On Saturday, Seton Swimming clinched our 15th straight conference championship in wonderfully fun meet that also featured Division I opponents Woodberry Forest School and Trinity Episcopal School from Richmond.  Trinity has almost exactly twice as many boys in their high school (208) as Seton (105), so it was quite an accomplishment for us.

Our victories came on the strength of another 48 Personal records.  We have now had 410 personal records so far this season!  It looks like our goal of 500 PRs for the season is within reach.  We also had three new team records.

For the season so far, our boys are 16-6 and our girls are 19-3.  These are excellent records considering that only about half of the teams we swim against are VSIS Division II teams.  Against teams in our Division, we still haven’t even had a close meet. I am really starting to get excited about the post season, particularly the State Championship.  The girls will face some tough competition in Division II from Roanoke Catholic and Peninsula Catholic and could get anything from 1st to 3rd.  On the boys side, I don’t see anyone in Division II who can stop us, although I’ve been surprised before by teams that we didn’t swim in the regular season (by Peninsula Catholic’s girls team last year – though we ultimately prevailed).

The goal is clear – two State Championships!

The final scores for this week turned out like this:


Seton     162            Trinity Episcopal                 145

Seton     120            Woodberry Forest                  194

Seton     225            Fredericksburg Christian           72

Seton     236            Quantico                                  50

Seton     241            John Paul the Great                  23


Seton     139            Trinity Episcopal                 173 

Seton     233            Fredericksburg Christian          68

Seton     238            Foxcroft                                  54

Seton     240            Quantico                                 38

Seton     240            John Paul the Great                 30

Three New Team Records

Jameson Hill once continued his quest to rewrite the Seton record board with two new individual records and a new relay record.  Remember, on the boy’s side, we’ve had two High School All-Americas, so our records were already very fast – Jameson seems to be giving “very fast” a whole new meaning:

  • In 100 Butterfly, Jameson cut 2.46 seconds from his previous best time to swim a :52.71, beating the old record of :53.15 held by former All-America Nevin Cook.  Jameson is generally better at the long-axis strokes, so, believe it or not, butterfly is not one of his strongest events.   He had a great race against one of the top butterfliers in the State from Woodberry Forest, who got the better of Jameson in the race.  Jameson got his revenge about an half hour later when, as the anchor leg of our boys 200 Free relay, he walked that same Woodberry Forest swimmer down to claim victory for the relay with a :20.97 50 Freestyle split!  More on that later.
  • In the 400 Free relay, I arranged with the Woodberry coach to have Jameson lead-off against Woodberry’s top freestyler.  I talked to the Woodberry kid before the meet, and he was definitely thinking that he could beat Jameson.  I told Jameson before the race not to mess around with the kid – put him away as quickly as possible.  That is exactly what Jameson did.   By the first turn, the end result became obvious.  When they touched, the display board showed that Jameson swam a new team record 100 Free at :46.99!  That beat the old record of :47.59, set by Jameson himself in December.  The state record is :46.13, and Jameson has gone as fast as :46.03 this year, so a 3rd State record (with the 200 and 500 Free) is possible.  I have a strong hunch that by the time Jameson enters the water at States to lead off the 400 Freerelay, that State 100 Free record is going to be lower.  Kinda of exciting to even think about the possibility of three state records though.
  • In the 400 Free relayJameson Hill, David Basinger, Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, and Connor Cook were all spectacular while setting a new team record of 3:25.66!  We are definitely talking about a top-8 relay at States this coming year.  Besides Jameson’s very fast split, David Basinger split a :54.71, Catfish split a :52.68 and Connor anchored with a :51.28.  Two huge differences in this relay over last year are the performances of David Basinger and Catfish Dunn.  Last season, we celebrated the first time David broke 1:00 – now he’s under :55.  That is truly amazing for a high school only swimmer.  Catfish swam a season best :58.33 last season – now he is regularly under :53.  Wow!  And none of these swimmers is a senior!  I’m looking for a 3:23 or better from these four at States.

Second Week in a Row With Boys Meet Coming Down to the Last Event

For the 2nd week in a row, the boys meet came down to the wire, with our boy’s team again prevailing.  This time, it was against Trinity Episcopal.  (If you are following along, it is helpful to know that relays score 10-5-3 for 1st thru 3rd and individual events score 8-6-5-4-3-2-1 for 1st thru 7th.)

