Last Saturday, January 23rd, was a very big day for Seton Swimming:
Saturday began with our 3rd Annual Junior Varsity Invitational in Warrenton, and it was the biggest event yet. We had 267 swimmers from 15 schools from as far away at Chesapeake, VA. It was a very exciting event with lots of cheering swimmers, great music and a live-action color commentary about swimmers in the water. It was the last meet of the season for our Junior Varsity swimmers, and it was a great way to end it.
After the JV Invitational, the other coaches and I scampered down to Woodberry Forest for a very fast varsity meet against 3 Division I schools and big public school. Our main competition turned out to be Norfolk Academy, a team coached by the VSIS Swimming President. I’m the VSIS Secretary, so I had an interest in competing well against his team. He used to coach Woodberry Forest, and he’s been coach Norfolk Academy for 17 years – he is a truly excellent coach. It was a good test for Seton, and we passed with flying colors – both the boys and the girls beat them!
The final scores for the Varsity meet at Woodberry turned out like this:
Seton 110 Norfolk Academy 75
Seton 133 St. Gertrude’s 46
Seton 110 Fluvanna County HS 75
Woodberry 114 Seton 70
Seton 101 Norfolk Academy 79
Seton 131 Fluvanna County HS 50
Fun with Jameson Hill and “The Machine”
- There is a lot to be impressed with about the Woodberry Forest swimming team including their facility, their coaching staff, their 7 State Championship banners, and their 19 All-America plaques, but the most impressive thing to me is their pool record board. It displays times you would find on many college record boards. Seton had two records on that board previously (Kevin Koehr, 100 Back :51.48 and Nevin Cook, 200 IM, 1:56.28), and now Jameson Hill is up there – three times!
The record that was to be the most challenging was the 100 Free record which Jameson was going to have to beat leading off the 400 Free Relay at the very end of the meet. To do that, he was going to have to save some energy in the 200 and 500 – So none of us was surprised to see Jameson cruise to a 1:41.68 record in the 200 Free and a 4:35.58 record in the 500 Free. Both of these times would be very, very fast for nearly anyone else in the state, but they were relatively slow for Jamo.
In the 100 Free, Woodberry’s top senior sprinter lowered the pool record to 46.45 so the stage was set. When the Woodberry coach found out Jamo was swimming in the 400 Free relay, he asked me where in the line-up Jamo would be so he could match his guy up against him. When I told him that Jamo was leading off to try to break the pool record, his eyes got big and he quickly shuffled off to change his relay card.
The Woodberry sprinter took the lead off the start and Jamo just hung on his shoulder for the first 75. Coming off the 3rd wall, it got really interesting. After the breakout, it didn’t look like Jamo was going to catch him, but with 15 yards to go, Jamo made his move – and the Woodberry swimmer was helpless to stop it. When they touched, we all looked up and saw that the Woodberry sprinter touched in 45.99, almost a half second faster than his pool record. Unfortunately for him though, Jamo touched in 45.80 – the new 100 Free record had lasted less than 60 minutes.
Jameson also broke his own team record in the 50 Free, leading off the 200 Free relay with a 21.61.
- Norfolk Academy has a wonderful girl sprinter who ran up against Alex Doonis and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe four times last year at States: Alex beat her in the 50 by .01 seconds to take 3rd overall to her 4th. In the 100, Lauren beat her by .24 seconds to take 5th overall to her 6th. She anchored the 200 Free relay to a 6th place finish, but our relay, lead by Alex and Lauren took 3rd. In the 400 Free relay, we lost to the relay that she anchored by .03 seconds to take 4th to Norfolk Academy’s 3rd. Well this great NA sprinter had a really bad day on Saturday.
It started in the 50 Free when Alex beat her by .09 seconds to take first place. Then in the 100 Free, Lauren beat her by .24 seconds to take first again. Now, I’m sure that two 2nd place finishes for this girl is not the norm, but it was about to get worse in the 200 and 400 Free relays.
In the 200 Free relay, Lauren hit the anchor leg with a lead that she was able to keep, eventually winning by more than half a second. In the 400 Free relay however, the story was much different. When Alex Doonis hit the water for the 3rd leg, Seton was 3.15 seconds behind, and when Alex was through, we were only .55 seconds behind. The race was on – this time with the NA sprinter in the lead. I can tell you that, after the first 25, I had no doubt how it was going to end. Lauren Donohoe split an incredible 54.10 and walked her down to secure the Seton victory by .12 seconds!
