On Saturday, both the boys and girls of Seton Swimming faced off against Highland, Wakefield and Notre Dame Academy. The boys also faced The Heights, an Opus Dei school in Potomac, MD. Seventy-three (73) Personal Records helped lead to lopsided victories against the three common opponents, but it was not enough for the boys to overcome a strong team for The Heights. I was very pleased that we were able to keep the meet close, even though we were missing our top two male swimmers.
For the season so far, our boys are now 8-2 and our girls are now 8-1.
The final scores turned out like this:
Seton 124 The Heights 153
Seton 186 Highland 77
Seton 199 Notre Dame Academy 48
Seton 205 Wakefield 41
Seton 221 Highland 50
Seton 223 Wakefield 37
Seton 228 Notre Dame Academy 24
The most impressive statistic for me is that we’ve now had a season total of 258 personal records counting the PRs established in our time trial meet! This week saw some of the most amazing improvements I’ve seen in a single meet. Some of the swimmers who have shown the most improvement so far this season are:
- I don’t track such things, but I suspect Jonathan Rosato broke a team record for the largest single improvement in an event when he cut 102 seconds in his PR for the 500 Free. That’s no typo! Earlier in the meet, he cut over 31 seconds from his 200 Free. Jonathan has been focused in practice and listening to the coaching he’s getting. He has certainly been one of our most improved swimmers so far this season.
- Stephen Shaw has also shown amazing improvement this season. On Saturday, he cut 56 seconds from his previous best 500 Free and 20 seconds from her previous best 200 Free. It was so great to see his jaw drop after he finished the 500 and looked up at the scoreboard. The look on his face was priceless.
- Freshman Monica Byers has been swimming with us since she was in 6th grade, and she continues to show great improvement in both her stroke technique and the resulting times. She lowered her 500 Free PR by over 40 seconds and she lowered her 100 Fly PR by over 5 seconds. Her backstroke technique has gotten very, very good, as has her breaststroke. I’m looking forward to giving her a shot at the IM later in the season to see what she can do.
- I almost didn’t recognize Alex Harrill when he attempted the 200 Free for the first time. Remember last year when he tried the 500 at WARF? Well we are no longer talking about the same swimmer. His stroke is so much better than last year that it won’t surprise me if he drops over 2 minutes when I put in the 500 later this season. Get pumped Alex – you day is coming soon!
- This is freshman Michael Hill’s first year swimming, and he is making the most of the experience. The first day of practice, it was clear that Michael needed to swim with Coach Hoffer and Mary Kate Kenna in the beginner lanes. With their help, and his strong desire to learn, Michael can already swim like a long-time member of the team. I really enjoyed watching him race in the 200 Free for the first time, which he swam with his goggles off. I’ll bet that, after the first day of practice, he never thought he be racing for that distance only 5 weeks into the season.
- Prior to the season, junior Andrew Minarik used to spend the night with my son Daniel so that they could go to a high school prep practice a couple times a week. That kind of dedication is why we see things like a 28 second PR in the 500 Free on Saturday.
- There are so many others that have shown tremendous improvement, but in making a short list for this point in the season, it would be impossible not to include two of our top male swimmers, sophomore David Basinger and freshman Vincent “Catfish” Dunn. David and Catfish have impacted the team the most this season with their improvement in the 100 Free. Since last season, David has dropped from :59 high to :54 high and Catfish has dropped from :58 high to :54 low. That is how we saw the record in the 400 Free relay get beaten by so much last week. (Yes, Jameson and Connor had a lot to do with the also!). This week, David had big drops in the 200 and 500 Free (8.46 and 4.05 seconds, respectively). I know he can go faster in the 500. Catfish had 3 PRs this week including a 9.41 second PR in 100 Fly, 6.84 second PR in 200 IM, and a 1.41 second PR in 50 Back leading off the medley. Our run for a State Championship on the boys side is going to get an important lift from the contributions that these two can make in the relays.
- A short list of most improved swimmers this season also must include two of our top female swimmers, junior Carolyn Claybrooks and sophomore Bridget Wunderly. I’ve been watching these two swim for a long time now, and I’ve never seen them look stronger. Both of these girls have made great improvement in every event. Carolyn never broke 1:00 in 100 Free last season, but now she is going :58 low, and this week, she got within .02 seconds of breaking :27 in 50 Free. She has also made dramatic improvement in Backstroke and Fly – she is now very competitive in both of these strokes. Bridget has also made universal improvement. Her freestyle simply looks powerful, but her most impressive improvement has come in butterfly. If we win the State Championship on the girl’s side, I know these two emerging stars will be a part of the reason.