  • In an effort to help determine which boy’s relays I wanted to stack for States, this week I stacked the 200 and 400 Free relays.  That still left us with a pretty good 200 Medley relay of Catfish Dunn, Daniel Koehr, David Harris, and Patrick Kenna.  They were able to take 2nd versus Trinity with some pretty good splits.  Catfish Dunn swam a PR lead off backstroke leg, Daniel Koehr was very fast in breaststroke, David Harris did some nice work on his butterfly leg, and Patrick Kenna anchored with a strong :25.48.
  • Predictably, the 200 Free was not even close with Jameson Hill crushing the field, including the Woodberry swimmer that he would later see in the 100 Fly. Patrick Kenna and Ivan Harangozo hit PRs to take 4th and 6th versus Trinity.  Patrick Kenna cut 9.76 seconds from his previous best and Ivan Harangozo cut 3.11 seconds.  I was very pleased with how Ivan is adapting his stroke to take full advantage of his long body.  Jonathan Rosato also scored a point by taking 7th.
  • The boys 200 IM was one of the faster events of the meet for the boys.  Connor Cook had a strong swim, particularly the breaststroke leg, to take 2nd versus Trinity and 3rd overall.  The always steady David Harris delivered points once again with a 4th place.  Steven Shawand Thomas Kosten also scored with a 5th and 6th place, respectively.  Steven had a 3.63 second PR and Thomas Kosten scored in his very first attempt at the event.  Both of these guys have showed tremendous improvement this season.·        At this point in the meet, Trinity was winning 40-35.
  • We were strong in the 50 Free.  Catfish Dunn cut .5 seconds from his PR to swim :25.29 and take first against Trinity.  Brendan Koehr was .01 off of his PR, but his strong swim was good enough for 3rd.  Kevin Bliss delivered a .11 second PR to slide in for 7th and claim 1 point for Seton.
  • We mentioned Jamison’s record setting 100 Fly, which of course took 1st versus two very fast Trinity swimmers.  Christian Vestermark picked a great time to finally breakthrough in 100 Fly.  Connor Cook has been working with Christian in practice on his fly, and the result of Christian’s work was a 2.27 second PR to move him up to 5th place and 3 points for Seton.  8th grader Steven Shaw scored for the second time in the meet with his 7th place here.  Steven just seemed to look more like a swimmer every time I watch him.
  • One of the better races of the day came in the boys 100 Free with David Basinger and Daniel Koehr carried the banner for Seton and took 1st and 2nd versus Trinity.  They were also racing for that 4th spot on the 400 Free relay at States.  Daniel Koehr really put the pressure on David when he swam a .41 second PR.  Daniel’s :55.84 was only .33 seconds ahead of Trinity’s top sprinter.  David was up to Daniel’s challenge. David delivered a .55 second PR to swim a very fast :54.42 and maintain his spot on what later became another record setting performance by the 400 Free relay.  Once again, David Harris was able to score points with a 6th place finish, and freshman Michael Collins scored one point for Seton with 7th.  Regular readers of this write-up may have begun to notice the wide range of events in which David Harris has scored for us in his career at Seton.  We’re going to miss him when he graduates this year.
  • In spite of these great swims, after 100 Free, Trinity had extended its lead over us to 11 points, 72-61.