The girls sprint freestyle events at States should be a lot of fun again this year!
- As great as the swims mentioned above were, I’d have to say that the swim of the day belonged to sophomore Vincent “Catfish” Dunn in 100 Fly. His seed time of 1:03.76 had him seeded 5th, but I guess this is why they swim the race. Catfish went 56.81, dropping almost 7 seconds from his PR to leap up to 2nd place, ahead of Norfolk Academy’s top butterflier. Catfish also swam the backstroke well. Leading off the medley relay, he dropped 1.06 seconds to go 27.57 and ensure that Connor Cook has a strong replacement in medley after he graduates this year. And in the 100 Back, he dropped another .78 seconds, went 57.25, and beat everyone in the field including the Woodberry guys.
- I have been watching the way senior Hannah Lowell has been working at practice, and I’ve been very impressed. Hannah usually swims the longer events, so I thought I’d give her one more shot at the 50 Free before she graduated, just to see what she could do. I suspected she had something great in her, and I was right. For the last 50 Free of her high school career, Hannah dropped 2.03 seconds and went out on top. She also did her best 100 Free relay split ever, cutting another 4 seconds. I was very proud of Hannah on Saturday.
- Freshman Steven Shaw was simply amazing in that 100 Backstroke when he cut 3.17 seconds to go 1:07.22. At the rate he is improving, I would expect Steven to join us at States next season! He also lowered his 100 Free PR by 2.41 seconds and his 50 Free PR by .02. Steven definitely has the potential to be a player for Seton in the future.
- 8th grader Jamie Smith continues to show that he is one of our most versatile swimmers. On Saturday, Jamie cut 11.63 seconds from his 200 IM PR to go 2:27.03, a very fast time for a middle schooler. His breaststroke was particularly impressive. Jamie’s already scores a lot of points for Seton, and I know he has the potential to be one of the great ones in the future.
- Captain and Assistant Coach Bridget Wunderly had a great day with 4 Personal Records and two first place finishes. She had a close race in the 200 IM, but her great work ethic in practice gave her the conditioning to beat St. Gertrude’s top female swimmer when the race was on the line. The story was repeated in 100 Back, but this time it took a 1.07 second PR for the victory. Bridget also had PRs in 50 Back leading off the medley relay and in 100 Free leading off the 400 Free relay.
- Daniel Koehr had a great relay split in the 200 Free relay, going 23.93. David Basinger’s65 was also a great split. Combining with Jameson Hill and Connor Cook, they came within .22 seconds of the team record held by Nevin and Connor Cook and Sean and Daniel Koehr. Maybe they can get the record at National Catholics?
The Varsity swimmers down at Woodberry managed to pull together 36 personal records on Saturday, including:
- David Basinger was a beast in the 200 IM, dropping 6.30 seconds to go 2:09.17
- Kevin Bliss cut .86 seconds in 100 Free by not pulling across his body and keeping his head more quiet. It works Kevin!
- Monica Byers lowered her 100 Back PR by .82 seconds to get more competitive for the post-season.
- Keeley Cook had extremely consistent 50 splits in her 500 Free and lowered her PR again.
- Lauren Donohoe not only swam well in the sprints, she cut .90 seconds from her 200 Free
- Julia Irving lowered her 50 Back time leading off the medley relay by .19 seconds.
- Jonathan Jacobeen has recovered from his finger injury and cut another .16 seconds from his 50 Free.
- Patrick Kenna had an outstanding swim in 100 Back, cutting .76 seconds from his PR.
- Brendan Koehr had a nice swim, holding the 100 splits that Coach Lowell prescribed to cut 15.65 seconds from his PR. Effort = Success in many things, including swimming.
- Patrick Koehr had a very old time in the 200 Free, and lowered it by more than 1.5 minutes! Only an 8th grader, we’ll be hearing a lot more about Patrick.
- It was great to see Rachel Lambrecht PR twice, in 100 Free by .36 seconds and in 50 Free leading off a relay by .07 seconds. A little more patience before pulling in breaststroke is going to get her a PR in breaststroke also.
- Luke Marrazzo repeated last week’s great performance in the 500 Free with another 11.33 second PR. His breathing looks better.
- Through tireless effort in practice, Andrew Minarik continues to improve. This time he cut .96 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke PR and .67 seconds in 50 Free to break :30 for the first time. Before the 50 Free, Andrew pointed to the fence and said he was going under :30 – then he hit it out of the park. (Baseball analogy included specifically for Mr. Minarik)
- Fab-14 member and 8th grader Timmy Murphy dropped his 100 Back time another 1.86 seconds.