A Personal Record Every Time!
Believe it or not, we have 15 swimmers who have swum a personal record EVERY time they have hit the water in a meet:
- We’ve already spoken about David Basinger, Catfish Dunn, Bridget Wunderly and Stephen Shaw who are just a different swimmers this year.
- Freshman Kevin Bliss has a focus that I didn’t see him as an 8th This week, he cut almost 4 seconds in 100 Breaststroke, over 1 second in 50 Free leading off a relay, and over 6 seconds in 50 back stroke leading off the medley relay. His backstroke start on that medley relay was good evidence that he is really trying to listen in practice.
- This is freshman Michael Collins’ second year on the team. His improvement between this year and last has been very noticeable. He is steadily improving in every event he swims. This week, Michael cut another 2.47 seconds in 100 Free and 1.93 seconds in 50 Free. During the 100, Michael was able to give a much more experienced swimmer a close race.
- Heim must make some pretty good meals. I’m not sure how else to explain that both sophomore Eileen Heim and 7th grader Sarah Heim have perfect PR streaks so far this year. This week, Eileen cut 2.03 seconds in 100 Breaststroke and .63 seconds in 100 Free. I was very pleased with the way Eileen’s breaststroke looked. Sarah cut 4.33 seconds in 100 Breaststroke and 4.92 seconds in 100 Free. In 100 Free, Sarah almost beat a sophomore from Wakefield.
- Few swimmers on the team seem to show as much joy about coming to swimming practice as sophomore Christian “Rocky” Kleb, and the results are evident – the guy really wants to get better. And he did get better this week, dropping almost 7 seconds in 50 back leading off the medley, almost 5 seconds in 100 Back (I knew he’d drop big here after watching him in practice), and .24 seconds in 50 Free.
- Sophomore Brendan Koehr has improved to the point where he is not a major factor in scoring for Seton in every meet. Brendan’s mother watched him swim this week and had to double check the meet sheet a few times to make sure it was him. When you drop 17 seconds in 200 Free, it is sometimes hard to recognize! Brendan also cut another 1.65 seconds in 100 Free where he is approaching that 1:00 barrier.
- 8th grader David Lambrecht may not have a big body, but he sure seems to have a big heart. This week, he cut another 2.68 seconds from his 100 Free PR and another 1.80 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke PR.
- Based on the facebook messages and e-mails I get from Hannah Lowell, she apparently thinks that practice is too easy. If she keeps talking, I’m going to have to assign her to swim one-on-one with assistant coach and swimmer Connor Cook, who has shown a real knack for running a very hard practice 😉 In spite of the weak practices I seem to give her, she is somehow managing to improve anyway. She cut 1.15 seconds from her 100 Free, but I was most impressed with the 1.30 second improvement in 50 Free. A triathlete in the summers, she seems to enjoy the distance events better, but this week, she was really kicking and turning over. We might get a sprint out of her yet! 😉
- Freshman Sarah McGurk is new to Seton Swimming, but she is already learning a lot about swimming. This week, she cut 1.09 seconds in 100 Free (she was strong enough to swim in the final heat of that race) and an incredible 6.51 seconds in 100 Breaststroke. We’ve been working on Breaststroke in practice, and when I saw her great kick, I knew she was going to do well.
- 7th grader Timmy Murphy has caught the Seton Swimming bug. He’s cementing his place as a charter member of the “Fab 14s” (7th graders from the class of 2014) by continuing go faster and faster. On Saturday, he smashed the :30 second barrier in 50 Free with a 2.01 second improvement down to :29.75. That’s a very good time for a 7th He also cut 1.48 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
- At time trials this year, I had Joseph Scheetz in 100 Free. Before the race, he came up to me with a concerned look on his face and said, “Coach Koehr, I can’t swim 100 yards”. Needless to say, on that day, he finished 100 Free. On Saturday, he finished it again, this time more than 20 seconds faster! He also finished 100 Breaststroke for the first time – now we need to keep working until he can finish it legally 😉
- Matthew Verry doesn’t do much talking on deck. I guess he just wants to save his talking for the water, where he continues to show major improvement. He cut almost 9 seconds in 100 Back and almost 1 second in 50 Free this week.
More Personal Records
Of the swims where a personal record was possible (a previous time existed), our swimmers broke their PR 58% of the time this past week. I know that Coach Lowell, Ross, Kosten, Claybrooks and Hoffer share the excitement of watching this level of excellence with me.
- I can tell that Jack Corkery is a morning person. I love to watch him come into practice with that smile on his face. His recent work in practice must be the reason why he was able to cut 5.60 seconds in 50 back leading off a medley relay.
- Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe showed her versatility with a 1.04 second PR in 200 IM.
- Alex Doonis came back between sessions of a big USA meet to set a 6.10 second PR in 100 Fly (1:08.31) and a .83 second PR in 200 Free (2:09.58). I really think that Alex can be special in the 200 Free, so look for the time to drop a lot more before States.
- Senior captain David Harris’ breaststroke technique has become quite good, so good that he was able to cut his previous best time in 100 Breaststroke by .28 seconds even though he is no longer swimming USA.
- Can Patrick Kenna swim Breaststroke? Apparently the answer is “yes”. He cut 2.43 seconds from his previous PR and got down to a time that is pretty competitive for most of our meets. Now we need to get him under :25 in 50 Free – next week?
- Nice work Connor Kleb! He must have watched that Nevin Cook video on Breaststroke, because he was one of the few swimmers that stretched out completely and put his head completely after each pull. The results was a 6.78 second improvement.
- Senior captain Kelsey Kleb continues to improve, this time by .50 seconds in 100 Back.
- Emma Mooney had a huge improvement in 100 Back, cutting 9.75 seconds. Practice really makes a big difference?
- 8th grader James Mosimann just looks better and better. On Saturday, he cut 29 in 100 Free. His stroke looked so good, I had to ask who was in his lane! His breaststroke also looks very good.
- Sophomore Monica Mosimann had two PRs this week. She 2.44 seconds in 100 Breaststroke and .93 seconds in 50 Free.
- Smilin’ Maggie Murphy had two big PRs to be happy about. She cut 1.36 seconds in 50 Free and .97 seconds in 100 Breaststroke. Only a freshman, I think Maggie will be scoring a lot of points for us in the future.
- Senior Mikey O’Donnell continues to show improvement. He cut an amazing 17 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke and also improved again in 50 Free. I remember last year when he couldn’t even swim breaststroke. Nice work Mikey!
- I think the year that Kristen Rafter took off from swimming was good for her. I really enjoy seeing her happily, if not nervously, go up to swim and then come back with a big smile on her face. This week, Kristin tackled the 200 Free and cut 3.12 seconds from her previous best time. She also took on 100 Fly for the first time in 2 years and cut 1.64 seconds. That 100 Fly swim was good for 3rd place!
- Did you see John Ross’ freestyle? He was doing a near perfect flutter kick. As a result, he was able to cut 1.30 seconds in 100 Free and 1.16 seconds in 50 Free leading off a relay.
- Lexy Smith lowered her 100 Breaststroke PR by another .3 seconds.
- 8th grader Theresa Verry had a very productive day with two PRs. Theresa swam 2.82 seconds faster in 100 Free and 5.30 seconds faster in 100 Breaststroke.
- 8th grader Bernadette Wunderly keeps getting stronger. She cut another 1.45 seconds in 50 Free and another 1.45 seconds in 100 Free.
- Sophomore Leslie Zapiain’s freestyle has continued to improve. She knocked off half a second in both the 50 (leading off a relay) and 100 Free.
- Freshman Sarah Zapiain has 4 good strokes that all continue to improve. On Saturday, she cut 2.22 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
Other Great Performances
During the course of the meet, there were several other swims that I really enjoyed watching:
- The Fab-14s (class of 2014) including Jamie Smith, Joseph Kenna and Timmy Murphy, made a real statement again this week. Joseph Kenna went 01 in 50 Free! One way he does it is by naturally pulling all the way through on each stroke. Jamie Smith did a great job in the 200 Free (2:19) and the 500 Free (6:15). Jamie’s splits in the 500 were remarkably consistent, and had Jamie been eligible to score, he would have placed 3rd in both events. He also beat much older swimmers leading off a Fab 14 medley relay. We’ve already heard about Timmy’s great performances. I am starting to very excited about the relay possibilities once Patrick Koehr joins them next year. It is also fun to watch the Fab 14s do the Michael Phelps arm swings every time they get up on the blocks.
- Daniel Koehr’s hard work in practice is starting to pay off. He is now back to his post season times from last year, which bodes well for what he’ll being doing in February. I was also pleased with his shoulders during backstroke. I often use Daniel in practice to demonstrate how the strokes should be done.
- I gave Sarah Blanchard her first shot at the 200 and 500 Free, and she didn’t disappoint. Watching her swim, you can just tell that she’s a
- 8th grader Keeley Cook continues to be a serious factor in scoring for our team. Her very smooth backstroke was good enough for 3rd place! She also got 5th in 100 Free.
