February 18th and 19th, 2011 was a great weekend for Seton Swimming at the VSIS Virginia State Swimming and Diving Championship in Christiansburg, VA:
- Our girls won their 4th straight Division II State Championship and finished 5th overall
- Our boys won their 3rd straight (and 4th in the last six years) Division II State Championship and finished 6th overall
- We won 2 silver medal and 2 Bronze medals and had 16 Top 8 Finishes in the 24 total events
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay surpassed the State Record in a silver medal swim where the gold medalists surpassed the record by more
- We set 4 new team records
- We had 5 athletes recognized as All-State
- The other coaches recognized the Seton Girls for the Sportsmanship Award for the 3rd year in a row
- Led by Team President Mr. Chris Cook, our team once again hosted the championship meet for the 4th 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 358
- Collegiate School 212
- Norfolk Academy 192
- Madiera School 187
- Seton School 184 – Division II Champion
- Trinity Episcopal 164
- Bishop Ireton 157
7. Hampton Roads Academy 157– Division II Runner-up
9. Nansemond-Suffolk 116
10. Paul VI Catholic HS 75
- Fork Union Military 318
- Woodberry Forest 295
- Collegiate School 278
- Norfolk Academy 195
- Stephen’s/St. Agnes 159
- Christopher’s 151
- Seton School 124 – Division II Champion
- North Cross School 96 – Division II Runner-up
- Bishop Ireton 88
- Hampton Roads Academy 86
17. Nansemond-Suffolk 34
20. Paul VI Catholic HS 32
Our 5th place finish overall for the girls was the second highest ever behind last year’s 3rd place and it ties the previous year’s 5th place. Our 7th place finish for the boys is our second highest ever behind two 6th place finishes over the past two years. To put this in some perspective, imagine if a AA public school competed in the AAA meet and placed 5th overall – that’s what we just did!
And check out those scores versus Bishop Ireton and Paul VI? This is the 3rd year in a row that both our boys and girls have defeated our diocesan school rivals. Very cool!
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 may want to check out the interviews of Coach Koehr after this year’s meet and the interview of Coach Koehr after last year’s meet. They are as good a description as I have available of the philosophy we use running the Seton Swimming program.
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 nine years:
Manassas Journal Messenger – VSIS State Champs Coverage
Manassas Journal Messenger – Profile of Coach Jim Koehr
In the above profile, the editor references Coach Koehr’s 10 Rules for Success so I’ve included a link and posted them under Team Information.
Our Girls 200 Relays Rocked – Even Surpassing a State Record!
Going into the meet, I knew that we could score a lot of points with our relays. Relay events 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 was very excited about our relay prospects, and I wasn’t disappointed, particularly by our girls relays that earned a silver and a bronze medal:
- At the beginning of the season, I’m sure you heard me talk about the prospects for our girls relays. I knew that Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe were a special group, I felt from the beginning that they could win the gold or silver at States. But I never had any idea that they would ultimately surpass a State record. In fact, I didn’t even think that was possible as I was watching them do it!
- Girls 200 Medley Relay – The relay I anticipated most was the medley relay because we had four top girls who all swam different strokes, a rare combination for any team. They entered the meet seeded 1st with a 1:54.43, just a couple tenths of a second ahead of St. Catherine’s and Bishop Ireton.
- In Prelims everyone swam very fast. We cut 2.51 seconds from our PR to set a new team record at 1:51.92. But St. Catherine’s and Bishop Ireton also dropped an equally unbelievable amount of time so we entered finals seeded 2nd just .11 seconds behind St. Catherine’s 1:51.81 and well ahead of Ireton’s 1:53.95. Everyone involved knew that a 1:51 high was not going to win in the finals that night, but no one had any idea that the current State record of 1:50.34 was in jeopardy.
- At finals that night, our girls marched out of Mr. Cook’s ready room tunnel surrounded by fog, doused in laser lights, and deafened by the sounds of the pump-up music from the Aquatic Center’s $80K sound system. When they approached the blocks, I’m sure they all knew that they had to swim lifetime best splits to have a chance of winning, and that’s exactly what they did:
- Alex Doonis split a very fast 28.77 in the lead-off backstroke leg, faster than she’d ever gone before,
- Cat Rogers split an incredible 30.66 which was more that .84 seconds faster than her previous best 50 split. It was also the 2nd fastest breaststroke split swum in the medley relay event,
- Bridget Wunderly split 26.83 which was faster than her best 50 Freestyle relay split up to that point (yes, I said freestyle). It was also the 4th faster butterfly split swum in the entire meet, and
- Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe split an absolutely incredible 23.99, a split I’ve become accustomed to seeing from the boys. I think her turn was the fastest I’ve ever seen from her. And that split was easily the fastest split by any swimmer in the girl’s medley relay event.
