It was another great weekend for Seton Swimming. This time we competed in the NVSC Conference Championship and took home the following accolades:
- Conference Meet Champions for both boys and girls
- Regular Season Conference Champions for both boys and girls
- Swimmer of the Meet (Conference MVP) for both boys and girls with Nevin Cook and Jessica Dunn
- Gold medals in 19 of the 22 events
- 37 out of 66 top-3 finishes
- 19 All-Conference Swimmers
- Broke 10 conference short-course meter records and kept 8 of them
- Broke 10 Seton short-course meter records
- Coach of the Year
It was a great watching the men and women in black up at the medal ceremonies. I imagine that a lot of folks were getting a little tired of hearing the FA athletic director say the words “…. from Seton School” as he was announcing the medal winners. He actually developed a little cadence as he said it. Folks from the other teams definitely got excited when we lost the few races that we did. It reminds us that the rest of the conference is always gunning for Seton, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon. With the number of seniors that we have graduating this year, we’re really going to have to keep working hard to stay on top.
It was also a time to honor young Michael J. Pennefather who died last week. The whole team swam with MJP written on their shoulders. May we all live as courageously as this young man.
- Nevin Cook was named Swimmer of the Meet for the boys. I thought it would be more interesting for Nevin to be a sprint freestyler for the evening rather than his top events of 200 IM and 100 Breast. Naturally, he earned the gold medals in both events handily and set two new conference and two team short-course meter records in the process. In the 50, he took Ray Bennett’s (Lucy’s brother) conference record from 2003 by 1.05 seconds and Ray’s team record by .81 seconds. In the 100, he took an 8 year old conference record from an Emmanuel Christian swimmer by .96 seconds and a 5 year old team record by 2.15 seconds – again Ray Bennett’s. Nevin also lead off our 200 and 400 Free relays, winning gold medals in both and helping to set the conference record in the 200 Free relay by nearly 3 seconds.
- Jessica Dunn was named the Swimmer of the Meet for the girls. Like Nevin, I had Jessie swimming sprint freestyle rather than her top events of 200 IM and 100 Backstroke. Jessie was totally dominate leading off the gold medal, record setting 200 Medley and 400 Free relays. Jessie also got a conference record, a team record, and a gold medal in the 100 Free. That team record was held by Katie Shipko, who set it way back in 2001. Jessie swam the 100 against FCS’ Keri Jones who is the top sprinter in the conference. If you don’t think turns make a difference, then you didn’t see this race. Jessie’s weakest event is the 50 Free where she again faced off against the conference record holder Keri Jones. Even though Jessie got the silver medal, she broke the conference record in that event also. All of the other coaches and I knew that, had I entered Jessie in any of the other 6 individual events, her victories would have been totally dominating in any of them. Overall, breaking 4 conference records (holding 3 of them), breaking one team record, and winning 3 golds and a silver was not a bad evening’s work for Seton’s top female swimmer. Jessie clearly deserved this honor as the top female swimmer in our conference.
Other Conference Record Breakers
- On Saturday night, our girls relays were absolutely dominate. We won both the gold and silver medals in both the 200 Medley and 200 Free relays. We only won gold in the 400 Free relay, but that was because we only had one relay entered. In other words, not even our “B” relays lost to a conference opponent! All three “A” relays smashed the conference records:
o Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Jessica Dunn, Mary-Kate Kenna, Lea Mazzoccoli and Meghan Morch smashed the old 2004 record set by Seton’s Jennifer Planchak, Melissa Dunn, Caitlin Harris and Meg Seale back in 2004, which was the last time Seton swam a conference championship in a meter pool. This relay won by 2/3rds a length of the pool with their closest competition being Seton’s B relay of Bridget Wunderly, Laura Talbott, Kimberley Melnyk and Sarah Locke. Our “B” relay beat the 3rd place relay from FA by nearly 6 seconds. Our “A” relay also broke the 2004 team record set by the same 4 Seton girls who held the conference record.
o Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Meghan Morch, Alex Doonis, Laura Talbott, and Lea Mazzoccoli beat the old conference record set in 2004 by Seton’s Melissa Dunn, Kimberley Melnyk, Jessica Dunn and Meg Seale. Once again, the Seton “A” relay’s closest competitor was the Seton “B” relay of Mary-Kate Kenna, Carolyn Claybrooks, Sarah Locke and Danielle Smith. Coming to the anchor leg, the race between our “B” relay and FA’s “A” relay still seemed in doubt until Danielle Smith put FA away for good with a great turn.
o Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Jessica Dunn, Carolyn Claybrooks, Alex Doonis, and Kimberley Melnyk completed the hat trick of girls relay records, again set in 2004 for by Seton’s Jessica Dunn, Kimberley Melnyk, Katie Planchak and Meg Seale. Our girls beat the record by nearly 6 seconds, and they beat the silver medal team from Fredericksburg Academy by nearly 20 seconds! Jessica Dunn was totally dominate on the lead-off leg – the race was over when she broke-out off of her start. This relay also broke the team record set earlier this year by Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe, Laura Talbott, Kimberley Melnyk and Meghan Morch.