- Cat Rogers is now one of the best swimmers on our team because of how rapidly she has improved. Two years ago, Cat was swimming the 200 Free 36 seconds slower than she did on Saturday! She also lowered her 100 Breaststroke PR by another .03 seconds with a start that gained her a half a body length on the field from the pull-down alone!
- Jonathan Rosato lowered cut .22 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
- Matthew Verry broke :30 in 50 Freestyle for the first time by cutting .70 seconds from his previous best time.
- I was so pleased to see Leslie Zapiain have two big PRs in 200 IM (by 2.39 seconds) and 500 Free (by 3.29 seconds). Few people work as hard as Leslie does leading her lane in practice, so she deserves the success.
Our divers had another good meet, scoring points that could have made the difference in the outcome of the meet:
- Ann Duran, Keziah Higginbottom, Sarah Zapiain and Mary Duran took 1st through 4th and scored 13 points against the competition
- Joe Duran and Michael Manley took 3rd and 5th overall and also gave us an important edge over Norfolk Academy.
Junior Varsity Invitational Results
JV Captain Christian “Rocky” Kleb did a great job leading our JV Team in Warrenton on Saturday. Many Seton swimmers had great performances in their final swims of the season at our Junior Varsity Invitational, including another 43 personal records – not a bad total considering that many of the events were swum for the first time:
- Michael Collins established a new PR in 100 Free, cutting 1.01 seconds from his previous best time. He also swam the 100 IM for the first time, and did it in competitive fashion
- Jack Corkery rocked leading off the 200 Medley relay, cutting his 50 Back PR by .69 seconds. He also cut his 50 Breast PR by 12.77 seconds over his time at the 2008 Invitational. Sometimes you don’t realize how much better you’ve gotten until you compare yourself to a couple years ago.
- Judith Cummings finished the season strong by competing in the 100 IM, 50 Fly and 100 Free and swimming well. I look forward to having Judith back next season.
- 8th grader Kenneth Cuomo, a first year swimmer, swam 50 Free in 36.86 at time trials. On Saturday, he cut another 1.67 seconds from his previous best time to go 30.41 – that is a huge improvement on the season! If he keeps improving like that, I’d expect Kenneth to score for us at some point in the future.
- Junior Claire Duda came out for swimming for the first time and also showed tremendous improvement. She cut more than 3 seconds from her 50 Free PR, but I was most impressed with her breaststroke. She was actually doing a body dolphin as she swam. We have experienced swimmers who aren’t doing that yet!
- Sophia Fusco, an 8th grader, showed me that she has a competitive streak in her. On Saturday, she cut 2.54 seconds from her 50 Back PR and another .59 seconds from her 100 Free PR. I think we may have a swimmer here.
- 7th grader Fiona Geiran swam very well in her championship format meet doing near PRs in 50 and 100 Free.
- It was also great to have her brother, Jack Geiran, on the team this year. Jack, a freshman, has really improved. His 50 Free time on Saturday was nearly 4 seconds faster than his time at the beginning of the season.
- I really enjoy it when upperclassmen like Junior Patrick Hall come out for the team late in their high school careers and improve their 50 Free times by 9 seconds over the course of the season!
- 8th grader Sarah Heim made a real statement on Saturday for 4 PRs including an 8.47 second drop in 100 IM, a 4.37 second drop in 50 Fly, a 2.75 second drop in 50 Back leading off a relay and a 2.83 seconds drop in her signature 50 Breaststroke. Sarah is going to score a lot of points for Seton, and I suspect that will start next season.
- Pat Hilleary, a sophomore who swam competitively this season for the first time, has shown dramatic improvement over that first day I watched him swim in Coach Smith’s lane at practice. I hope Patrick comes back next season.
- Joe Irving is going to be one of the good ones I suspect. He cut another .13 seconds from his 100 Free and swam very competitively for a 7th He also swam a competitive time in his first effort at 100 IM.
- Shannon Kerns was awesome in that 50 Fly, cutting 1.06 seconds from her PR. She looked very long. She also swam well in her first shot at the 100 IM.
- Connor Kleb, a member of the Fab -14s (8th grade boys class of 2014), had a breakout season. A measure of how much he improved this year came in his 100 IM time which was 7.85 seconds faster than last year. He also improved in 50 Fly.