- Our final time was 1:50.25 or .09 seconds ahead of the previous state record and 18 seconds ahead of the previous team record! Unfortunately, St. Catherine’s showed why they are the 5-time Division I State Champs with their 1:50.06 to beat us by only .19 seconds. Yes, we got the Silver Medal, but never have I been happier about getting 2nd than I was after I saw that swim. These girls will remember that swim for the rest of their lives.
- Click here for a video of the Girls 200 Medley Relay Final.
- Girls 200 Free Relay – These same four girls were also in the hunt for the Girls 200 Free Relay, an event that Seton won at last year’s State Championship. We entered the meet seeded 4th, but only .71 seconds behind the top seed St. Catherine’s. After prelims, we jumped up to 3rd, .33 seconds behind St. Catherine’s and .01 seconds behind Norfolk Academy with a season best time of 1:41.00.
- Everyone swam well, but the best swims came from Bridget Wunderly who split 26.64 or .38 seconds faster than ever before and Cat Rogers who split 24.49 or .01 seconds faster than she did in the final of last year’s 200 Free Relay.
- The stage was sent for the Finals on Saturday night. Once again, we knew that the finals would be fast, and we all knew that the winner would probably have to go under 1:40.
- And we were all right. Our girls swam very well, taking the bronze medal with a season best 1:40.83. Bridget Wunderly swam particularly well again, lowering her 50 split PR by another .14 seconds down to 26.50 – an absolutely amazing time given that her 50 Free PR is 27.73. Big swimmers come up big in big races.
- Click here for a video of the Girls 200 Free Relay Final.
- I don’t think I will soon forget this special combination of girls. As a group, their two relays accounted for a Silver medal and a Bronze Medal and scored a total of 66 points, more than a third of our total points. Last year, our girls won Gold, Bronze and 5th place in 3 relays. That’s a record of accomplishment that I hope our younger girls can look up to – and maybe even beat!
- And because the finished in the top 3 these four girls have all earned All-State recognition – twice!
All-State Swimmer Cat Rogers Had the Best Meet of Her Life
Junior Cat Rogers had quite a meet, leaving Christiansburg with:
- A bronze and silver in two relays, one of which surpassing the state record
- An individual bronze in 100 Breaststroke
- An individual 4th place in 50 Free
- Two (2) individual team records and one (1) relay team record
- New PRs in both of her individual events in both prelims and again in the finals
- All-State recognition for three (3) different events
Not a bad weekend’s work for sure.
Cat’s 100 Breaststroke was a phenomenon to behold, starting in prelims where she entered seeded 7th with a PR of 1:09.69 and exited seeded 1st for Finals with a new team record 1:08.31 and a new PR by an incredible 1.38 seconds. It is rare that swimmers at Cat’s level drop so much time in a single meet. Not only did that swim beat a record set by former State Champ Swimmer of the Meet, Katie Shipko way back in 1998, but it allowed her to pick the music that was played as the 8 championship finalist marched to the blocks that night. Click here to see Cat’s 100 Breaststroke preliminary heat.
Before finals, Cat told me that she was worried about those “1:07s”, the girls right behind her who she knew were capable of going 1:07 in 100 Breaststroke. We both knew that it would take 1:07 to win, but I also knew that Cat had it in her.
The final race was incredibly fast, with Cat actually taking the lead off the start with her incredible underwater pull-down. At the 50, there were 4 girls nearly even with Cat’s split of 31.64 getting her to the turn in 3rd place. Prior to this State meet, that 50 split would have been comparable to her best 50 breaststroke relay split (with a relay start!) so I knew she was headed for a very fast time. Cat brought the race home very strong, holding on for the bronze medal with an incredible 1:07.94 – another new PR, another new team record, and an All-State qualification. She had cut her PR by 1.75 seconds and broken 1:08 for the first time ever – truly amazing.
