On Saturday, January 9th, we visit St. Michael the Archangel with 303 swimmers from 12 different schools, and a lot of good things came from it for Seton.
Our Girls have now seen every team in the conference, so it is clear that we are virtually assured of our 22nd straight conference championship. And our Boys, who still have to beat FCS on January 23rd, faired extremely well, beating all nine teams that they faced, including Bishop Ireton. Well done boys!
We’ve had many years of success, but this year, we are getting it in a way that we never have before. The formula over years past has been a core group of All-America or All-State swimmers who lead very powerful relays backed up by a whole lot of rapidly improving swimmers whose depth became too much for our opponents. This year, we really only have one superstar girl and no boys who have even qualified for States yet – but we are still winning. How is that possible?
The answer is the depth that comes from large numbers of rapidly improving kids. On the boys side, we now have an incredible 30 boys who can swim 50 free in less than 30 seconds, 17 boys who can do it in less than 28 seconds – but only three boys who can do it in less than 25 seconds. At the beginning of the season, those numbers were 21, 10 and 1. That growth in competitive swimmers equals the total number of competitive swimmers on most of the teams in the DAC!
On the girls side, the formula is closer to years past where we have a core group of strong female swimmers who can form relays capable of making the State finals, but we really don’t have many individual state finalist – so again, we are doing it with depth. As you read the rest of my update, the most striking thing you’ll see is the number of younger girls who are starting to swim fast. The future of Seton Swimming is indeed very bright!
The improvement in our Boys team has been very exciting to me, and we are starting to see the results on the scoreboard. The Boys swam against nine (9) teams on Saturday, and won against them all – including Division 1 school and defending NoVa Catholic Champion, Bishop Ireton. And we did this without a single swimmer fast enough to qualify for National Catholics – so it was a real team effort where our depth is the source of our strength.
And the Girls had a great showing! They came within eight (8) points of beating the defending NoVa Catholic Champion Bishop Ireton, and they tied Division I school St. Gertrude’s from Richmond.
Here’s the way the meet scores turned out for us at Seton:
Seton 164 Bishop Ireton 115
Seton 212.5 St. Michael 69.5
Seton 193 Trinity Christian 60
Seton 202 Highland 59
Seton 220 Christchurch 50
Seton 219 Fredericksburg Academy 48
Seton 219 Wakefield Country Day 33
Seton 219 Benedictine 23
Seton 227 Blessed Sacrament Huguenot 8
Bishop Ireton 143 Seton 135
Seton 142 St. Gertrude’s 142
Seton 219 Fredericksburg Academy 90
Seton 180 Trinity Christian 73
Seton 204 St. Margaret 67
Seton 195 Blessed Sacrament Huguenot 66
Seton 217 St. Michael 55
Seton 202 Highland 40
Seton 212 Wakefield Country Day 39
Seton 220 Christchurch 30
Seton 224 Holy Family Academy 14
Another 61 Personal Records!
St. Michael’s didn’t have the touchpads, so we were not able to reliably get relay splits or claim Personal Records on relay lead-offs – and in spite of that, we still had 61 more PRs!
- Andrew Quinan (SR) was in a league buy himself on Saturday – I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing for most of the meet. We had a number of tremendous performances, but I just have to single Andrew out this time.
Andrew was already one of the fastest boys on the team, but now he is officially THE fastest boy on team. Somehow, Andrew dropped 1.43 seconds in 50 to go 24.56, easily the fastest time swim by a Seton swimmer this year. Then, in 100 Free, he cut 3.27 seconds to go 55.75, again the fastest time swum by a Seton swimmer this year.
Here are the Personal Records, beyond Andrew’s, that struck me as the most dramatic:
- William Arnold (12) continues to get stronger. I was so excited to see his improved underwaters help him get a 1.59 second PR in 100 Fly. I suspect they also had something to do with a huge 11.40 second PR in 200 Free.
- Alex Ceol (SO) is more than just a good butterflier – he can also swim breaststroke. His times are getting very competitive, particularly after his 3.58 second PR in 100 Breast and his .61 second PR in 100 Fly.
