Here’s an article from the Manassas Journal Messenger on Seton’s victory.
February 19th and 20th, 2010 was a great weekend for Seton Swimming:
- Our girls won their 3rd straight Division II State Championship and finished 3rd overall
- Our boys won their 2nd straight (and 3rd in the last four years) Division II State Championship and finished 6th overall
- We won 4 Gold medals, 1 silver medal and 2 Bronze medals in the 24 total events
- Jameson Hill broke his own State Record in the 500 Free and was recognized as the Swimmer of the Meet
- We set 9 new team records, including new records in 5 of the 6 relay events
- The other coaches recognized the Seton Girls for the Sportsmanship Award
- Our team, with every family involved in some way, hosted the championship meet for the 3rd straight year to much acclaim from the participants, coaches, spectators and Swimming World Magazine
In VSIS Swimming, Division I and Division II compete in a single State Championship Meet and score against each other all together. Then, VSIS Swimming awards the Overall State Championship to the top scoring team overall and the Division II State Championship to the highest scoring Division II team. Here’s how the overall scoring ended up and how we won the two D-II State titles:
- Catherines 381
- Collegiate School 262
- Seton School 221 – Division II Champion
- Bishop Ireton 219
- Norfolk Academy 168
- Madiera 161
- Trinity Episcopal 118.5
- Nansemond-Suffolk 116 – Division II Runner-up
8. Hampton Roads Academy 116 – Division II Runner-up
- Fork Union Military 423
- Collegiate School 312
- Woodberry Forest 253
- Norfolk Academy 187
- Cape Henry Collegiate 173
- Seton School 140 – Division II Champion
9. Bishop Ireton 104
10. Paul VI 86
14. Roanoke Catholic 41 – Division II Runner-up (Seton LAX fans, enjoy!)
Our 3rd place finish overall for the girls was the highest ever and our 6th place finish for the boys tied our highest ever. To put this in some perspective, imagine if a AA public school competed in the AAA meet and placed 3rd overall – that’s what we just did!
Check out that girls score with Bishop Ireton? We won by only two points! Coach Maureen Duran, our 2nd year diving coach, will be pleased to know that, because we had diving and Ann Duran scored 2 points for 15th place, we beat BI rather than merely tying them. So diving was one of the differences!
And Seton Lacrosse Fans would enjoy how the Roanoke Catholic Coach, a genuinely good guy, was already doing some friendly trash talking about taking Seton in swimming next season – I told him to make room on his shelf for two new runner-up trophies – in both Swimming AND Lacrosse! 😉
Media Coverage Was Great for Seton Swimming
Seton Swimming has received a great deal of media coverage for our State Championships, including live coverage by Swimming World Magazine who streamed the meet live on SwimmingWorld.tv. The coverage included live color commentary, daily meet recaps, and interviews with many of the top swimmers.
You can see the complete archives of the coverage, including video on every heat of both prelims and finals, by clicking on:
SwimmingWorld.tv – Full Video Coverage with Color Commentary and Interviews
Besides the races that I will describe below, you are certainly going to want to check out the interviews of Jameson Hill, Lauren Donohoe, our Girls 200 Free relay, and Coach Koehr. I was very proud of our swimmer interviews, particularly the Girls 200 Free relay. All of our swimmers represented Seton in a way in which all Seton families can be very proud.
And here are some links to coverage in our local papers. All of the coverage has been very positive about Seton School, our team, and the progress our team has made over the last eight years:
Manassas Journal Messenger – VSIS State Champs Coverage
Seton Swimmers were Golden!
Of the 24 total events, we won four of them outright:
- The most exciting event of the day for Seton was our Gold Medal Girls 200 Free Relay of Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Laura Talbott and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe. Our girls entered the meet seeded first, just ahead of Division I power Collegiate School. In prelims, we finished 2nd by on .03 seconds. Cat Rogers had the best split of the 4 relay team members with a 24.77 off a great relay start. They entered finals with a 1:41.62, but everyone who was paying attention knew that it would take a 1:40 low to win that night. In the finals, Alex Doonis, the bronze medalist in the 50 Free (more later), gave us a body length lead over Collegiate with an excellent split of 98. Then Cat Rogers swam the best split of her life by far with a 24.50 followed by Laura Talbott who also swam a lifetime best split of 25.98! Now it was time for The Machine, the Gold Medalist in the 50 Free, to hold off the eventual swimmer of the meet, Rachel Naurath. Rachel gave chase, but there’s a reason why we call Lauren “The Machine”. Even a 22.85 split for Collegiate was not enough to catch Lauren whose 24.79 got her to the wall .03 seconds ahead of Collegiate to secure the gold medal! Seton’s final time was a new team record 1:40.05, a time that was within .5 seconds of an All-America Consideration time. You know you have a strong 200 relay team when the fastest split is not swum by the Gold or Bronze medalist in the 50! And with only Senior Captain Laura Talbott graduating, this relay should be very fast next year also! See the Girls 200 Free Relay Final by clicking here.