After the race, I reminded Cat how worried she was about those “1:07s”. Now Cat is one of those swimmers that she was so afraid of. Click here to see Cat’s 100 Breaststroke final.
Cat’s other individual event was the 50 Free, an event that wasn’t really a focus event for her prior to this season. Now, I think it may eventually prove to be her best event. In the prelims, Cat entered with a PR of 24.77. After swimming a new team record 24.56, a .21 second PR, Cat was headed to the Finals seeded 3rd.
Recall that last year, Lauren Donohoe won gold in the 50 Free at 24.84 so this event had really heated up – so much so that the top seed in the event had to break the state record in prelims to earn the number 1 seed for finals.
The finals was the fastest heat of girls 50 Free I have ever seen in person in my life. Cat dropped her PR and team record once more, down to 24.54, to take 4th place in a heat where it took another state record to win. Click here to see Cat’s 50 Free final. Lauren Donohoe was also in this heat.
I can hardly wait for next year’s State Championship final in the Girls 50 Free. The top finisher was a senior, but the next two were Juniors like Cat and they all finished within .15 seconds of each other. I’m betting on Cat.
Not to be outdone by the swimmers, our divers scored more points in an individual event than any of our swimmers! The biggest reason for that was Freshman Joe Duran’s Silver medal combined with senior Joey Rubin’s 8th place and Michael Manley’s 12th place for a total of 33 points in a single event, Boys 1 meter Diving. That 2nd place finish for Joe Duran also qualified him for All-State recognition!
If you look at the scores above, we defeated North Cross School for the State Championship by only 28 points – so it would be no exaggeration to say that our boys State Championship victory was won by Seton Swimming AND Diving. Congratulations divers – and thank you! I already asked Mr. Vander Woude to make sure that our championship banner this year says “Swim & Dive”.
Here are some notes on Diving from Coach Maureen Duran, including some highlights of the outstanding performance by the girl’s team also:
Seton’s Dazzling Divers Deceive the Spectators!
All you could possibly say about Seton’s Diving Team is that it just keeps getting stronger. Last year at 2010 States, we earned our swim team 5 points from Joseph Duran, placing 12th with a score of 207.5. Dive captain, Sarah Zapiain, last year placed 17th with a score of 131.65 and Mary Duran placed 19th with a score of 122.20. Keziah Higginbottom, placed 20th with a score of 99.80. This year it was a different story at States with additional individual Seton divers who fought the good fight.
The competition was as tough as ever. Please imagine Seton divers, most who have very little experience and who only dive during Seton’s dive season are competing against diving teams who have paid, and may add exceptional dive coaches, who have their own pool and who have morning and evening practices. Oh did I mention over half of the divers dive all year around. So check this out. Joseph Duran moves from 12th to 2nd place this year scoring a whopping total dive score of 321.30, compared to last year’s 207.50. Joseph was only 8 points from the first place winner. Joey Rubin, remember him, he left us for a year and we are so glad he came back to Seton to finish his senior year, gave Seton big points by winning 8th place and medal around his neck too. Joey had a good score of 221.70, only 6 points away from taking 7th place. Michael Manley came in strong with 12th place. Michael fought hard and was 17 points away from 11th place. That’s only one strong dive away from moving up, Michael. You provided Seton Swim with valuable points too.
The girls diving competition was a bitter sweet experience for me as a coach. They made cuts this year unlike previous years. If the squad is relatively small to begin with you hope that everyone would get a chance to perform their dives considering how hard they worked to get to States. I’ll stop complaining because we have so much to be thankful for. Remember last year, Sarah Zapiain 17th at States, well she worked hard against exceptional women divers to provide Seton with points at 9th place, with a whopping score of 206.20, last year’s score was 131.65. Sarah was ONLY 6 points away from the medal awarding score of 8th place. Mary Duran, went from 19th place last year to 14th place with a head turning score of 155.70. Mary was only 10 points away from 13th place. I think we’ll see Mary move up next year. Our very own Keziah Higginbottom, placed 20th with a score of 99.80, last year and had a score of 95.95 at states. Her score was still this high with one less dive factored in. Keziah is only a 10th grader so we have two more years to show the world what she’s made of. I know her potential I just want everyone else to see it too. My favorite and hear felt acknowledgment goes to Kristie Ostrich. Many of you don’t realize but this senior soccer superstar decided to put her big girl pants on and learn the eleven dives necessary to compete at States. With only one week before the event, Kristie learned the “scariest dives ever,” not my words, and was able to compete with the big dogs. Although she didn’t make State cuts, in my heart she made the cut of bravery, courage and tenacity. I am soooo proud of my divers, we had fun and I will miss Kristie and Joey’s face next year.
