he got the job done, taking first place against both BI and St. Chris.  Jonathan Rosato pitched in with 5 points in both meets by taking 3rd.  Our scoring performance in Breaststroke was helped additionally by John Ross and Kevin Bliss, who both PR’d to take 4th and 5th against St. Christopher’s and 4th and 6th against BI.  John cut over 1 second from his previous best and Kevin cut .33 seconds.  They both picked a great time to swim well, because breaststroke pulled us ahead for good.
  • Now we were 15 points ahead of BI (138-123) and 8 points ahead of St. Christopher’s (133-125).  There was no way for BI to catch us unless both of our relays DQ’d.  St. Christopher’s could actually tie us if they could somehow take 1st and 3rd in the 400 Free relay, but as our relay approached the blocks, I knew that wasn’t going to happen.
  • Our best boys relay this year is our 400 Free relay of Jameson Hill, David Basinger, Catfish Dunn and Connor Cook.  This team record holding relay should be top 8 at States.  Their race yesterday didn’t turn out to be with St. Chris or BI, who they crushed to secure our team victory – their race was with the very strong Woodberry Forest.  Woodberry proved to be too strong for us, but with Catfish’s :52.52 split and Connor’s :51.31 split, I had plenty of reason to be excited.

Of course, we still had diving to go, and those scores count toward the meet.  Our boys diving team is pretty good, and I’m really hoping they can score some points at States.

  • Sophomore Joey Rubin took 1st over BI and 2nd over St. Christopher with a score of 146.30.
  • Swimmers David Basinger and Patrick Kenna took 2nd and 3rd over BI and 3rd and 4th over St. Chris with scores of 137.10 and 117.35 respectively.
  • 16th place at States last year (the lowest place that scores) was 156.90 points with 7 of the top 16 divers being seniors.  If Joey, David and Patrick continue to improve with Coach Duran, maybe one or more of them can score at States!

They Improve Every Time They Hit the Water

Believe it or not, we have a number of swimmers who have swum a PR every single time they have swum this season!  The following swimmers have managed to keep their streak alive through last Saturday:

  • Kevin Bliss continued his streak with a .35 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.  Kevin also swam 200 IM for the first time ever.
  • Rocky Kleb had two big PRs.  In 100 Breaststroke, he cut 7.32 seconds and in 100 Free he cut 3.38 seconds!
  • Joseph Kosten also had two big PRs.  He lowered his 100 Breaststroke time by 24.74 seconds and his 100 Free time by 12.67 seconds!  7th grader Joseph is part of those Fab-14s (class of 2014) that I’m getting so excited about.
  • 8th grader David Lambrecht cut another 1.10 seconds from his 100 Free.  He also gave the 200 Free a try for the first time and did a great job.
  • Emily Lowell cut another .16 seconds from her 100 Free to continue her perfect run of PRs every swim.
  • Timmy Murphy kept his streak alive, but did it without any PRs this week.  That’s because this member of the Fab-14s was trying out the 200 IM and the 500 Free for the first time.  Now that he knows he can do it, I look forward to putting him in those events again to see how fast he can really go!
  • Steven Shaw had two more PRs in 100 Free, by 1.41 seconds, and in 100 Back, by 5.76 seconds.  Steven now scores regularly in every meet.
  • Another swimmer that now scores regularly is Matthew Verry.  His streak of PRs continued last week with a 39.14 second PR in 500 Free.  He also swam the 200 IM for the first time.
  • Not to be outdone, sister Theresa Verry also has her streak alive.  She cut 3.82 seconds in 100 Breaststroke and another 1.03 seconds in 50 Free.  I really enjoyed how excited she was after her breaststroke swim.

I found three swimmers who have had PRs in every swim except one so far this season:

  • Brendan Koehr is one of our most improved swimmers this season.  Brendan had great swims last week in two difficult events.  In 100 Fly, he cut 21.44 seconds, and in 200 IM, he cut 5.43 seconds.
  • Lizzie Rogers cut another 1.94 seconds in 100 Free.  I really appreciate how focused Lizzie is at practice.  You watch her practice, and you can see why she keeps improving.
  • Bernadette Wunderly had a huge 11.94 second PR in 200 IM.  She also cut 2.08 seconds in 100 Back.  She’s only in 8th grade, so I’m looking forward to see her get faster and faster.

Even More Personal Records

I’ve already highlighted a number of the PR performances from Saturday, but here are others that I haven’t mentioned yet:

  • Judith Cummings took on the 100 Fly and won, cutting 4.13 seconds
  • Alex Doonis had her best ever lead-off split for the 200 Free relay when she cut her 50 Back PR by 1.14 seconds!  We’re going to need that lead-off to win the State title.  During her swim, I overheard Coach Lowell say that she was “as smooth as glass”.  I think Jeremy would tell the glass to roll her hips and shoulders a bit more if she wants to break :30 😉
  • Eileen Heim dropped another .37 seconds in 100 Free.  She has really improved so far this season
  • How about Jonathan Jacobeen’s 22.34 second PR in 200 Free?  Is that Eagle Scout done yet?  I think Jonathan is very close if he is not already there.  (Eagle Scout is a big deal to me – and a lot of people who admit kids to college or hire them after they graduate from college!  If anyone else on the team is an Eagle Scout, I’d love to know about it.)
  • Hannah Lowell has been working hard with her father, Coach Lowell, on Breaststroke, and it showed.  Not only did she do it legally, she cut 6.73 seconds from her previous PR.
  • I think freshman Sarah McGurk has the potential to be good at 100 Breaststroke.  She cut another 2.27 seconds from her PR in the event.
  • Nice work Emma Mooney with you 1.20 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.  Looking forward to seeing you at practice this coming week.
  • Abbie Purnell was just super in 100 Free.  She cut another 4.63 seconds in 100 Free!
  • Ali Salas lowered her 100 Free PR by 2.57 seconds.  Nice work Ali!
  • Joseph Scheetz is going to be confused with a swimmer if he keeps improving like this;-)  Basically a beginner at the start of the season, he now swims competitively in the freestyle events.  On Saturday, he cut another 1.91 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Jamie Smith’s 50 Free is getting very quick.  After cutting another .83 seconds, this member of the Fab-14s is now going :28.28, a very fast time for a 7th grader!