  • The 500 Free was very good to us, mostly because of Junior Captain Connor Cook, who gave a very strong Woodberry swimmer a great race and crushed Trinity’s top entry.  The other reasons we won the event 17-11 were the performances of Jonathan Jacobeen, Ivan Harangozo and Kevin Bliss who got 4th, 5th and 6th.  Both Jonathan and Ivan had big PRs – Jonathan’s by 15.25 seconds and Ivan’s by 21.35 seconds.  It was great to see them apply the stroke lessons we’ve been pounding in practice.  As for freshman Kevin Bliss, it was his first ever 500 Free, and he was able to score for us!
  • The points scored by Jonathan, Ivan and Kevin were big for, because at this point in the meet, we were tied with Trinity 95-95!
  • The best race of the day was the boys 200 Free relay, where Connor Cook, Daniel Koehr, David Basinger and Jameson Hill took first overall in a very close race with Woodberry Forest.  They beat Trinity by more than 11 seconds!  The entire race with Woodberry was very close and the splits were very fast, particularly Daniel Koehr’s, whose split was .55 seconds faster than his 50 Free PR.  In spite of the strong swims, Jameson Hill entered the water 1.08 seconds behind, anxious to avenge his loss in 100 Fly.  At first, I didn’t think it would be possible to catch the Woodberry Swimmer (who ended up splitting a very fast 22.23).  How do you gain a full second on a swimmer going :22 low?  Well, I’ll tell you how – you go :20.97!  That was easily the fastest relay split in Seton history.
  • Now Seton was actually ahead of Trinity for the first time in the meet, by 2 points, 105-103.
  • In backstroke, freshman Catfish Dunn was awesome.  He swam a 1:00.06 – his fastest time ever.  His sister Jessica’s team record is 1:00.04, so he is getting very close.  He’s going to have to break 1:00 to score at States, but I have no doubt that he can do it when it counts.  As good as that swim was, Trinity had backstroke loaded and got first and 2nd with two kids that should final at States.  Brendan Koehr, Christian Vestermark and John Ross delivered a 5th, 6th and 7th, but Trinity was just too strong in this event overall.
  • Trinity pulled ahead by 5 points, 121-116.
  • 100 Breaststroke was also a strong event for Trinity.  Daniel Koehr swam a PR and took 2nd place overall.  Unfortunately, the first place swimmer came from Trinity, not Woodberry.  The event could have been much worse for use except Jonathan Rosato swam a 1.39 second PR to beat a previously faster Trinity swimmer and jump from 4th to 3rd.  Andrew Minarik was also able to outtouch a Trinity swimmer to take 6th instead of 7th.
  • In spite of those 3 really good swims, we were now down by 8 points going into the last relay – but we also had diving!
  • Our record setting 400 Free relay beat Trinity’s “A” relay by almost 40 seconds (not a typo) – like us, Trinity also had to pick two relays to stack, so it was clear that this one was not one of them.
  • So we ended the swimming events down 6 points, 145-139.  But two of our top swimmers, David Basinger and Patrick Kenna had only swum one individual event – we planned to use their other event in diving.  Had they swum instead, we certainly would have gained 6 more points (really we only needed 3 more points for a 6 point swing), but diving gave them an opportunity to score even more.
  • Coach Duran’s boys diving team of Joey Rubin, Joseph Duran, Patrick Kenna, David Basinger and Michael Manley scored 23 points to secure victory!  I’m hoping to pull off the same trick at States, where almost no Division II team even has diving – it will be like a free event for us.Congratulations to our boy’s team.  Beating a Division I team like Trinity Episcopal is quite an accomplishment.

