Last Saturday, we hosted our 14th annual VISAA Division II Invitational at the Freedom Aquatic and Fitness Center in Manassas, VA.

There were so many story lines for this incredible meet.  Here are some other headlines I considered:

  • Seton Girls Win 26th Straight DAC Conference Championship!
  • Seton Boys Win 23rd DAC Conference Title, 5th in a Row!
  • Jeremy Kleb and John McGrath Prove Their Mettle
  • Trinity Christian Girls Take D-II Invitational from Seton in Continued Back and Forth
  • Freedom Center Patrons Adopt the Seton Boys Team
  • It’s Ceili Koehr’s 16th Birthday Today!

As you will see farther down as you keep reading, there would have been ample reason to make any one of those the headline this week.

We created this meet 14 years ago so that all the Division II schools could have a chance to come together before States for a fun competition where we could all get the chance to know each other better.  Then we could all go down to States and have a great competition for our kids also, not just the kids at the big schools.

One data point to show how well this  has worked is that this year, the meet had 20 schools who brought 305 swimmers – that is nearly 2/3rd the size of the State Championship meet.

We stole a page from our NoVa Catholic playbook by creating a traveling trophy with a plaque for all the past winners on it.  The idea is that the winner each year will take the trophy back to their school for the year and then return with it the next year to defend their title.

Seton Swimming appears on both the Girl’s and Boy’s trophies several times between 2008 and 2013, but since then, the meet has largely been dominated by Hampton Roads Academy.  This year, while the Girl’s trophy will return to Trinity Christian School for a 2nd straight year, the Boy’s trophy will have a new home in Manassas, VA.

Congratulations to the Seton Boys who defeated the 8-time defending State Champion, Hampton Roads Academy, to become the VISAA Swimming Division II Invitational Champion for 2020.  The meet came down to the final relay with the Seton Boys only 3-points ahead of The Steward School.  Seton ultimately won 219-186 with Hampton Roads in third place with 143 points.

I’d also like to congratulate our Swimmers of the Meet, both of whom were selected by a vote of the coaches:

  • Boys – Noah Nichols, The Steward School. Noah won the 200 IM going away with a time of 1:58.66 and he set a new meet record in the Boys 100 Breaststroke (56.34, not a typo!)
  • Girls – Allison Langenburg, The Steward School. Allison set a new meet record of 1:52.90 in the Girls 200 Free and she won the Girls 500 Free by nearly 20 seconds with a 5:05.84.

The meet just keeps getting faster.  We had three (3) additional Meet Records:

  • Kaitlyn Sullivan of Williamsburg Christian Academyin Girls 100 Breaststroke (1:06.52)
  • Avery Cronin of Hampton Roads Academyin Boys 100 Free (48.76), and
  • Annalise Cornett of Trinity Christian Schoolwent 1:53.80 to break the Girls 200 Free record, previously set by Reni Moshos of Highland School back in 2015 (1:53.80).  When you break a Reni Moshos record, you’ve really done something.

In the Delaney Athletic Conference, we have also traditionally counted this meet for DAC Championship Meet Records, but two of those records were broken also:

  • The Trinity Christian Girls 200 Medley Relay broke their own DAC Record with their 1:54.13
  • Trinity Christian swimmer Annalise Cornett’s 200 Free time of 1:53.80 also broke the DAC record, taking down the previous record also set back in 2015 by Highland School’s Reni Moshos.

Championship Meet Scoring

This meet was scored as a championship meet, where the top 12 places earned scores from 16 to 1.

While our boys were elated with the results, I know that our girls were a little disappointed – but I wasn’t.  We will have our hands full with Trinity Christian at the DAC Championship meet next weekend, so our training plan is aiming toward that.  We worked exceptionally hard this past week, and the result was that our girls looked tired on Saturday.  That was because they were!

Keep the faith girls – it is all part of the plan for us to peak at DAC Champs next weekend.

For the 20 teams involved, here’s how the meet scores looked for the top finishers when it was all over:

Boys

  1. Seton School                             219
  2. Steward School                         186
  3. Hampton Roads Academy     143
  4. Christchurch                             138.5
  5. The Covenant School              123.5
  6. Fredericksburg Christian       102
  7. Veritas School                            92
  8. Randolph-Macon Academy    68
  9. Nansemond-Suffolk                 58
  10. Trinity Christian School          49

Girls

  1. Trinity Christian                     209
  2. The Steward School               165
  3. Hampton Roads Academy   154
  4. Seton School                           149         
  5. Williamsburg Christian          129
  6. Fredericksburg Academy      109
  7. Nansemond-Suffolk                 90
  8. Oakcrest                                     66
  9. Highland                                     65
  10. The Covenant School               55

Seton Boys and Girls Win DAC Conference Championship

One aspect of the meet that is very important is that it is used as a determinant for the DAC Conference Championship also.  The DAC conference uses this meet, rescored as a 3+ Dual meet, to count as a regular season score for DAC teams that have not yet met in a meet during the season – and we had not swum against Fredericksburg Academy or Randolph-Macon Academy this season until Saturday.  Recall that a 3+ Dual meet score is a separate score for each team in the meet against each other team in the meet.