- Ben Ceol (SO) is also getting down to some very competitive times. He had a 4.40 second PR in 100 Free and a 2.79 second PR in 100 Back on Saturday. Those are some pretty big drops.
- Drew Dalrymple (8) is starting to break through now. After a 5.07 second PR in 100 Free, Drew is now down to 1:04 – not a bad time at all for an 8th
- Ruthie Hartung (SO) seems to have learned a lot about Breaststroke from Coach Pechie and Coach Dalrymple. She listens very well in practice and tries very hard – the result? A 23.06 second PR in 100 Breaststroke
- Patrick Hassan (SR) was an animal on Saturday. How did he cut 13.01 seconds in 100 Free and 2.29 seconds in 50 Free? Inconceivable!
- Jeremy Kleb (8) was a beast in 100 Free, lowering his PR by a whopping 8.14 seconds. He’s now almost down to 1:10, which is not a bad time for an 8th grader in the DAC.
- Grant Mantooth (JR) has made his mark on the team in his first season with us. His 100 Free was just super – a 2.81 second PR resulting in a 58.74 – his first time under 1:00. And in the 50 Free, he cut another .24 seconds to break :25 for the first time. I can’t wait to see what he can do when he waits until after the race to breath 😉
- Kathleen O’Malley (8) had a great day with her 10.25 second PR in 100 Back and her 4.23 second PR in 100 Free. Whatever you had for breakfast Kathleen, let’s have it again!
- Martin Quinan (SO) was just super this past weekend with a 14.28 second PR in 200 IM and a 2.22 second PR in 100 Free. He may have also earned his way on the “A” medley relay – it is such a bummer there was no way to get accurate splits at St. Michael’s. He should get his chance on Saturday though.
- Brendan Santschi (SO) had a really great swim in the 200 IM, lowering his PR by a huge 10.79 seconds.
- Jack Santschi (7) was amazing! Somehow he dropped 9.73 seconds in 100 Free to go 1:03.77 – very fast for a 7th He also dropped .67 seconds in 50 Free to go 27.82 – again a very fast time for a 7th grader. Can you say USA Swimming?
- Leo Santschi (SR) is a first year swimmer as a senior, and the amount of improvement that he has shown has been astounding. On Saturday, Leo dropped 12.29 seconds in 100 Back and another 4.29 seconds in 100 Free. I’m really proud of you Leo – you are a great example of what hard work can get a person.
Here are the Personal Records that I have not already mentioned that were also very impressive:
- Katie Albin (8) had a great swim in the 200 Free with a 5.07 second PR.
- David Catabui (SO) keeps getting stronger. He cut his 100 Free PR by another 2.16 seconds and his 50 Free PR by another .02
- Jerry Dalrymple (7) cut another .51 seconds from his 50 Free PR. That means he is now going 28.46, a very fast time for a 7th grade boy.
- Ben Dealey (SO) showed some more versatility on Saturday, this time with a great breaststroke swim that lowered his PR by 4.33 seconds.
- Patrick Dealey (SR) had a good meet in two of the more difficult events. I was particularly pleased with his 14.09 second PR in the 500 Free. That PR happened after an earlier .03 second PR in 200 IM.
- Bryanna Farmer (SR) continues to improve, which is not always the case for senior girls. She works really hard at practice, and the results showed on Saturday for sure – how about a 2.46 second PR in 100 Free and a 1.58 second PR in 100 Back?
- Matt Fioramonti (SR) followed along with Patrick, swimming PRs in the same two events. In Matt’s case, he cut 2.90 seconds in the 500 Free and .96 seconds in 200 IM.
- Joe Fioramonti (SO) had a great swim in 100 Backstroke, lowering his PR by .80 seconds.
- David Flook (8) proved that he is a four (4) stroke swimmer who continues to improve in all of them – in spite of his hiatus from USA Swimming. On Saturday, it was breaststroke where he showed some huge improvement – a 1.81 second PR.
- Patrick Hall (SR) had a great swim in 100 Breaststroke, where he was hanging with the leaders for the first 50 yards. In the end, he cut .60 seconds from his lifetime best to swim a time that is pretty competitive in the DAC.