Our Girls Continue to Swim Well

I was very pleased with the way the girls swam on Saturday.  There was no shame in not beating Trinity’s girl’s team.  From what I saw, Trinity Episcopal should be able to give St. Catherine’s a run for their money for the Girl’s Division I State Championship – the Trinity girls are very strong.  Some of the scoring highlights from their meets:

  • Alex Doonis had a great meet.  She cut 1.46 seconds in her 200 Free PR in a 2nd place overall finish behind a potential State finalist from Trinity.  Her 2:05.18 is very quick for anyone, especially a freshman.  In the same event, 8th grader Keeley Cook also swam a PR to take 5th place overall, and Leslie Zapiain dropped 20.43 seconds from her previous best to score in 7th place overall.
  • Bridget Wunderly had the pleasure of taking 2nd overall in the 200 IM to a All-State 100 IMer from Trinity.  She did a personal best of 2:28.43.  Carolyn Claybrooks got 4th overall with Rachel Lambrecht and Danielle Smith taking 6th and 7th.
  • Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe took the best Trinity had to offer and beat it, taking 1st place overall in 50 Free with a PR time of :25.76.  The Machine has a decent shot at a top-8 finish in the 50 at States if she continues to keep her head and fingertips down during her sprints.  Laura Talbott also showed that she can swim with the big girls, taking 4th place overall in this event.  (Thank you Mrs. Dial for adjusting your Chemistry review to allow her to swim!)
  • Sophomore Bridget Wunderly is now swimming time in 100 Fly comparable to last year’s butterfly star Lea Mazzoccoli.  In 100 Fly, Bridget took 2nd overall behind a future top-8 State finisher from Trinity.  With the times Bridget is now swimming, I think she can finish in the top-16 at States.  Danielle SmithAlex Cummings and Leslie Zapiain also scored, finishing 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.  Leslie scored because she swam her 2nd PR of the day, improving by 1.65 seconds!
  • The Machine has been struggling to overcome some shoulder problems, but that didn’t stop her from giving a great race to one of Trinity top female swimmers in the 100 Free.  She took 2nd overall, with Carolyn Claybrooks not far behind to take 3rd overall.  There seems to be no end to the number of events in which Carolyn can score.
  • In the 500 Free, Mary Kate Kenna and Keeley Cook scored in 3rd and 5th place overall.  Keeley cut 3.84 seconds from her PR in the effort.
  • Our girls 200 Free Relay of Alex Doonis, Carolyn Claybrooks, Laura Talbott and Lauren Donohoe just rocked, taking 1st place overall against Trinity and everyone else.  Our “B” 200 Free relay of Mary Kate Kenna, Kelsey Kleb, Cat Rogers and Bridget Wunderlyalso scored well taking 3rd place overall.  When you take 1st and 3rd overall, you win the event 13-5.  If you only get first, you win 10-8.  That “B” relay taking 3rd place makes a big difference.
  • One of last year’s state finalist in 100 Backstroke now knows that she is going to finish behind Alex Doonis in February.  Alex took first place overall, beating this Trinity swimmer in a very close race (.13 seconds).  Alex had a top 8 finish last year, and she’s looking to do even better this year – especially if she keeps rolling her hips and shoulders the way she did during that race.  Laura Talbott also showed the potential to score at States with her 3rd place overall finish in this very fast heat with her best time of the season.  And wasn’t it great to see Kristin Rafter cut 1.17 seconds from her 100 Back to score in 7th place.
  • 100 Breaststroke was a good event for our girls.  Mary Kate Kenna, Cat Rogers and Rachel Lambrecht took 2nd, 3rd and 4th behind an All-State breaststroker from last year’s state meet.  Cat Rogers was particularly impressive – incredibly, she cut 3.28 seconds from her previous PR.  Her old time would have placed 6th, a difference of 3 points from 3rd place.  Her body dolphin was outstanding which is a big part of the reason why I think she’s now going so fast.
  • In the girls 400 Free Relay, Sarah Zapiain jumped in at the last minute to replace The Machine at the anchor leg.  Her split was nearly a half second faster than her PR.  Nice work Sarah.
  • Ann Duran, Cat Rogers and Lizzie Rogers scored in diving with a 3rd, 4th and 5th.  Both Cat and Lizzie scored more points than they ever have before.  I learning to like the extra points we are getting with Coach Duran’s new Dive Team.While we didn’t beat Trinity, I suspect that very few teams in State can.  We were very competitive with them, and we should be very pleased with that.

Lots for First Timers

One of my biggest joys coaching is to watch swimmers do things that they previously thought were impossible.  For new swimmers, the 500 Free, the 200 IM and the 100 Fly can be very daunting, but the following people raced in those events for the first time on Saturday:

  • Thomas Kosten, 200 IM
  • David Lambrecht, 200 IM
  • Julia Irving, 200 IM and 100 Fly!
  • Judith Cummings, 200 IM
  • Kevin Bliss, 500 Free (and he scored!)
  • Joseph Kenna, 500 Free
  • Connor Kleb, 500 Free (his brother Rocky swam the 200 IM and 500 Free for the first time earlier this season)
  • James Mosimann, 500 Free
  • Jack Corkery, 500 Free
  • Joseph Kosten, 500 Free
  • Michael Hill, 500 Free
  • Bernadette Wunderly, 500 Free
  • Emily Lowell, 500 Free
  • Eileen Heim, 500 Free
  • Monica Mosimann, 500 Free and 100 Fly!
  • Theresa Verry, 500 Free
  • Abbie Purnell, 500 Free
  • Lexy Smith, 500 Free
  • Timmy Murphy, 100 Fly (swam the 500 for the first time last week)
  • Sarah McGurk, 100 Fly
  • Hannah Lowell, 100 Fly 

The scene after the race plays out the same every season when I do this.  Invariably, one of the swimmers comes up to me after the race and says something like this:

  • “That was easy; can I do it again?”, Eileen Heim
  • “It was actually kinda fun”, Theresa VerryWhat changed?  It was the realization that we can all do so much more than we think we can.