Fredericksburg Academy has some very strong swimmers, particularly Annika Luce (2:18.14 200 IM, 1:09.18 100 Breast) on the girl’s side.  Fortunately, both our boys and girls had the depth required to prevail.

We ended up beating the FA Boys 206 – 61 and the RMA Boys 197 – 71 to get the last two (2) victories we needed to make our Conference Championship official.  That is our 23rd Conference Championship for the boys, and their 5th in row.

On the Girls side, by beating the FA Girls in the dual meet scoring 170 – 104 and by beating the RMA Girl(s) 213 – 15, we also sealed the deal officially for the girls.  Since the founding of Seton Swimming in 1995, the Girls have won the Conference title in all 26 years of their existence.

If you look at the complete DAC Conference 3+ Dual Meet scoring for the Meet (posted under Meet & Team Information), you’ll see a relatively tight score between Trinity Christian and Seton, which Trinity prevailing 153-129.  Fortunately for us, the Dual meet that counted was on January 4th.

On both of the next two weekend, our girls will face Trinity Christian when it counts for Conference Meet or State accolades, but they will be both be in Championship format meets.  That format favors the teams with a few superstars over the teams with a lot of strong high school swimmers.

Last year at DAC Champs, our girls were able to overcome Trinity Christian’s strength by only 16 points.  The year before that it was only 0.5 points!  Next weekend, I expect the meet to be very close again.  We’ll be scoring 12 places, so if we win it, it will once again be because our top girls swam well, and the heart of our girl’s team took a lot of places between 4th and 12th.

For our Boys, we have a very deep group led our strongest group of seniors in nearly a decade.  I’m very optimistic about the eventual result, so I want to focus on maximizing the number of boys who earn All-Conference honors (i.e. top 3 individually) and on getting some boys to qualify for States individually.

The Seton Boys Were Historically Good

If you scan the results, you will see that the Seton Boys won the overall meet, but only won a one event outright.  For the individual events, you’ll see a lot of 4ths, 5ths, 7ths, 9ths and 12ths – which add up to a lot of points in aggregate (12 places scored).   In the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free relay, you’ll see that we scored in both 5th and 8th places (2 relays scored this meet), also a lot of points.

But you will also see Seton at the top of the final results for the Boys 200 Free Relay of Shane Koehr (SR), Drew Dalrymple (SR), Christian Ceol (SR) and Liam Kellogg (JR), easily the highlight of the meet for me.  Liam was stepping in for Jacob Alsup (SR) who was doing everything humanly possible to recover from the flu.

The top three (3) seeds were all within .20 seconds of one another with Steward at 1:37.21, Seton at 1:37.14 and Covenant at 1:37.01, so we figured it was likely to be very close.  It didn’t turn out that way.  Not only was the race not that close, it was Fredericksburg Christian that swam the 1:37.01.  (We’ll have to watch out for them next week)

For those of you who pay close attention, you might be thinking, “I wonder what Coach Koehr was thinking – that’s a very unusual order for the relay”.  Well even I asked that exact same question when I saw Drew jump in for the second leg behind Shane.

I asked Coach Dalrymple, “Drew’s not at the end?”  She looked back at me and said, “No,” thinking “I was going to ask you that!”

Well it turns out that the relay order was in reverse order of time, which is how I add swimmers to relays in my software – I just click on the fastest four (4).  After that, I would normally rearrange the order to put the fastest at the end – or at least I’d put the 2nd fastest at the end because I sometimes like to lead off with the fastest to get to clean water for the rest.

If clean water was the goal, that is exactly what we got, even if it was by accident.  Shane Koehr led off with the fastest flat start 50 of the year for any swimmer on the team – 23.72.  That was a .36 second PR (and top 10 all-time Seton Swimming 50-Free time) that gave Drew Dalrymple more than a 1.5 second lead.

Drew swam a 23.54, his best split of the season by .26 to extend our lead by another 1.5 seconds.  Then Christian Ceol dove in and split 23.96, his best of the season by .10.