- Rosie Hall (SO) had a very strong swim in 100 Free, lowering her PR by a big 3.59 seconds.
- Virginia Hartung (7) continues to improve in her first year swimming at Seton. I was very pleased to see her cut 3.11 seconds in 50 Free and 2.99 seconds in 100 Free!
- Mary Heim (FR) is going to be a good one for sure. That 5.91 second PR in 200 Free and that .60 second PR in 100 Back scored a lot of points for us on Saturday.
- Julianna Holmes (JR) is making the most of her first season on the team. I was very pleased to her drop another 1.09 seconds in her 50 Free.
- Tom Irving (JR) had a great meet with two PRs. In 100 Free, he cut 1.42 seconds and in 50 Free, he cut .28 seconds.
- Liam Kellogg (7) swam well in 50 Free, cutting .02 seconds from his PR
- Sean Kellogg (SO) did a nice job in 50 Free, lowering his PR by another .40 seconds.
- Seamus Koehr (SO) continues to get stronger. I had a hunch he could do a nice 200 FR, and he Seamus proved me right with a 5.99 second PR. I’d expect a swim like that to score a lot of points for us in DAC Champs.
- Anne Konstanty (8) looked stronger than I’ve ever seen her on Saturday. I wish I had some relay splits on her because, based on her .97 second PR in 50 Free, I bet they were very fast.
- Josh Miller (JR) has become quite a player for Seton this season. His .57 second PR in 100 Breast was good enough for 2nd place overall. He has also shown me that he can be a pretty strong butterflier.
- Tommy Moore (SR) had a nice swim in 50 Free, with a .64 second PR that broke :30 seconds for the first time.
- Meghan O’Malley (SR) had a great meet where she used some new skills underwater to power herself to a .77 second PR in 50 Free and a .08 second PR in 100 Fly.
- Mary Ostrich (FR) had two PRs on Saturday. In 100 Free, she cut 5.10 seconds and in 50 Free, she cut 1.47 seconds. Those were both very nice drops.
- Maria Tozzi (7) does not swim like a 7th grader – rather, she swims with the grace of a much older girl. I was so pleased to see her cut another 1.69 seconds in 100 Back.
- Peter Tozzi (8) also looks older in the water than he is. And on Saturday, he looked 4.17 seconds faster in 100 Breaststroke and 1.78 seconds better in 100 Free.
- Dominic Wittlinger (SO) is a very hard worker in Coach Lowell’s lanes so I was happy to see him rewarded with a 5.17 second PR in 100 Back.
Other Great Performances
Here are some other exciting things I remember or took notes on from the meet:
- Anna Kenna (SO) was easily the highest scoring individual swimmer from Seton. She dominated in 100 Back to take 1st place, and she swam a strong mid-season race in 100 Free to take 2nd place overall. Leading off the medley relay is her specialty of course, and it was quite obvious from the breakout.
- Claire Kenna (SR) scored well with two 4th place finishes overall in 200 IM and 100 Breaststroke. I even like Claire’s backstroke!
- Shane Koehr (8) did a very nice job swimming the 200 IM and the 500 Free for the very first time. His times were very strong for an 8th
- Elizabeth Caron (7) is definitely going to be a good for Seton. Like Shane, her first attempts at 200 IM and 500 Free were very strong.
- Caroline Griffin (8) is scoring like an upperclassman already. I was more than a little pleased with her first attempt at the 500 Free where she went 6:47 – very fast for an 8th grade girl.
- David Flook (8) is another 8th grader scoring like an upperclassman. Coach Lowell and I were blown away by his 6:10 500 Free! And he tells me that, when he was getting more yardage with a USA team, he was even faster than that.
Seton’s 2016 National Catholic Team
Unlike most of our other meets, during the Championship season, we have two big swim meets that require participants to achieve a qualifying time during this season in a non-time trial meet (that’s a change from the past). The National Catholic High School Championship is at Loyola University in Baltimore on January 23-24th, and the State Championship is at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Richmond February 19-20th.