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Nevin Cook, Connor Cook, Daniel Koehr and Sean Koehr broke the 2004 record of Seton’s Ray Bennett, Casey Rafter, Bryan Morch and Kevin Koehr by nearly 3 seconds. They ultimately won the gold by a half a length of the pool, which is quite a margin in only a 200 meter race. This relay also broke the team record, also set in 2004 by the same four swimmers.
- Mary-Kate Kenna cut nearly 8 seconds from her previous best 400 m Freestyle time to take the gold medal. In the process, she crushed the conference record and broke 6:00 (converting her time to yards) in 500 Free for the 1st time ever. Mary-Kate won a total of 4 gold medals including a great win in 100 Breaststroke, as the breaststroker in the record-setting medley relay, and as the lead-off sprinter in the 200 Free relay. Congratulations Mary-Kate!
- David Basinger had a great swim in the 500 Free when he broke the conference record by nearly 10 seconds – his stroke has really improved in only the last few weeks. Unfortunately for David, an upperclassman from FA broke the record by 18 seconds, so David claimed the silver. Believe it or not, David actually lapped everyone in the field except for other two medalists. David also took the bronze in 200 Free.
Swimmers that finish in the top-3 at the conference championship are designated as “All-Conference”. We a total of 19 swimmers earn this recognition. Swimmers earning All-Conference honors besides Nevin Cook, Jessica Dunn, Mary-Kate Kenna and David Basinger were:
- Connor Cook was dominate every time each touched the water. Connor won 4 gold medals including dominating wins in 100 Back and 100 Fly as well as gold medals in the 200 and 400 Free relays. Connor’s 100 Fly was fast enough to knock Bryan Morch off the short-course meters record board by over 2.5 seconds!
- Eighth grader Alex Doonis won 4 gold medals in 200 Free, 100 Back, as well as the record setting 200 and 400 Free relays. Alex’s 100 Backstroke time beat Jennifer Planchak’s short-course meters team record, set in 2003, by a half a second.
- Daniel Koehr won 3 gold medals and a silver. Dan earn gold medals in the 200 IM, 100 Breaststroke, and the record setting 200 Free relay. Dan’s silver came when FA just outtouched our 200 Medley relay right at the end. Dan’s breaststroke leg in that really was dominate and almost made the difference.
- Lea Mazzoccoli had her moment to shine with 3 golds and a bronze. Lea dominated the 100 Fly, winning the gold by nearly 4 seconds. That swim was good enough to beat Katie Shipko’s 2002 team record in the event. Lea also took the bronze in 100 Breaststroke and two golds in the 200 Medley and 200 Free relays.
- Laura Talbott had a great meet with two golds, two silvers. Laura won the 200 IM with a great swim against Quantico’s top swimmer. Laura took the silver behind Alex Doonis in a close 100 backstroke race. She also had another gold in the record-setting 200 Free relay and a silver in the 200 Free relay.
- Catfish Dunn, also only an 8th grader, took the gold in 200 Free, the silver in the boys 200 Medley relay and the bronze in 100 Back. His 200 Free was a particularly good race. Catfish cut 1.79 seconds from his PR and beat a much older and much larger swimmer from FA. He led the race wire-to-wire – it was a really great swim!
- Sean Koehr took a pair of gold medals in the record setting 200 free relay and the 400 Free relay, plus a bronze in the 100 Free and 4th in 50 Free. He had the misfortune of having his coach put him the same races as Nevin 😉
- Bridget Wunderly has really been swimming well over the past couple of weeks. On Saturday, she locked down a pair of silvers and a bronze. The silver medals came in the 200 IM and the 200 Medley relay. Her bronze came in the 400m freestyle.
- Carolyn Claybrooks took the silver medal in 100 Fly, improving her PR by another .14 seconds. If Carolyn would have only swum her PR, she would have finished 4th. Instead, she tied for 2nd! Carolyn was also part of the gold medal winning Girls 400 Free relay.
- David Harris jumped into the ranks of All-Conference with a bronze medal finish in the 200 IM. David also took 5th in 100 Fly.