“Big girl pants” – you crack me up Coach Duran
State Championships are won with Top 8 Finishes
And we had plenty of other top 8 finishes, swims that accrue at minimum of 11 points toward our team totals. The names are the same names you’ve read about all year, but I don’t think you’ll believe how fast some of these times were:
- Senior Captain Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe wrapped up a swimming career at Seton that I’m sure I will be telling young swimmers about for years to come. In the last three State Championships, Lauren has earned two gold medals, two silver medals and three bronze medals – that makes her a seven-time All-State Only former Seton great Katie Shipko has a record of accomplishment on the State level that can match that.
- The key part of my story for kids in the future will be how her determination after a mid-season wrist injury in a car accident powered her through to great performances this year. I still can’t believe that she could swim through the pain on the end of that state record breaking medley relay to split 23.99! Yes, I know I’ve already mentioned it, but I’m still amazed how much more a person can do if they truly believe they can do it. Lauren is a model for all of us. A less courageous swimmer would have let an injury like that defeat them, but not Lauren. I guess that’s why we call her “The Machine”.
- Lauren, the defending state champion in the 50 Free, was part of that very fast event again this year. In fact, the event was so fast that, when she duplicated her winning time from last year (24.84, the same time to the 100th of a second) she qualified 5th for the finals. In the finals, Lauren went 24.89 to take 6th place – an amazing performance given that she was out of the water for 5 weeks in the middle of the season, and she was still experiencing pain in her wrist.
- Click here to see Lauren’s 50 Free final. Cat Rogers was also in this heat.
- Her swim in the 100 Free was even more surprising to me. I’d expect five (5) weeks out of the water to have a bigger impact on the 100 than the 50, but Lauren still went within .29 seconds of her 100 Free PR in prelims to qualify 4th at 54.37. In finals, she dropped to a 32 to take 6th overall.
- Click here to see The Machine’s 100 Free final.
- No female swimmer in history of Seton Swimming has swum 100 Free that fast, including Katie Shipko and Katie Planchak. Of the ten (10) fastest times ever swum in a Seton cap, Lauren has swum eight of them. (Alex Doonis has the other two). I don’t think it is hyperbole when I label Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe one of the all-time great Seton swimmers.
- David Basinger, a senior captain, solidified his place as one of the all-time greats of Seton Swimming with outstanding performances in the 200 IM and 100 Free, scoring 22 points individually.
- In the 200 IM, David improved his PR during prelims to 1:59.19, a time that would be a team record for nearly any team except ours. The only Seton Swimmers to ever swim faster than this were both All-Americans. He entered finals seeded 3rd and exited after a very fast heat with a 4th place finish at 2:00.73.
- In the prelims of 100 Free, David dropped his PR by .41 seconds and broke :50 for the first time ever when he swam 92 to qualify 9th for the consolation finals. This event was so fast and so tight, in the consolation finals when David dropped again to 49.05, he took 10th place in the meet even though his time was the 6th fastest time swum. By rule, once you qualify for the championship final (top 8), you can’t finish worse than 8th. Once again, David’s time put him in league with some of the greatest male swimmers in Seton history.
- It has been fun watching David grow from just a little boy to the great young man he’s become. David is not sure where he’s going to college yet, but I know his plans include college swimming so I hope to have plenty of future opportunities to watch him swim!
- Senior Captain Bridget Wunderly also had an incredible meet. I’ve already talked about her great PR swims in the two All-State Relays, but she also had some great swims in her two individual events:
- Bridget accomplished a goal that she’s been working toward to a couple year’s now – she broke 1:00 in 100 Fly! In the prelims, she went in seeded 9th at 1:01.33 and then swam an incredible 96 to jump up to the championship final and crush her own team record. It was a near perfect swim with splits of 28.37 and then 31.45. Click here to see what a 59.96 in the girls 100 Fly prelim looked like.
- In the championship final of 100 Fly, Bridget took 8th place with a 1:00.91. Click here to see Bridget’s 100 Fly final.