In life, there’s always going to be a bunch of people lined up to tell you that you can’t do something.  Don’t jump to the head of that line!  If you spend the rest of your life shying away from challenges but you don’t want to risk failure, you will miss so many opportunities to serve your family, your community and your God.

Many people are unwilling to bet on themselves.  That is why so few people are willing to take the risk to do something like start a business.  Or start a whole new career mid-life (like real estate ;-)).  But it is so much more than things like that – how about:

  • “I can’t coach my kid’s team, I know nothing about soccer” – get out there and learn!
  • “I don’t want to get involved, I can’t help anyway” – get involved!
  • “I’m not ready to have kids” – if you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never have kids!
  • “I could never teach my own kids” – that’s what parents do every day!
  • “I can’t keep this baby; an abortion would be solve everything” – look for the gift! 

Yes, I’ve taken a simple thing like the 500 Free and extrapolated it to some pretty big life issues, but the fear is the same – it’s the fear of failure.  I overheard my father tell my brother once that “no one who was content ever did anything great”.  Take a risk – swim the 500.

They Improve Every Time They Hit the Water

At the suggestion of one of the parents, I started keeping track of who has PR’d in every swim this year.  I would have never believed that I’d still have swimmers to keep track of this late in the season, but here are the six (6) swimmers who have still been able to improve every time they hit the water this season:

  • Kevin Bliss continued his streak with a .11 second PR in 50 Free.  Kevin also swam the 500 for the first time ever.
  • 7th grader Joseph Kosten maintained his streak without actually getting a PR because he challenged the 200 and 500 Free for the first time.  100 Fly next week?
  • 7th graders Emily Lowell and Timmy Murphy kept their streaks alive for the same reason.  Emily swam the 200 and 500 and Timmy swam both the 200 and the 100 Fly.
  • Matthew Verry was watching the Steelers game in Pittsburgh so I’ll have to give him credit because his streak is still alive – and the Steelers won!
  • Sister Theresa Verry kept her streak alive the old fashioned way – she actually swam yet another PR.  She also swam the 500 for the first time.

Even More Personal Records

I’ve already highlighted a number of the PR performances from Saturday, but here are others that I haven’t mentioned yet:

  • I’m not positive of this, but I think that David Lambrecht had the second large time improvement in the history of Seton Swimming when he lowered his 500 free time by 66.01 seconds.  Wow!
  • Keeley Cook not only hit a PR in the 500 Free, she also cut .39 seconds from her 200 Free.
  • Ivan Harangozo showed what can happen when you really concentrate on stroke technique during a meet.  After focusing on “catching up” in his freestyle, getting as long as possible, and pulling all the way through on each stroke, he cut 21.35 seconds from his 500 Free (in just one week!), he cut 3.11 seconds from his 200 Free, and he cut .06 seconds from his 50 Free leading off a 200 Free Relay.
  • Did you see Michael Hill swim breaststroke?  He cut 5.05 seconds after working in practice with Assistant Coach Mary Kate Kenna and Coach Hoffer.  His kick and glide has gotten particularly good.  Man was it fun to watch.
  • Jonathan Jacobeen had a big day of PRs.  He cut 15.25 seconds in 500 Free, 7.64 seconds in 100 Free leading off a 400 Free Relay, and 1.47 seconds in 50 Free.  Those are all very large improvements – must have been the new haircut.
  • Incredibly, 7th grader Joseph Kenna lowered his 50 Free time by nearly a half a second to :27.24.  Some of those things you’re hearing at practice really work – glad to see you give them a try.
  • Rocky Kleb has improved in every individual swim this season except one.  A great example of how hard work in practice can pay off.  On Saturday, he cut an amazing 18.53 seconds from his 200 Free.
  • Thomas Kosten showed tremendous improvement in 100 Breaststroke.  He was already doing pretty well, but somehow he cut another 8.68 seconds.
  • I think Hannah Lowell has found a home in the 500 Free because she keeps asking to swim it and she keeps improving.  On Saturday, she cut another 3.68 seconds.
  • James Mosimann is another young swimmer (8th grade) who is showing real promise for the future.  I was very pleased to see him lower his 50 Free PR by another .16 seconds.
  • Way to go Maggie Murphy.  That 13.25 second PR in the 500 was great!
  • Timmy Murphy just keeps getting faster.  This time, he cut .21 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
  • Abbie Purnell was great in that 500 Free, and she was also great in the 50 when she cut .93 seconds from her PR.  Keep working hard in practice Abbie!
  • Mary Kate Rivenburg had a nice swim in 100 Back – 1.38 seconds faster than her previous best.
  • It wasn’t Lizzie Rogers first try at the 500 Free, but her swim was 8.98 seconds faster than ever before.
  • Jonathan Rosato improved in 100 Breaststroke, and he also improved in 50 Free, lowering his PR by .15 seconds leading off a 200 Free relay.
  • Daniela Sinner made sure she got some time in the pool during her trip to Peru, and it paid off – she cut .26 seconds from her PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.
  • 7th grader Jamie Smith can swim any stroke and any event, and he proved it yet again when he PR’d by .2 seconds in the 200 IM.
  • Christian Vestermark had a great meet after his big PR in 100 Fly.  He also cut 2.21 seconds in 100 Free leading off a 400 Free relay.
  • When I was working up the meet sheet for this past week, I started to notice how fast that Bernadette Wunderly is starting to get.  She got even faster during the meet when she lowered her 50 Free PR by more than half a second.  If you watched the race, it would be easy to conclude that the entire improvement came in the last 10 yards – it was quite a finish.
  • Sarah Zapiain somehow cut 2.43 seconds from her 50 Free PR leading off a 200 Free Relay.

So Many Other Great Swims

Here are a few other great swims that I noticed:

  • Connor Kleb showed us all what you are supposed to do when your goggles fall off at the start of a race – you just keep going as fast as you can!
  •  I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that Cat Rogers only took 2 breaths in the last 25 yards of her 50 Free anchor leg during the medley relay.  The best sprinters breath no more than one time up and two times back during a 50 Free.  I don’t recall telling her that – like so much else that Cat does, I think she just knew to do it naturally.
  • I hope you saw Timmy Murphy in the far lane of 200 Free.  He took it out very fast and held on to win his heat.  That’s right, the 200 is nearly a sprint.
  • I have a fairly vivid memory of 8th grader Steven Shaw’s backstroke leg in the 200 IM.  It looked very strong – so strong that I barely recognized him.  I had to look at the meet sheet to confirm it was him.  The kid is going to be good!
  • Did you know that Julia Irving can swim breaststroke?  I found out watching her swim it during the 200 IM.
  • Theresa Verry and Abbie Purnell both look much better in the water when they swim freestyle.
  • Few people get as excited after a great swim as Christian Vestermark.  It’s always fun to watch him do well.
  • In the category of great starts, how about Jameson HillConnor Cook and Lauren Donohoe?
  • In the category of great underwaters, how about Alex Doonis and Bridget Wunderly?
  • It was great to see Whitney Hood back in the water – welcome back Whit.
  • Nice backstroke start Brendan Koehr!  You look a bit like an older brother of yours.
  • Sarah McGurk was feeling a little sick to her stomach before 100 Backstroke, but she swam anyway and nearly had a PR.  Way to tough it out Sarah.
  • Joseph Scheetz is going to lick that 100 Breaststroke yet.

Planning for the Rest of the Year

Next week is our last regular season meet of the year.  It will be hosted by Fredericksburg Academy at Regency Park, east of Fredericksburg.  Everyone will swim.  As soon as I get a meet announcement, I will post in on the web site.

On January 24th, we’ll have the last meet of the year for JV swimmers.  During the championship season, I will be limited to 4 entries per event, and I will no longer be allowed to have exhibition entries.  I will do my best to make it clear who is swimming beyond the JV meet as soon as I can.

For the varsity swimmers, do your best to manage your time during mid-terms so that you can make it to practice.  The hard work we are doing now will pay off during the championship season.  See you at practice.

Coach Koehr

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