- If you want to score points, ask me to swim the 500 Free, the 200 IM or the 10 Fly. Alex Cummings has that figured out. Her swim in the 500 Free was good for 4th place on Saturday.
- Freshman and first-time teammember Ivan Harangozo swam 200 IM and 100 Fly for the first time, and I was very pleased with the results. Ivan got 7th in 200 IM and scored for us. During the backstroke leg, I could see he was trying to apply some of the things he’s been learning in practice.
- Cat Rogers also tried 200 IM and 100 Fly for the first time and scored for us in both events. Her freestyle anchoring a medley relay was also very long and very strong – like a stroke video. When she led off the 200 Free relay, she was actually hanging with The Machine for the first 25 yards. Nice work Cat!
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Catfish Dunn, Daniel Koehr, David Basinger and Patrick Kenna managed to start of the meet with a victory over The Heights (and everyone else!).
- David Basinger had his hands full in the 200 Free. I knew he was pushing it hard when his split for the first 100 was :56.68! He didn’t win that race, but he won every turn and every underwater.
- Brendan Koehr got 3rd in 200 Free, largely on the strength of a long stroke and a great 6th
- Timmy Murphy had a great 2nd 25 in 50 Free.
- Mikey O’Donnell had a great start in 50 Free
- Patrick Kenna is starting to step up as one of our primary sprinters. He came out of his turn in the 50 free very strong, with a great kick and no breath. He also had a super relay start in the 200 Free Relay. After having missed the first three weeks of the season with a football injury, he’s starting to get back on track now.
- Monica Mosimann and Maggie Murphy had a great race in 50 Free
- And so did Carolyn Claybrooks and Laura Talbott. Carolyn got off to a big early lead, but on the last 25, Laura was walking her down. Carolyn ended up winning by .13 seconds, but it was great to see Laura show signs of her last year form after she spent the fall playing on Seton’s state tourney volleyball team. Her times on Saturday were right on her Personal Records already.
- Christian Vestermark almost had the butterfly body dolphin on the first 25 of his 100 Fly. Connor Cook will be working with Christian during the coming week.
- Wasn’t it exciting to see 8th grader Bernadette Wunderly almost beat that senior from Highland in 100 Free?
- I remember back in the day swimming without goggle. Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe got to experience that for most of the 500 Free, but she won anyway.
- Jonathan Jacobeen did is best relay split ever during the 2nd leg of the 200 Free relay when he passed Highland senior.
- Together with Matthew Verry, the Fab 14s (Joseph Kenna, Jamie Smith and Timmy Murphy) almost beat the Notre Dame Academy “A” 200 Free relay!
- Leslie Zapiain had a great breakout leading off one of the girls 200 Free relays.
- Emily Lowell always strives to do all of the drills in practice perfectly. I could see the result of that work when she swam 100 Breaststroke.
Opportunities to Improve
There were a few of things that I wanted to mention to make sure we are being the best sports that we can be:
- Sometimes, at the end of the meet, it can be kinda lonely for that last person in the girls 400 Free relay, especially when the girls that swam before her leave before every competitor in the event has finished. In a relay, everyone should always stay until the last relay touches – then you should congratulate them.
- I’m always disappointed when I see a Seton Swimmer in the water not wearing their Seton cap. Can you imagine a Redskin playing with a different helmet?
- Believe it or not, I’m facebook these days, so I have an idea of how the conversations take place. When you communicate on-line, just remember how easy it is to be misinterpreted. Please try to remember that when you are talking about things like broken team records or beating other teams at meets. Like it or not, when you swim for Seton, you represent Seton. We want nothing but class from Seton Swimming.
We have a lot of great parent volunteers to run our meets each week, but I want to mention two that I am particularly thankful for this past week. Lynn Dunn did a great job taking charge of all of the scoring and stereo equipment, as well as running the scoring table, while Mr. Cook was out of town with Connor. Thank you Mrs. Dunn! Also, I thought it was great that Mr. Kleb stepped up to be our announcer. I got the feeling he’s done that before!
Next Saturday’s Homecoming Meet
I am really looking forward to this coming Saturday’s Homecoming Meet. I hoping to get a lot of alumni back at the meet and hopefully back in the water for relays during the break. If you know of a Seton Swimming alumni, please make sure they know about the meet. The meet will also be fun because we are swimming two Division I powerhouses, Collegiate School and Paul VI. The Boys 200 and 500 Free should be a preview of the State Championship in February with Jameson Hill facing off against Collegiate’s top middle distance freestylers. I think we will also surprise Paul VI with both our boys and girls. We start stretching at 12:45 p.m. next Saturday at the Freedom Center. See you at practice this week.