- Jameson Hill, not surprisingly, won two Gold Medals in the 200 and 500 Free and graduates with the State Records for both events:
- In the 200 Free, Jamo cruised in the prelims to a 1:42.68 which was still about the same than the 2nd place swimmer’s lifetime best. For the finals, we all knew that Jamo would not be cruising – and we were right! In the finals, Jamo split 22.32 for the first 50 and 46.88 for the first 100 – that gave him at least a 2 body length lead. The rest of the race was all Jamo who finished in 1:38.81, just a few tenths off of his own State record. He ultimately won by nearly 4 seconds and finished 2.5 seconds under the Automatic All-America time. See Jamo’s 200 Free Final by clicking here.
- In the 500 Free, Jamo was determined to break his own State Record from last year. After once again cruising to the top seed for the finals, everyone knew that he was the heavy favorite to win. As he likes to do, Jamo took it out fast in the finals. His first 50 split was 23.51, his first 100 split was 49.83 and his first 200 split was 1:44.20. For the middle of the race, he was able to hold 27 low 50 splits and ultimately finished in a new State Record time of 4:28.82! To put that in some perspective, he won the race by nearly 8 seconds and finished 7 seconds faster than the Automatic All-America time! See Jamo’s 500 Free Final by clicking here.
- We’ve had some great athletes come through Seton over the years, including names that newer families have probably never heard of like Matt Hilleary who helped his Catholic U. team with the Division III National Championship and now plays professional basketball in Europe or our Athletic Director, Dan Vander Woude, who I believe still holds the all-time Virginia State scoring record for high school basketball, or Seton’s only two other All-Americas, Nevin Cook and Kevin Koehr, but I doubt many would argue that Jameson Hill is the greatest athlete to ever come out of Seton. Congratulations on a great career at Seton Jamo, and good luck swimming against those SEC opponents while at the University of Georgia! All of us at Seton will forever be cheering for you.
- Here’s a 2-page spread on Jamo that was published on Feburary 19th in the Manassas Journal Messenger. Make sure you click on the slide show, “A Life Aquatic” to see the photos that ran with the story”
Manassas Journal Messenger – Profile of Jameson Hill
- Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe may be only 5’ 4” (if that Lauren?), but she was the fastest sprinter in the fastest girls event of the State Championship and won the Gold Medal in the Girls 50 Free. Lauren entered the meet as the top seed with a PR of 24.93 from last year’s State champs. In the prelims, she swam her best time of this season, a 25.03, which was good enough to keep Lauren in the top seed for the finals. I didn’t have to tell Lauren that the winner that night was definitely going under :25 because I could see in her face that she was focused and knew what she had to do. In the final, she had her usual quick start and short breakout – The Machine likes to get on top of the water and start racing as soon as possible. 4 or 5 girls, including eventual bronze medalist Alex Doonis (more later), hit the bulkhead for the turn at the same time, but by the 2nd stroke out of the turn, it was clear that Lauren was making a break. Midway down the 2nd length, the only question left in my mind was how fast would her gold medal time be – the answer? A new Personal Record 24.84! It was only the first night, and Lauren and Alex were yet to swim in the relay, but the Girls State Championship already seemed in hand with the 38 points Seton scored in this event alone! See Lauren Donohoe and Alex Doonis in the 50 Free Final by clicking here.
We Also Won Some Silver and Bronze!
- Lauren Donohoe wasn’t done with collecting individual medals with that 50 Free gold on Friday night, because Saturday night brought the 100 Free. After prelims, where she swam a very fast 54.78, she entered finals seeded 2nd. The Championship final was very fast, and once again demonstrated that The Machine has the heart of a champion. The leader went 52.01, so the race for Lauren was for 2nd place against Alina Hall of Bishop Ireton and Kimberly Rich of Norfolk Academy, the silver medalist in the 50 Free. Lauren went out in 26.28 and was 4th at the 50. In fact, she was in 4th all the way up to the last 10 yards of the race when she found a burst of speed to take 2nd over two very strong girls by .14 seconds. Her final time of 08 not only won the silver medal it was both a new personal record and new team record! See Lauren in the 100 Free final by clicking here.