Entries are due this week for National Catholics, so I’m pleased to announce our team for 2016:
- Anna Kenna
- Emily Heim
- Kimberly Rector
- Claire Kenna
I’ll be heading to Baltimore with them the weekend of January 23rd for the meet. But don’t worry, I running back for our meet at Central Park – our boys have some work to do – we have to beat FCS for the conference championship!
So far, those same four (4) girls are the only individual qualifiers for States thus far, but it is fun to note that we have a number of relays that have hit the qualifying times for States:
- Boys 200 Medley Relay – both “A” and “B” Relays
- Girls 200 Medley Relay – both “A” and “B” Relays
- Boys 200 Free Relay – “A” Relay
- Girls 200 Free Relay – “A” Relay
- Boys 400 Free Relay – “A” Relay
- Girls 400 Free Relay – both “A” and “B” Relays
Also Recall: For relays at States, we are I am able to enter an “A” scoring relay and a qualifying “B” exhibition relay. Swimmers are qualified to swim on a relay if they have either qualified in an individual event or swum on the relay when it hit the qualifying time.
At the time that I submit our relay entries, I will enter the fastest qualifying relays that I can, so for now, I won’t even attempt to project who is traveling with us for relays yet.
The biggest opportunities are on the Boys side where our “A” and “B” Relays are virtually the same. Two examples:
- On Saturday, our Boys 200 Free “B” Relay beat our “A” Relay, thanks largely to Andrew Quinan’s incredible lead-off
- Every position on our Boys Medley relay is up for grabs with two boys virtually equal in each of the four (4) strokes.
It’s going to be a lot of fun sorting this out over the next four weeks. Needless to say, I’m closely tracking relay splits and individual times that are being swum this season to make the final determination of who is swimming where at States.
I love seeing good examples of leadership on our team, because the people that change the world are all leaders – yes even Mother Teresa and Mrs. Carroll were and are great leaders. Here are a few examples of what I’m talking about:
- Right before the National Anthem, I was rearranging relays for kids who couldn’t make the meet at the last meet. When I was done, I quickly ran back out on the pool deck to make sure our team was lined up for that National Anthem. Imagine the satisfaction that I felt when I saw our team, all in uniform, lined up in two neat rows across the end of the pool with the swimmers in the first heat of the Boys Medley Relay already behind the blocks. The Captains (Matthew Fioramonti, Patrick Dealey, Tim Costello, Claire Kenna, Meghan O’Malley, Michaela Pennefather and Vivian Zadnik) did a very fine job getting this done.
- If you’ve ever seen our Dryland before practice each morning, you’ll see that we are broken up into six (6) groups, each of which have a leader or leaders. All of the groups are functioning quite nicely, but I’m particularly pleased with the leadership I see in the groups led by Josh Miller and Anna Kenna. In a few weeks, we will be redoing our Dryland tests, and I’d expect the results of their leadership to show in the improvement results
- Earlier this week, Meghan O’Malley asked me for a copy of the psych sheet so she could encourage the swimmers with close races. I really enjoyed seeing Meghan encouraging swimmers, counting their laps in the 500, and straightening out times with the timers when a swimmer swam in the wrong heat – all without me asking.
- I realize that this coming week is mid-terms, but we are still having practice. This is an example of the time management challenge many adults face every day. If you use your time wisely, a good morning swim practice will actually improve your performance during mid-terms.
- Next Saturday is our 6th Annual Northern Virginia Catholic High School Swim Champs at the Freedom Center. The Meet Announcement is posted, but I’ll tell you that rhe meet starts with diving at 1:00 p.m. and our swimmers need to be on deck by 2:19 p.m. ready to stretch.
- I’m amazed that we are still missing events. The order of events in our swim meets has not changed since before I was a high school swimmer, so there should be no surprises. This upsets me very much when a 16 year old boy can’t get to the block at the right time.
- And can we please quit breathing so much during the 50 Free? You can breathe on the ride home.
We’re now getting to the most serious part of our season, so let’s not lose focus – especially you boys! We need to be ready for January 23rd!
See you Monday morning,
Coach Jim Koehr