- While her fly was her best swim I thought, her highest place came in another great swim in the 500 Free where she was seeded 7th with a PR of 5:27.04. During prelims, I was up in the Watch & Go seating area making sure that Mr. Wunderly, Mr. Rosato and Mr. Shaw had things under control (they did). Together we all tracked her splits which normally settle in above 33.50 for each 50. Bridget took it out very fast with splits under 32 for the first 150 and then splits well under 33.50 for the next 150 – I knew it was going to be a great time, and I was right – she went 5:24.80, crushing her PR by 2.24 seconds! Click here to see Bridget’s PR swim in the prelims.
- That prelim swim was good enough to jump her up to the 5th seed for the finals that night, and during finals, she was able to hold 5th place with a 5:25.69. Click here to see Bridget’s 500 Freestyle final.
- I’ll always have a special place for Bridget in my heart for both the great memories that she’s given me and the model of perseverance she was for me and so many others. When Bridget got frustrated because her times didn’t seem to be getting better, she handled it like great athletes and people of strong character do – she worked harder. And she once again proved to all of us what is true in so many areas of life: effort = success.
- Junior Vincent “Catfish” Dunn had a breakout meet with seven (7) PR swims in 8 preliminary and final events.
- Catfish led off both the 200 Medley and the 400 Free Relays, but I’ll talk about those PR performances below.
- Individually, Vincent was stunning. In 100 Fly, he entered the meet seeded 9th with a PR of 55.02. I have no idea where this came from, but in prelims, he finally had the drop he’s been waiting for, cutting 1.17 seconds from his PR to go 53.85! That swim jumped him up into the championship final as the 7th seed! Click here to see Catfish’s 100 Fly prelim.
- Then in the final, Vincent held 7th place with a 54.02 to score 12 points. Click here to see Catfish’s 100 Fly final.
- The next day, Catfish was looking to duplicate his outstanding effort in 100 Fly while swimming in Saturday’s 100 Backstroke event – and he did – almost exactly. Once again, Catfish entered seeded 9th and was able to jump into the top 8 for the championship final. Seeded at a 55.78, he cut 1.19 seconds from his PR to go 54.59 to take the 7th seed for the championship final. Click here to see Catfish’s 100 Back prelim.
- Then in the final, Catfish broke :55 for the 2nd time in his life, taking 8th place with a 54.96. Click here to see Catfish’s 100 Back final.
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn is clearly poised to be a force at States next year for his senior year. He’s come a long way since Coach Mulhern saw this middle schooler swimming “as smooth as a catfish swimming downstream”. I’m looking forward to seeing just how big a catch he can become.
- Junior Alex Doonis will be joining Catfish next year as one of Seton’s standout swimmers, and she showed how much potential she has to be truly great with her swims this weekend:
- I’ve already written about Alex’s key roles in our two All-State relays, but she also scored big in her two individual events.
- In 100 Free, Alex just missed the championship final but was able win the consolation final with a near PR 54.77 to take 9th Click here to see Alex’s 100 Free final.
- Her 100 Backstroke became very exciting when a tie for 8th place in prelims led to a one-on-one swim-off immediately after Saturday’s prelims. With the whole Seton team at the end of one lane and the whole St. Catherine’s team behind the other, Alex won the first 50 and then pulled away to win the 100- yard swim-off and earn the final spot in the 8-swimmer championship final that night. Then she swam so well in the final, that she was able to jump up to 6th place with a fast 1:01.51. Click here to see Alex’s 100 Back final.
- Our Boys Relays are another place we can look if we want to see how we ultimately beat North Cross School for the Boys Division II State Championship. They greatly outperformed expectations, and thank God they did or we wouldn’t have taken home the championship trophy:
- The Boys 200 Medley Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Michael Hill, David Basinger and Joseph Kenna entered the meet seeded 13th with a 1:47.35. I was hoping for some points from these boys, but I was not expecting what we got.
- In prelims, they cut 2.35 seconds from there PR, swam 1:45.00 and jumped into the top 8 for the championship final!
- Much of the time improvement came from junior Michael Hill’s breaststroke split of 30.57, more than a second faster than his normal split.
- Then in finals, they dropped again to 1:44.66 to take 7th place and score 19 points. Their 13th place seed would have scored only 4 points!