The baton was passed to substitute swimmer and accidental anchor Liam Kellogg (JR) who had a large 2.65 second lead – but he had to hold off Fredericksburg Christian’s star swimmer Andrew Turbyfill.  Liam was more than up for the challenge.  His split of 23.71 was the 2nd fastest on the whole relay and .75 seconds faster than he had done all year!

Our Seton Boys 200 Free Relay went 2.21 seconds faster than it had all year.  A 1:34.93 for the Boys 200 Free Relay is really fast!   So fast in fact, that it is worthy of being put into some historical context.

I looked back at all of Seton’s relay results since 2001 when I started coaching.  The Relay that swam on Saturday swam the 11th fastest time in the history of Seton, and the 10 relays that swam faster were only three (3) different combinations of the greatest swimmers in Seton swimming history:

  • States 2010 – Jameson Hill (SR), Daniel Koehr (SR), Connor Cook (SR) and David Basinger (SR), Team Record of 1:30.07
    • Splits were 21.36, 23.00, 22.72, 22.99
  • States 2008 – Nevin Cook (SR), Daniel Koehr (SO), Connor Cook (SO) and Fr. Sean Koehr (SR), 1:33.21
    • Splits were 22.59, 24.18, 23.51, 22.93 (the future priest could rock!)
  • States 2006 – Fr. Sean Koehr (SO), Bryan Morch (SR), Nevin Cook (SO) and Kevin Koehr (SR), 1:33.32

To put that in even more perspective, remember that Jameson Hill, Nevin Cook and Kevin Koehr were High School All-Americans and went on to swim at Georgia, Virginia Tech, and Virginia Tech, respectively.  Connor Cook and David Basinger were big-time USA swimmers in their own rights.

The boys on Seton’s 2020 relay are all high-school only swimmers who only practice at Seton.

On a side note, that lead-off 50 Free time of 23.72 by Shane Koehr makes him the 10th fastest sprinter in Seton history.

Congratulations boys!  You guys are the 4th fastest relay combination we’ve ever put together at Seton, and your time was the fastest for Seton in a decade!

Here’s a video of the race from “Seton Swimming’s All-Time Greatest Swims” YouTube Channel.  You can also get to the YouTube Channel by clicking on Videos under the About menu on the Home page.  Seton is in lane 6 (6th from the top) in the blue caps, and Fredericksburg Christian is in lane 3 near the top of the screen.

Jeremy Kleb and John McGrath Prove Their Mettle

Jeremy Kleb (SR) and John McGrath (JR) were both working hard to be on the State team this year, but prior to last weekend, it wasn’t looking particularly good for either.

Jeremy’s path was difficult, but clear, for the 400 “B” Relay.  His best 100 Free flat start this season was 59.69 and his best split was 58.64.  That split had Jeremy 9th on a list that could include 8.  The 8th fastest split was .25 seconds faster.  So, drop more than .25 seconds and assume that several other swimmers didn’t also improve – he’s in.

Jeremy Kleb wasn’t messing around.  With a fully shaved body including his back and arms, he took his first shot in the 100 Freestyle individual event.  After an amazing 1.16 second PR, Jeremy went 58.53, still .14 seconds short.  But his next shot would give him the better chance.

That better chance came at the end of the 400 Free Relay where Jeremy would have the benefit of a rolling relay start.  Jeremy took full advantage by cutting another .47 seconds to go 58.06.  I thought Jeremy was in.  The 8th swimmer on the list hadn’t improved – who else could take it from Jeremy?

But Jeremy wasn’t the only one who really wanted this.  Like Jeremy, John McGrath has been among the best examples of hard work in practice.  John has even been swimming on his off days.  But even with that extra effort, I really thought John’s best shot was to get on the State team next year.

John didn’t agree.  Leading off the exact same relay on which Jeremy swam, he somehow managed to swim a 57.88 from a flat start!  How the heck do you do that kind of time when your PR is 1:00.29?!  That was a 2.41 second drop!

When I discovered this late in the meet, I asked myself, “I wonder what he did in the 200 Free Relay?”.  Whoa!  He split 24.47!  Are you kidding me?  John was 11th on the list of fastest 50 splits on the team with a 25.84.  His fastest flat start was a 26.10.  That’s a drop of 1.37 seconds in 50 Free.  Impossible.  Or so I thought.

That jumped John up from the 11th fastest split to the 6th fastest split and has him solidly on the 200 Free “B” Relay for States.

While it worked out unbelievably well for John and not as well as he hoped for Jeremy, I was incredibly proud of both of them.  Both of them took big steps to honorable manhood in the process of competing, and in the long run, the heart they both demonstrated is going to work out very well for both of them.