- Older brother Rocky Kleb also showed a great deal of improvement in the 100 IM, cutting 5.47 seconds from last year’s invitational. Rocky also cut.59 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Another Fab 14, Joseph Kosten, leveraged his hard work in practice into a pair of amazing swims in the 100 Free (6.33 second PR) and 50 Breast (5.60 second PR). Joe’s 100 Free time of 1:07.90 shows me that he’s going to score a lot of points for us in the future.
- Freshman David Lambrecht is starting to become an all-around swimmer. He swam very well in his first attempt at 100 IM and dropped 3.64 seconds in 50 Back, a stroke he doesn’t often swim.
- Emily Lowell had 4 PRs, which did not surprise me. In the 100 IM, she dropped 5.92 seconds. She also dropped 1.61 seconds in 50 Back leading off the backstroke relay. Emily is very coachable and the results show.
- Sally Marrazzo, only a 7th grader looks like she has the potential to score a lot of points for us in the future. She improved her 50 Free time once again, and her backstroke is very competitive for a girl her age.
- Did you see James Mosimann’s 50 Fly? He cut 1.42 seconds and it showed.
- 7th grader Paul Mosimann also swam very well lowering his 100 Free PR by 6.49 seconds and his 50 Free PR by an amazing 2.06 seconds!
- I love 7th grader Paul Pechie’s heart. When he’s in the water, I can always see that he is giving his max effort. That’s probably why he was able to drop another 4.07 seconds in 100 Free.
- When I watch Ann Pennefather swim, it is obvious that she’s an athlete. She cut another 1.20 seconds from her 50 Free which means she’s cut nearly 4 seconds this season alone. She also had a PR in 50 Back where she always looks very strong in the water.
- Peter Quinan wrapped up his season with a 1.36 second PR in 100 Free and an 8.98 second PR in 50 Breast. I’d say he’s improved!
- Lizzie Rogers had a .56 second PR in 50 Fly and swam very well in the 100 IM.
- At time trials at the beginning of this season, Peter Rohan swam 100 Free in 1:53.18. On Saturday, he swam 100 Free in 1:15.31, an improvement of almost 38 seconds! He also cut 3.77 seconds from his 50 Fly PR. Not bad for a first season of swimming.
- Ali Salas looked good on Saturday, swimming competitively in 50 and 100 Free and 50 Back. I’m looking forward to having Ali back next season.
- When I was watching Fiona Seoh swim the backstroke, it reminded me of a synchronized swimmer – it was so graceful. Her freestyle looked the same way, which might explain why she was able to cut 1.59 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
- 7th grader Tommy Shaw is going to be a swimmer to watch in the future. He lowered his 50 Back PR by .33 seconds and swam very strong in his first attempt at 100 IM.
- Jude Vander Voorde, another 7th grader swimming for the first time at Seton, has really come a long way in the beginner lane with Coach Smith. His 50 Free time was more than 3 seconds faster than it was at time trials.
- Theresa Verry always seems to have a big smile on her face, which was easy to understand on Saturday when she cut 4.18 seconds in 50 Fly, 2.67 seconds in 100 Free, and .17 seconds in 50 Free.
- Freshman Mikey Wittlinger always looks strong in practice, and on Saturday, she brought that to the WARF. She lowered her 50 Fly PR by 3.68 seconds and was very impressive in her first attempt at 100 IM.
Notes on our Volunteers
It was great to see so many volunteers at the JV Invitational, including many parents whose kids were not swimming. The best example of that was Mr. Chris Cook, our Team President, who not only handled all of the entries and took charge of the scoring, but he stayed back to clean-up and missed his kids at Woodberry completely.
It was important that we all stepped up to volunteer though because these post-season meets that we host are our main way to raise money for the team. As you may or may not know, we don’t take a dime from the Seton athletic department – not because they wouldn’t give us any money, but because we are self-reliant enough not to need it.
In the business sense, our product is a great swimming program and great events. Fortunately, other schools are willing to pay for our product, but we can only sell it if every parent volunteers to help in some way. So when you get a call or e-mail from Mrs. Doonis to help with concessions at States, or Mrs. Mosimann and Mrs. Heim to help with concessions at the Invitational, please do your part. All of the kids benefit, even if your kid is not in the meet.
We’re now officially in the championship season with a group of swimmers heading up to Villanova this weekend for Catholic Nationals. I can hardly wait to report the results!