- In the final, Michael Hill split another 30 point and was joined by a 69 backstroke split from Catfish Dunn, a 24.03 butterfly split from David Basinger (not a typo), and a 24.09 anchor split from Joseph Kenna.
- Click here to see the final of the Boys 200 Medley Relay.
- The Boys 400 Free Relay of Catfish Dunn, Brendan Koehr, Joseph Kenna and David Basinger also swam very well and scored big:
- In prelims, they earned the 8th seed in the championship final with a 1.12 second PR 3:28.55 that resulted from some excellent splits including Joe Kenna’s PR split of 49.
- Then in the finals, they dropped another 1.15 seconds (a total of 2.27 seconds for the meet!) to hold their 8th place A quick look at some of the tremendous splits shows why. Not only did Joe Kenna swim another :53, but Catfish Dunn led off with a 50.18, Brendan Koehr split a PR 53.85 and David Basinger anchored with a 49.42.
- I was standing next to lane 8 for that final heat of the final event of the State Championship meet. More importantly, I was standing next to the lane where senior Brendan Koehr was swimming the final race of his career. I can’t begin to describe how proud I have been of Brendan’s swimming, especially in the last 4 weeks when his hard work in practice finally lead to a breakthrough in his 100 Free. When you have older brothers like Kevin, Sean and Daniel, it could be easy to feel like you may never be as good as they were and just give up. But Brendan didn’t do that – and it paid off. Brendan ended his career with a 100 Free PR that is faster than both Sean and Daniel’s and a PR 100 Free relay split that is much faster. Brendan, there are very few high school-only swimmers doing the times that you have done. Very nicely done.
- Click here to see the final of the Boys 400 Free Relay
- The Boys 200 Medley Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Michael Hill, David Basinger and Joseph Kenna entered the meet seeded 13th with a 1:47.35. I was hoping for some points from these boys, but I was not expecting what we got.
Some Other Great Swims
I’m more than 5,000 words into this commentary which will require two separate entries into Coach Koehr’s Corner, but there are a still more swims that I simply muct mention:
- Senior Captain Rachel Lambrecht ended her career at Seton with some outstanding swimming over the course of the championship season, and she continued that fine swimming at States. This was particularly true with 100 Breaststroke where she cut .56 seconds from her PR and broke 1:14 for the first time when she swam 1:13.79. That PR swim was good enough for 15th place and scored for Seton. I have enjoyed watching Rachel grow, not just as a swimmer, but as a leader. I have great confidence that Rachel will shine as a confident and intelligent woman in the world of engineering – and I know her hard work during her years on with Seton Swimming has helped give her the tools she’ll need. Go do something great Rachel! Click here to see Rachel’s final race in 100 Breaststroke.
- We had a Boys 200 Medley “B” Relay entered with Patrick Kenna, Jonathan Rosato, Jamie Smith and Brendan Koehr, all seniors in their last meets except for Jamie. The way they swam, you would have never known that they were not eligible to score. The PR for this group was 1:58.97 before the meet, and then during prelims, they dropped an amazing 5.8 seconds! How did that happen? Well let’s look at some incredible splits:
- Patrick Kenna led off with a 29.63 second backstroke split, 1.33 seconds faster than his PR,
- Jonathan Rosato, fresh off his DAC victory, split 31.21 in breaststroke beating his PR split by 2.17 seconds (in a 50!),
- Jamie Smith, only a freshman, cut .98 seconds from his PR 50 Fly split and went 28.35, and
- Brendan Koehr finally reached the goal he’s been shooting for all season when he split 23.98 for the 50 Free leg to break :24 seconds for the first (and final) time of his life.
- Click here to see this great 200 Medley Relay.
- You have to be excited about freshman Jamie Smith’s future in Seton Swimming, especially after his great swimming at States. Not only did he swim well in the 200 Medley Relay, but:
- He lowered his 500 Free PR by 7.62 seconds (that’s 1:32 per 100) to go 5:26.36. Click here to see his heat.
- He also had a great swim in the 200 IM where he cut 2.43 seconds from his PR and went 2:16.05, a superior time for a freshman. Click here to see a future state finalist in the 200 IM.
- Junior Michael Hill gave me some real confidence that our boys breaststroke duties will be well handled next year when he popped in 100 Breaststroke. He cut 1.30 seconds from his PR to go 1:09.11, achieving a season-long goal he’s had to break 1:10. Click here to see Michael’s sub-1:10 100 Breaststroke in prelims.