Trinity Christian Girls Take D-II Invitational from Seton in Continued Back and Forth

The back and forth continued between the Girls from Seton and from Trinity Christian on Saturday.  In this case, the Trinity girls got the best of us, and they did it in a way that you just have to admire.

Right from the first event, the girls 200 Medley Relay, it was clear they came to play.  Coach Morgan Bailey played it brilliantly.  Brooke Williams in backstroke?  I didn’t even know she could swim backstroke, but her 27.57 split was the 4th fastest split in the entire meet – only three of the boys swam faster!

Then I knew Coach Bailey was going for it when I had to ask Coach Mulhern, “Is that Annalise Cornett swimming breaststroke?”.  I recall a conversation on the bulkhead with Mrs. Cornett at the Seton Homecoming Invitational where I told her, “I think that girl can swim breaststroke.”  I’m not sure she was fully on board with that, but Coach Bailey must have figured it out too.

What made it all possible was a Trinity swimmer who wasn’t even on my radar, Kiera Zerrenner, who fortunately for us is a senior 😉.  It probably doesn’t surprise most of you that I have four (4) years-worth of Trinity Christian girls times in my database, but nothing I had showed me that she could do anything like a 29.09 for a 50 Fly split.  Of course, I wasn’t expecting her to drop 4.85 second to 1:13.76 in 100 Fly either, which is probably why she never hit my radar.

Well Kiera, you’re on my radar now.  From my perspective, you were the game changer for Trinity.  By the time you had finished your leg of the relay, no one was going to catch Jenna Phillips.

We expect three (3) gold medals and a Silver, plus a new meet record, from Brooke and Annalise.  And we know what to expect from Theresa, Jenna, Caroline, Anna, Bella, Lucy, Amy and the others, but it was you Kiera that allowed Coach Bailey to use his top talent in such an innovative way.  Great job!

Congratulations to the Trinity Christian girls for a great meet.  We’ll see you this coming weekend at DAC Champs – will it be Seton’s turn?

Freedom Center Patrons Adopt the Seton Boys Team

Many of you might not realize that Seton practiced at the Freedom Center for many years before we had to switch to Central Park for a while to get access to more practice lanes.  In fact, we first started practicing at the Freedom Center way back in 2003 when I decided that a 5-lane meter pool in Georgetown South, while cheap, was just not going to allow us to accomplish our goals.

When you show up in a pool locker room with 30 or 40 boys all at once, you’re bound to get noticed.  One of the people who noticed was a Freedom Center patron named Craig Wade.  Mr. Wade has been working out at the Freedom Center at approximately the same time as Seton’s practice for more than 15 years.  He’s a very friendly guy who has really enjoyed watching the Seton boys come and go over the years.

Well this year’s class of Boys has developed a unique relationship with Mr. Wade – so much so that he told me that he wanted to come to a meet one day.  On Saturday, he actually did.

I recall in the team area when the buzz started.  “Hey, you know that guy from the locker room, Mr. Wade?  He’s here!”

Thank you, Mr. Wade, for befriending our boys.  I’ve also personally enjoyed seeing your cheerful face each morning over all these years.

Here’s a photo album on our site (Blog/Photos) that contains a picture of Mr. Wade on deck with several members of the boys team on Saturday.

More Great Swims and Personal Records

I’ve written of so many great swims, but that was just a portion of the 32 total PRs we had for the Varsity team on Saturday:

  • Jerry Dalrymple (JR) had a rare PR that it took Seltman to even notice. Jerry’s previous best 50 Free relay split was 24.90, but after the first 50 yards of his 100 Free during the 3rd leg of our 400 Free Relay, Jerry split 24.69 to his feet.  That counts!  At least it counts as a 50 Free split since it included a relay start.  Thanks for catching that Mr. Seltman – I’ve updated my split spreadsheet.  Jerry also dropped .96 seconds in the 200 IM.
  • Mary O’Malley (SO) had a tremendous swim in the 500 Free, cutting 3.22 seconds from her PR while overtaking her competitor in the next lane in the last 15 yards of the race!
  • Shane Koehr (SR) is not just our team’s fastest sprinter right now with that 23.72 relay lead-off (see above), he also showed that he can rock the 200 Free and 100 Back. How about Shane’s 6.64 second PR to go 2:03.35?  And how about his .52 second PR 1:01.07 in 100 Back?  That backstroke time was a bit of a family milestone, because when I was in high school, I went 1:01.1 (we used stopwatches with moving hands so tenths of seconds was the most precision we had).  “I beat you!” was the first thing he said to me from the water when he saw the scoreboard.
  • John McGrath (JR) was had a really great meet (see above), but he did more than improve dramatically in the 50 and 100 Freestyle. He also cut 2.65 seconds in 200 Free and 9.97 seconds in the 500 Free.
  • Nathan Luevano (FR) just keeps dropping. In the 500 Free, Nathan broke 6:00 for the first time with a 11.23 second PR and in 100 Free leading off a relay he cut 1.43 seconds to go 57.54.  That is very fast for a freshman.
  • JJ Brox (FR) showed huge improvement in backstroke with his 4.04 second PR
  • Emily Flynn (SO) had a great meet swimming butterfly. In the 200 IM, she dropped 2.55 seconds and in 100 Fly, she dropped another .74 seconds.  Emily is now down to 1:07.40 which could be good enough for All-Conference at DAC Champs.
  • Sophia Zadnik (SO) showed that she has a place on the Varsity team with two great swims on Saturday. In 100 Breaststroke, Sophie cut 2.40 seconds and in 50 Free she cut .40 seconds.
  • Jeremy Kleb (SR) didn’t just make me proud with his great swimming in 100 Free and in the 400 Free Relay, he also cut 1.81 seconds from his 100 Back PR.
  • Ava Hudson (8) continues to show her versatility. In 200 IM, she dropped 1.32 seconds, and in 100 Back, she dropped 3.10 seconds!
  • Kathleen O’Malley (SR) sure is making the most of her last few meets. Her 1.13 second PR jumped her up on the list of relay qualifiers, as did her .02 second PR in 50 Free.
  • Liam Kellogg (JR) did more than swim a 23.71 relay split on the backend of our Boys 200 Free Relay, he also dropped his flat start PR by .17 seconds to 24.64
  • Lily Byers (SO) had a great meet on Saturday. Her 29.03 50 Free split during a 200 Free Relay bumped her up to the “B” Relay at States.  She also had a .26 second PR in 100 Free leading off our 400 Free Relay.
  • Teresa Bingham (SO) had a great swim in 100 Free, lowering her PR by 1.21 seconds.
  • Joey Arnold (SR) cut .67 seconds in 100 Breaststroke
  • Ceili Koehr (SO) used the eve of her 16th birthday to drop .65 seconds from her 50 Free PR leading off a relay.
  • Evan Wilson (JR) cemented his spot as the backstroker on next year’s “A” 200 Medley Relay with his .65 second PR leading off our medley relay.
  • Joe Wilson (FR) had a great swim in 100 Fly, dropping another .25 seconds to go 1:02.45.
  • Christian Ceol (SR) rocked his 100 Free, dropping another .22 seconds to 55.68.
  • Joey Dealey (FR) cut a huge 1.50 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke PR and an even bigger .75 seconds from his 50 Free PR.

Next Weekend’s DAC Championship Meet

Next weekend is the DAC Conference Championship Meet at the Fitch WARF in Warrenton, VA.  We don’t have our warm-up assignment yet, but I know that the first warm-up is at 5:00 p.m. and the first event is probably just after 6:00 p.m.

Eat, sleep and come ready to swim.  Entries are due tomorrow, so I will post them publicly after that.

The State Championship Meet is Friday and Saturday, February 14-15th at Christiansburg Aquatic Center near Virginia Tech.

Loads of information about States is already posted under Meet Information and under my Blog.  If you want to know who’s going and how I’m deciding, it is there.

I’ll remind you that there are two more chances to either qualify or move up to an “A” Relay:

  • DAC Champs
    • We get one scoring relay and one exhibition relay.
  • Preliminaries of the State Championship Meet
    • If we have a relay make the Finals, then to be fair, I will factor in the splits swum during Prelims.
    • I will still use the best splits for the entire season though.

Once again, we have a Team House this year for team meals and as a hang-out between sessions.  I’ve enlisted some of the Mom’s of State swimmers to take charge of the team meals.  I also have a block of hotel rooms between the pool and the Team House.  I’ve posted information on the Hotel under Meet Information also.

I have a summary of who is coming and where they are staying posted under Meet Information.  By now, you should

  • Have a place to stay and told me what it is.
  • Have a responsible adult established for each swimmer and told me who it is.
  • Given me your rugby shirt size or told me that you already have one.

As soon as we get the rest of the details for the trip together, I’ll publish them for you all in one place.

One (1) more good practice left before DAC Champs – let’s make the most of it!

Coach Jim Koehr

Seton Swimming’s G.E.M.S.

What makes Seton Swimming special?

N

Gratitude

“Who has it better than us? Nobody!”

N

Excellence

We focus on better. Good takes care of itself.

N

Meekness

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

N

Sacrifice

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

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