- Sophomore Alex Doonis also had a great meet, taking the bronze medal in the 50 Free. Alex entered the finals in 2nd after swimming 25.10 during prelims. In the finals, Alex used her strong underwaters to great effect off of the start surfacing after 8 yards right with the leaders. The race was even into the turn, and for the entire last length, Alex and Norfolk Academy’s Kimberly Rich were neck and neck with St. Catherine’s Jane Nester. When they all touched and looked up, Alex had won the bronze medal in 25.17, just .03 seconds behind Rich and .09 seconds ahead of Nester. For the first time in Seton history, we had two top three finishes at States in the same event. See Alex Doonis in the 50 Free Final by clicking here
- Our final Bronze Medal came in the last girls event, the 400 Free Relay where Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Carolyn Claybrooks and Lauren Donohoe smashed their old team record and went an incredibly fast 3:40.51! Alex took it out very fast leading off with a personal record 60 and Cat followed with an incredible split of 55.90 (her PR is 56.54!). Cat’s split was made more incredible by the fact that she had just swum the 100 Breaststroke 15 minutes before. Carolyn Claybrooks hit the teeth of the St. Catherine’s and Collegiate relay, swam her best ever 100 relay split of 56.06 (her PR is 58.25!) and handed the baton to Lauren who held on for the bronze after splitting 53.95 for the another strong anchor leg. To put their finish time in some perspective, the sum of their 100 Free PRs is 3:43.47! This swim was an amazing performance. See the Girls 400 Free Relay final by clicking here.
Our Relays Rocked!
Going into the meet, I knew that we could score a lot of points with our relays. Relays score double the points of an individual event. A gold medal individual scores 20 and a gold medal relay scores 40. With that in mind, I loaded up our relays, swimming Connor Cook, David Basinger and Cat Rogers in 3 relays and only one individual event. My goal was to get all 6 relays in the top 8, and had I not made one tactical mistake, I’m sure we would have done it. I already talked about our two Girls Freestyle relays, but the other 4 were also stellar:
- At the end of last season, I remember Connor Cook and I talking about our how our Boys 400 Free Relay of Jameson Hill, Connor Cook, Catfish Dunn and David Basinger could go 3:17 – no kidding, that was the time we discussed. They had just swum out of their minds at States and went 3:20.62, so I really figured we were just dreaming. Well I just woke up and dream has come true. Jamo led off with a new team record for 100 Free with a 67, which we all knew he would do because he’s Jamo, but it was the next three who really made the dream come true. How about a 50.20 split for Connor, a 50.34 split for Catfish and a 50.82 split for David! The final time was a dream come true: 3:17.05, a second team record in this one event. That stellar performance was good enough for 4th place overall and 30 points for the team. Here’s the boys 400 Free Relay Final.
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Bridget Wunderly, Cat Rogers, Carolyn Claybrooks and Laura Talbott overachieved so much that they took 5th place overall and set a new team record – without Alex and Lauren! Heck, I was just hoping they could slip into the top 8! Bridget split 30.07 in back (a .86 second PR), Cat split 32.23, Carolyn rocked with a 27.62 fly leg and Laura brought it home in 18 for a new record time of 1:56.10. Click here for Girls 200 Medley Final.
- That means that our 3 Girls relays got 1st, 3rd and 5th and scored a total of 100 points, nearly enough to beat the 2nd place Division II team who had 116 points. Now those are some Girls with “Attitude”!
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Jameson Hill, Daniel Koehr, Connor Cook and David Basinger also set a two new team records while taking 6th place overall. Jamo set his 4th team record of the weekend with a 22 lead-off. That was followed by Dan at 23.00, Connor at 22.72 and David at 22.99 for a final time of 1:30.07. As with all of the relays above, every split was a lifetime best relay split. Click here for the Boys 200 Free Relay Final.