- Jonathan Rosato proved that his exciting 100 Breaststroke victory at last week’s DAC Championship meet was no fluke after he nearly duplicated his PR time and went 1:11.22. Click here to see Jonathan’s 100 Breaststroke encore during the State Championship prelims.
- Not to be outdone by the “A” Relay, the Boys 400 Free “B” Relay also had an outstanding swim, swimming an incredible 8.84 seconds faster than the sum of their 100 Free PRs. Is that even possible? Well yes, if they split like this:
- Patrick Kenna went 56.87 in the lead-off leg, cutting .67 seconds from his PR (Pat also split 24.19 during the 200 Free Relay!)
- Steven Shaw, a big part of Seton Swimming’s future, split 59.06 or .29 seconds faster than his PR
- Jonathan Rosato split an incredible 4.31 seconds faster than his standing start PR – are you kidding?
- And Michael Hill was nearly as incredible when he split 3.47 seconds faster than his 100 Free PR
- Click here to see this relay in action
- Our Girls 400 Free Relay and 200 Medley “B” Relay of Sarah Zapiain, Lucy Bennett, Mikey Wittlinger and Rachel Lambrecht swam well in both races. In the 400, they just missed the finals with a 19th place It wasn’t for lack of effort though – they swam 5.86 seconds faster than the sum of the 100 Free PRs.
- Sarah Zapiain swam particularly well leading off the medley. She had a 3.52 second PR in 50 Back. (She also scored in diving)
- Lucy Bennett’s 100 Free split in the 400 Relay was 1.55 seconds faster than her standing start PR.
- Mikey Wittlinger was amazing in both relays splitting 2.08 seconds faster than her PR in the 400 relay and 1.37 seconds than her 50 Free PR anchoring the medley.
- And Rachel Lambrecht swam PR splits in both relays including a .61 second PR for her 100 Free split and a .26 second PR for her 50 Breast split.
- Click here to see their 400 Free Relay and here to see their 200 Medley Relay.
The Spirit of Seton Volunteerism Does it Again!
In my post meet interview with SwimmingWorld.TV, there was simply no way I was going to fail to mention that the entire meet was run by volunteers. At Seton, I think we take this for granted, but believe me when I tell you that most people outside of our community don’t. In fact, many of them can’t understand how it is possible – including the Eastern Officials Association, an official’s labor union that is currently trying to infiltrate VSIS Swimming.
This was our 4th year hosting the State Championship meet. 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. It was especially impressive considering that the meet was four hours from our school.
It would be impossible to mention all of the generous contributions of time and money that lead to the success of this meet, but some parents went 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 curtain for the countless meet details. His biggest claim to fame had to be that Fog and Laser Light Tunnel from the Ready Room for the finalists, which 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 can we ever again have a State Championship meet without the music that he orchestrated.
- I cannot even count the number of compliments I received about the Meet Announcer, Art Bennett! Because of the remote location of the meet, I was in a real jam coming up with an announcer for the Friday sessions. I am so grateful that Mr. Bennett, the new President & CEO of Catholic Charities, chose to carve out time from this demanding new position to come down to Christiansburg and help out.
- The last couple of years, we’ve had parents from the Madiera School handle the gate at the meet, and after each year, they would unfailingly tell me how difficult the job was. Well I’ve been watching senior captain Leslie Zapiain for a long time now, and I knew that if I put her in charge of it, not only would I not have to hear how hard the job was, I wouldn’t have to worry about the job being done poorly. And I was right. Thanks not only to Leslie, but to all of the parents, including Team Mom Connie Zapiain, and the other swimmers who stepped up to take a shift. With a smaller number of fans because the meet was so far away, we actually collected more money this year than last year. Nice work Leslie.
- Did you know that L. Higginbottom volunteered to be a stroke & turn judge at the meet even though his daughter was only diving? He worked all four sessions.
- Thanks to Rogers and Mrs. Kenna for organizing the team meals between and after each session. It sure was nice not having to worry about team logistics while I was trying to worry about meet logistics.
- And finally, thank you Rosato for putting together such a great post-meet victory party. The decorations, the food, the music, the lights and the beverages were wonderful.
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 9th year coaching the team, and with a 4-year old in the house, I think I’ll have at least another 14 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