So Many Other Great Swims

With 260 separate swims, it’s pretty hard to pay attention to every one of them, but here are a few good ones that caught my eye:

  • Fab-14s member Joseph Kenna led off his 200 Medley Relay and crushed everyone in his heat.  In his first ever 200 Free, he went 2:25.07, very fast for a 7th grader.
  • Steven Shaw’s butterfly looked great in that same relay.
  • Abbie Purnell has a very nice backstroke start.
  • I could not believe what I saw when I watched Sarah Heim swim breaststroke.  She does it like an instructional video.  Coach Lowell turned to me when I pointed her out and said “she can swim!”.  It’s exciting to consider that Sarah is only in 7th grade.
  • Senior Captain David Harris doesn’t try to be flashy, but he quietly scores a lot of points for us.  You can always count on David to swim the difficult events like the 500 Free, 200 IM or 100 Fly – and he scores every time.  You gotta like it.
  • On Saturday, we had a lot of first-timers in the 200 IM including Timmy Murphy, Matthew Verry, Kevin Bliss, Thomas Kosten, Michael Collins, and Sarah Blanchard.  The 200 IM is the real measure of a swimmer because it is a significant distance using all four strokes.  The best swimmers are good at this event.  Nice work to all of you!
  • Connor Kleb’s freestyle is getting very long – that’s how it will get very fast.
  • Did you see James Mosimann in the 50 Free?  This 8th grader has some real potential for Seton Swimming.
  • Christian Vestermark was feeling sick, but gave a great effort in the relays and in 100 Fly anyway.  Thanks Christian – we needed the points.
  • Maggie Murphy and Judith Cummings did a great job in their first attempts at the 100 Fly.
  • We had an all-Fab-14s relay in the 200 Free Relay.  Joseph Kenna, Jamie Smith, Timmy Murphy and Connor Kleb’s time would have been 8th overall had their entry been official.  They actually beat BI’s “B” relay!

Final Thoughts on Parent Volunteers

I cannot tell you how many times I get complimented for the way we run a swim meet.  Of course, the reason why I can accept these compliments is because of the number of parents that choose to volunteer at nearly every event Seton Swimming has.  It also amazes some people that this entire program is run by volunteers – from the Team President (Mr. Cook) to all of the coaches, officials, timers, announcers and scorers, to the apparel coordinator and deck mom (Mrs. Zapiain), to the team treasurer (Mr. Corkery).  It is a truly wonderful thing about Seton. Once again, we will be hosting three big post season meets that will require lots of parents.  If you’ve paid attention to everything we do in Seton Swimming, then you’ve probably figured out that $125 per kid doesn’t nearly cover it.  These three meets are our major fundraisers for the year:

  • Saturday, January 24th – Junior Varsity Invitational at the WARF
  • Saturday, January 31st – Seton Swimming Invitational at Freedom
  • Friday and Saturday, February 13-14th – VSIS State Championship at Freedom

The January 31st meet will present some unique challenges because it coincides with the National Catholic High School Championships (they changed the meet date on me) and many of our normal volunteers will be up there.  Mr. Cook and I are staying down here for the meet and Saturday and then going up to Villanova that night.  We will need lots of help for that meet, so please step forward when you see the call for volunteers.

One key volunteer we will need for our January 31st invitational is a concessions coordinator.  Concessions can be a big money maker for us, but we need someone to take charge.

Once again we are hosting the Virginia State Championship Meet.  As my father used to say, this will be an “all-hands evolution”.  We have 50 families in Seton swimming and 42 of them have volunteered regularly this season – pretty good, but not good enough.  For the State Meet, I am looking forward to 100% participation.

States is a two day meet with preliminaries in the morning and finals in the evening.  Those four sessions have about 500 swimmers, many with parents and siblings, who are willing to pay for food and drinks.

Carol Doonis has graciously volunteered to take charge of the concession effort.  This is a big job, but it will be much easier if every family helps. I have given her a list with every family name and that family’s history of volunteerism for Seton Swimming.  I have asked her to make assignments to every family that is not otherwise involved in running the meet.  She’ll most likely be asking all of you for two things:

  1. Specific donations of food and/or drinks
  2. To work one or more time slots at the concession stand

I realize that everyone is busy – many of us have lots of kids, challenging jobs, other volunteer responsibilities at Seton, and the inevitable conflicts with other important things.  I hope I can count on all of you to respond enthusiastically to Carol Doonis’ upcoming request. We have quite a good thing going here with Seton Swimming.  It is up to all of us to help perpetuate it for today’s swimmers and tomorrow’s.

Coach Koehr

Seton Swimming’s G.E.M.S.

What makes Seton Swimming special?



“Who has it better than us? Nobody!”



We focus on better. Good takes care of itself.



We help our opponents over the bar that we raised by winning



We offer it up. We love all of our teammates.

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