- And here’s where I messed up. Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Connor Cook, Daniel Koehr, Catfish Dunn and David Basinger walked away with 9th place overall after swimming the 7th fastest time in the meet. In the finals, Connor swam a PR 50 Back of 25, Dan rocked a 28.26, Catfish swam an amazing fly leg of 24.57 and David anchored with a 22.79 for a final time of 1:41.87 – our fastest time of the season – and it happened without Jameson. Where did I mess up? In prelims, I swam David in Fly and Catfish in Free with both splits being slower than the reverse order. The result was that they missed finals by .47 seconds and once you miss the top-8, you can score higher than 9th. I hope they know that they did their part on this one! Click here for our Boys 200 Medley in the Consols.
Loads of Other Top-16 Individual Finishes Score Big Points
At States, the top 16 finishers in an event score points, and we scored with much more than just Jamo, Lauren, Alex and our relays:
- Coming off the bronze medal in the 50 Free, Alex Doonis was not done scoring individual points. In 100 Back, she qualified in 4th. In the finals, Alex was in 4th by more than half a second going out in 29.52, but on the 2nd 50, she started to make her move. She came back in 31.26, much faster than the 2nd and 3rd place girls, but the deficit from the first 50 was just too much. Alex swam her best time of the season by a substantial margin when she went 1:00.78, only .13 seconds behind the bronze medalist to take 4th place and score 15 points for the team. See Alex Doonis in the 100 Back final by clicking here.
- Sophomore Cat Rogers has had an amazing season replacing Mary Kate Kenna as Seton’s top breaststroker, and her 5th place finish in 100 Breast at States was just the final data point. Cat entered the meet seeded 5th in 100 Breaststroke with a 1:12.77 and came out of the meet in 5th place overall with a new PR of 1:10.16. That time is just .16 seconds behind her brother Will and just .59 seconds behind the team record held by former Seton great Katie Shipko. And to think this sophomore was primarily a basketball player just a couple short years ago! See Cat’s Swim in the Finals of 100 Breaststroke by clicking here – and make sure you pay attention to those awesome pull-downs!
- Junior Captain Bridget Wunderly has had a good couple weeks of swimming. She entered States as the DAC Swimmer of the Meet and came out of States with two top-8 finishes:
- Her best swim of the day had to be her 500 Free during the Preliminaries where she cut 10.55 seconds from her Personal Record to go 5:27.06 and qualify 4th overall for the finals. I was watching her splits, which are normally 34 low to 35 low, but when she was consistently splitting 32 high to 33 mid, I knew we were in for a great time. In the finals that night, she went 5:31.58 and took 7th place overall, scoring 12 points for Seton. See Bridget’s great swim in the 500 Free during prelims (lane 7) by clicking here and you can see her final swim by clicking here.
- On the day before the 500, Bridget got a crack at her favorite event, 100 Fly. She not only took 8th place overall with a 1:02.03, she set a new Personal Record and broke the team record formerly held by Seton great Jessica Dunn. See Bridget’s 100 Fly final by clicking here.
- Individually, Bridget scored 23 points for Seton!
- I could not have been more excited for anyone in the meet than I was for our Senior Boys Captain, Connor Cook, who had his breakout performance of this season in 100 Back. Connor swam a lifetime best of 55.49 in prelims and came back in the consolation finals to swim another PR of 02, good enough for 10th place overall and 7 points. Connor also scored in 3 relays. Click here to see Connor’s lifetime best 100 Back swim during the consolation finals.
- Senior Captain Carolyn Claybrooks went out in style with two 11th place finishes overall:
- Carolyn had a tremendous swim in the consolation final of the girls 200 Free, cutting 3.31 seconds from her personal record to go 2:03.31 and take 11th Click here to see Carolyn’s 200 Free.
- She also had a 70 second PR during the consolation finals of the 500 Free, going 5:34.13 to get her second 11th place finish of the meet. This was the race that showed me I had our boys medley lined up wrong – and knowing how fast David anchors those free relays, I should have known better. Click here to see her 500 Free.
- Sophomore Vincent “Catfish” Dunn (Hey Lynn, I remembered his real name was Vincent ;-)) has truly had a breakout season this year, and he showed in at States:
- In 100 Back, Catfish had PRs in both prelims and finals, ultimately cutting 1.04 seconds from his lifetime best to go 78 and finish 12th overall. Click here to see Catfish’s 100 Back consolation final.
- Last year, I didn’t even realize that Catfish could swim 100 Fly, but this year, he made sure I knew. At States, he cut 1.08 seconds from his PR, went a very fast 73 and took 13th place overall. Click here to see Catfish in the Consols of 100 Fly.
