It was a great weekend for Seton Swimming up at Villanova University for the National Catholic High School Championships.  Our girls, led by Jessica Dunn, placed 8th overall, just two points behind Paul VI.  Our boys, led by Nevin Cook, placed 13th overall.

Nevin Cook took his 3rd consecutive Gold Medal in 100 Breaststroke, Jessica Dunn took the Bronze in 100 Backstroke and our Girls 200 Freestyle Relay took another Bronze for Seton.  In the process, we broke 5 team records and had numerous personal records including Kimberley Melnyk and Meghan Morch both breaking 1:00 in 100 Free for the first time.  It was a great weekend for all of those involved.

Top Performers with Top-8 Finishes

  • Nevin Cook for successfully defended his previous two National Catholic High School Championships in 100 Breaststroke.  After prelims, Nevin earned the top seed for finals.  In the finals, he went out in a very fast 27.79 and was able to hold on against a very fast field to take a Gold Medal.  In the 200 IM, Nevin smashed his own team record when he qualified as the top seed at a blazing 1:55.83!  The finals didn’t go as well for Nevin, who was unable to duplicate the great swim he had in prelims, but still finished 5th.  I’ve been watching Nevin Cook swim for a long time.  I’m quite confident that the 200 IM will go very differently at the State Championship in a few weeks.  Congratulations to Nevin Cook who finishes his Seton career as a 4-time National Catholic High School Champion!
  • Jessica Dunn was on fire this weekend, winning two bronze medals and breaking 4 team records!  Jessica took the bronze in 100 backstroke where she swam a team record 1:00.04 – soooo close to breaking 1:00.  There are 4 walls in 100 Backstroke, and I’m sure she’ll find that last .05 seconds on one of those.  Only 5 yards from the finish, it appeared to all of us like Jessie was going to finish 5th, but somehow she pushed hard into the wall and moved up to the bronze with a tremendous finish!  Jessica also had a second top-8 finish in 200 IM where she broke another team record with a very fast 2:12.52.  Her third individual team record came while leading off the medley relay where she went 28.76 in 50 Back.  Her final team record was as part of our girls 200 Free relay.
  • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Jessica Dunn, Alex Doonis, Meghan Morch, and Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe was simply awesome, taking a bronze medal and smashing the Seton team record by over 1 second!  The splits in that relay were really fast, particularly Alex Doonis’ 25.41 and the Machine’s anchor leg 25.82!  I’ve seen the Machine go that fast before, but I’ve never seen Alex swim like that.  I think Alex is starting to figure out just how fast she can be if she puts her mind to it – that was quite a swim!
  • Our Girls 200 Medley relay of Jessica Dunn, Mary-Kate Kenna, Lea Mazzoccoli, and Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe was nearly as impressive with their 6th place finish at Nationals.  Again, we had some very fast splits, especially Jessie’s lead-off 50 Back in 28.76.  Their final time of 1:57.97 is only .31 seconds off of the team record.  They have two more opportunities to break it before Jessie and Lea graduate, and I’m beating they will.

Top-16 Finishers

In championship meets, top-16 is a magic number because that is how many swimmers emerge from preliminaries to swim in the finals.  The top-8 times from the preliminary session swim in the Championship finals and the next 8 fastest times swim in the Consolation finals.  Only swimmers in these two final heats can score, so you always want to “come back” or “swim at night”.  This past weekend, Seton had 7 other entries come back for finals and score:

  • It is quite an accomplishment for a freshman to come back four times in a meet like National Catholics, but Lauren Donohoe did just that.  Not only did she anchor two top-8 relays, she also came back twice individually.  Her highest individual finish came in the very competitive 50 Free where her 26.08 got her 9thplace.  Then, just a few events later in 100 Free, she came back with a 57.41 to take 13th place.  Great job Machine!
  • Senior Captain Meghan Morch also came back in the 50 Free, taking 15th place overall.  Although that was Meghan’s highest place finish, I don’t think it was her best swim.  Her best swim came in the 400 Free relay…………
  • Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Meghan Morch, Carolyn Claybrooks, Kimberley Melnyk, and Alex Doonis took 12th overall with a particularly good swim during the finals.  Meghan Morch broke 1:00 for the first time ever while leading off the relay!  Kimberley Melnyk also had a tremendous split, breaking 1:00 for only the 2nd time ever.
  • Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Connor Cook, Nevin Cook, Daniel Koehr, and Sean Koehr took 12th place overall with their best time of the season.  Connor led off with a 27.88 followed by Nevin with his normal very fast 50 Breast.  Sean anchored with a solid 23.54, but the best leg of the relay was put in by Daniel Koehr who did a PR relay split of 27.65 in 50 Fly.
  • The same 4 boys took 15th in the Boys 200 Free Relay.  Again, everyone swam solid splits with Daniel Koehr excelling compared to his previous best times.  Daniel split 24.89, which is very good for sophomore, high school only swimmer.
  • How about Mary-Kate Kenna’s 100 Breaststroke!?  Mary-Kate hit her PR during prelims to make it into the consolation finals she went 1:13.54 to take 14th place overall.  This is the first time MK has broken 1:14.  I think the difference was the fact that she added a glide back into her stroke to take full advantage of her powerful kick.  MK’s hard work is paying off.  Great job!
  • Alex Doonis, only an 8th grader, swam a PR in the prelims and another PR in finals to take 16th place in 100 Backstroke.  Here time of 1:04.64 was the fastest time swum by an 8th grader in the meet.  Believe it or not, I’m quite sure that Alex can go much faster once she really learns to push herself.  If she does, Alex could be one of the most accomplished swimmers we’ve ever had at Seton.  Certainly very few, if any, 8th graders from Seton have ever competed at this level.

Other Great Performances

  • Carolyn Claybrooks did more than swim well in the 400 Free Relay.  She also lowered her PR in the 200 Free, crushing her heat by breaking 2:15 for the first time.  I knew she was going to do a good time when she took the first 100 out in 1:05 – that’s how you swim a 200!
  • Beyond the relays, Connor Cook also had some good individual swims.  Unfortunately, he ended up just out of the money in both events.  In 200 IM, Connor went a Seton PR 2:05.83 to place 17th in prelims and take the first alternate position for the finals.  In 100 Back, Connor placed 19th overall.  I’m confident that Connor will be coming back 4 times in next year’s meet.
  • Mary-Kate Kenna did a PR in 200 IM.  Her 2:25.41 was good enough for 24th place overall.
  • Lea Mazzoccoli is nursing an injured shoulder, but, with the help of a little cortisone, swam courageously in 100 Fly and 100 Breast.  The 3 weeks out of the water set her back in the 100s, but she swam really well in the 50s during relays.  I think that in the final 3 weeks before States, she can get it back and score big for us in Fly.
  • Kimberley Melnyk swam two individual events and PR’d in both of them.  In 100 Free, she broke 1:00 for the first time by lowering her time .90 seconds!  She also broke 1:09 in 100 Back for the first time when she swam a PR 1:08.92.  It was definitely a good weekend for Kimberley.
  • Bridget Wunderly made the National Catholic team again in two individual events and swam well in 200 IM and 100 Fly, both pretty tough events.
  • Laura Talbott also made the National Catholic team again in two individual events.  She swam well in the 200 IM and 100 Back.

Final Notes

  • Thanks to the Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Morch, Mrs. Doonis, and Mrs. Mazzoccoli for going to each session very early to save seats in a difficult venue for parents.  You helped make the meet more enjoyable for all of us.
  • It was great to have so many other members of the Seton Swim Team up in Philly cheering for our swimmers.  It looked (and sounded!) like a good time was had by all.
  • Giving new meaning to the cliché “When in Rome……..”, Mr. Kenna and Mr. Talbott, somehow managed to sample three authentic, 16-inch Philly Cheese Steaks from Pat’s, Geno’s and Larry’s within a 6 hour period!  Thank God the good Lord gave us Lipitor.
  • The mystery of the Rocky statue is revealed here:  The statue was actually left in place at the top of the 72-steps leading up the Art Museum after the filming of Rocky III was competed – Sylvester Stallone donated it to the City.  After a great debate between those who thought Sylvester Stallone was on par with Ben Franklin and those who thought that statue was just an offensively ugly movie prop, the statue was moved to the Spectrum Sports arena, where it remained until 2006.

Next Week

  • Next Saturday, February 2nd, we’re hosting our annual VSIS Division II Invitation at the Freedom Center.  Our warm-up is at noon, so please plan on arriving before 11:30 so we can organize our team are and get stretched out.
  • For planning purposes, our Saturday, February 9th meet is at Fredericksburg Academy.  Please plan to be there by 3:45 for a 4:15 warm-up.  Only the State Team plus seniors and a few others are involved.

See you at practice tomorrow,

Coach Koehr

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