- Senior Captain Daniel Koehr was a beast in 100 Breaststroke. Dan the Man (DTM) swam lifetime bests in both prelims and finals, ultimately lowering his PR by .37 seconds to go 1:03.28 and take 12th place DTM, who has never been a USA swimmer, now solidly holds the family breaststroke record over brother Sean 😉 See the Koehr Family Breaststroke record being set by clicking here.
- Rachel Lambrecht broke through the wall she’s been hitting all season with a great .61 second PR swim in the 100 Breaststroke Prelims to jump up to 16th place and earn a spot in the consolation finals with a 1:14.97. Click here to see Rachel’s great swim in the Preliminaries.
- Congratulations are also due to Michael Hill for finishing 32nd in 100 Breaststroke with a PR time of 1:10.41 in his first appearance at States. At the end of last season, I never would have guessed that he’d be going 1:10 a year later – truly remarkable.
Divers Make A Difference
Coach Maureen Duran was able to get 2 divers into the scoring ranks for Seton, even if she had to birth them herself:
- Joe Duran scored 207.15 points with 11 dives, took 12th overall and scored 5 points for Seton
- Ann Duran also scored for Seton. Her 193.00 points in 11 dives was good enough for 15th place overall and two points. While there were many places we earned two extra points, it is impossible for me not to mention that we beat Bishop Ireton for 4th place – by 2 points! Way to go Ann Duran!
- It is challenging to get 11 Dives to the point where you can compete with them, but three other divers, Sarah Zapiain, Mary Duran and Keziah Higginbottom accomplished the feat and finished 17th, 19th and 20th
The Spirit of Seton Volunteerism Does it Again!
You may also want to check out the final meet recap where the Commentator, Swimming World’s Darren Gross, said, “Without a doubt, this was one of the best, if not the best, meet I’ve been too….If you are running a championship meet, it doesn’t matter the level, take a page out of the Seton book…..And hey, this was all done by volunteers!….. Seton School knows how to run a meet!” The only way I could have been more excited about the coverage was for Darren to pronounce my name right 😉 I was particularly pleased with how he highlighted that this was a volunteer effort.
Only at Seton, would it be possible for a school our size to host a meet like this, and we should be justifiably proud of the example we set for other schools, some of whom could not even muster three timers for finals. I know every family pitched in for the running of the meet, and it would be impossible to mention all of the generous contributions of time, money and food that were made, but some parents went far above and beyond in the execution of this meet:
- Of course, the spirit of generosity and volunteerism starts with our Team President, Chris Cook, who was the man behind the execution of the countless meet details. But his biggest claim to fame was that the Fog and Laser Light Tunnel from the Ready Room for the finalists was his brain child. Almost everyone who saw it was blown away when they saw the first finalist march out of the Ready Room through a dark tunnel filled with theatrical fog with laser lights timed to the music slicing through. It was an amazing effect that really pumped up the kids – and the parents!
- And how about the effort that Carol Doonis put into organizing all of us for that massive concessions effort? Because of her leadership, we made over $2,000 for the team! I’m pleased to say that she did not have much trouble getting people to help, but if you’ve ever been in charge of a large group of volunteers, even willing volunteers, you have a real appreciation for what it takes to be “in charge”. And Mrs. Doonis has what it takes!
- I cannot even count the number of compliments about the Meet Announcer, our beloved former Head Timer Recruiter, the “Heater”, Tom Minarik. Minarik does not have an extensive background in swimming, but this was absolutely no hindrance to him. He picked up the mike like an old pro, and, to kick off the Friday night finals, when I heard him say “Are you ready to rummm-bbbllllle?!?”, I just had to start laughing. I’ve been to a lot of meets, and they don’t generally start that way – everyone absolutely loved it! Mark your calendar Mr. Minarik for February 18-19, 2011. The VSIS Board has already instructed me to make sure you are back!
- And how could we possibly run a program like Seton Swimming without our great volunteer assistant coaches? We are so lucky to have Coach Richard Lowell, Coach Barbara Claybrooks, Coach Tom Kosten, Coach Jamie Smith and Coach Shannon McGurk on deck each morning at 6:04 a.m. If you get the chance, please make sure you let them know how grateful we are for the time and talent that they give.
Seton Swimming has become something truly special, a community of swimmers, parents and families that is so much more than just a championship swimming team. This was my 8th year coaching the team, and with a 3-year old in the house, I think I’ll have at least another 15 years of doing this. Because of the great support that I receive from all of the families of Seton, I’m really looking forward to it!
Coach Jim Koehr