- Kimberley Melnyk earned all-conference honors with a silver in the 400 Free with a PR swim. Kim also took a gold medal in the 400 Free relay and a silver in the 200 Medley relay.
- Meghan Morch took the bronze in a very fast heat of girls 50 Free behind two swimmers that broke the conference record. She also took two relay gold medals in the record setting 200 Medley and 200 Free relays. Finally, she got 4th in 100 Free
- Sam Quinan broke into the ranks of All-Conference with a bronze medal in 100 Breaststroke where he out-touched 4th place Joe Ross by only .04 seconds. Even though Sam got the bronze in Breaststroke, I don’t think that was his best swim of the night. Sam’s best swim came in the 400m Free when he cut almost 16 seconds from his PR to take 5th. It was the best I’ve ever seen him swim. Great job Sam!
- I was so happy to see Danielle Smith earn all-conference honors with her bronze medal in the 200 Free. Danielle also got a bronze medal in the 200 Free relay and 6th in 100 Back.
- Sean Bartnick took two silvers anchoring the Boys 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free Relay.
- Our Boys 400 Free relay of Nevin Cook, Connor Cook, Sean Koehr and Sean Bartnick broke the 2002 team record for short-course meters set by Patrick Rooney, Bryan Morch, Casey Rafter and Ryan Sweeney by more than 11 seconds. In the category of lost opportunities, this relay missed the conference record held by FA by only .12 seconds. With Nevin and Sean graduating, it might be awhile for us to have such a good opportunity again. To his credit, Nevin actually broke the conference 100 Free record leading off, but looking at the splits, any one of the 4 members of this relay could have made the difference here. It was not the ending I had hoped for when I loaded this relay up at the expense of our 200 Medley.
- On a happier note, we absolutely dominated in several events:
o The girls 500 Free was the most dominate I’ve ever see Seton in a swimming event. With Mary-Kate Kenna in the center and Kimberley Melnyk and Bridget Wunderly on either side, they looked like the Blue Angels in a trademark delta formation just cruising away from the rest of the field. They were so dominate, that 4th place finished 20 seconds behind them! No only was their pace better than the competition, but their stroke technique was clearly superior.
o The girls 200 IM was another event with a similar outcome. Laura Talbott, Bridget Wunderly, Kimberley Melnyk and Carolyn Claybrooks finished 1, 2, 3 and 4 scoring 50 of our team’s 435 points in this single event.
o In the Boys 100 Breaststroke, Daniel Koehr, Sam Quinan and Joe Ross took 1st, 3rd and 4th in the conference. We dominated that event, even without Nevin.
o In the Girls 100 Backstroke, Alex Doonis, Laura Talbott and Sarah Locke got 1st, 2nd and 4th.
- Christian Vestermark must have a thing about swimming 100 Backstroke in the FA pool. For the second time in a row, he swam a big PR there, this time while he was feeling so sick that we almost declared a false start for him!
- A couple of indications that Seton Swimming is having an impact on how our new conference operates is that FA now hires (and pays) professional Meet Manager Software operators to run their meets, and that, for Saturday’s meet, they rented a Colorado Timing System. As we continue to raise the bar for ourselves, it goes up for others too.
- Thanks to Betsy Mooney who, as always, was a big help. The referee at FA was a bit of a stickler for the rules (did I say that nicely?), and he wanted us to provide three extra backup timers and documentation to record something as simple as an official lead-off split, even though FA had the Colorado Timing System in place. Not being in the proper frame of mind to handle this extra, bureaucratic, non-value-added, wholly unnecessary task, I asked Betsy to handle this 45 year old adult man on my behalf. She did a super job, even rounding up the necessary parents to serve as backup timers. Thanks to Betsy’s work with this referee, Nevin’s lead-off split on the 400 Free relay counted as the official conference 100 Free record. Nice work Betsy – you definitely handled that one better than I would have. (Sometimes a man’s got to know his limitations I guess.)
Well there is just one meet left – the VSIS State Championship at Freedom this weekend. Seton School is the host for the meet, and we are expecting around 600 swimmers. Once again, we’ll be calling on Mr. Cook to do extraordinary things to help pull this off. This will also be a great opportunity for us to make some serious money on concessions, which is the only revenue from this event that the host team is allowed to keep. I hope you have all seen the message I forwarded you from Mrs. Mazzoccoli. This will be an “all hands” evolution where every family on the team will be asked to contribute food, time or both. Please make sure that you have sent Mrs. Mazzoccoli an e-mail confirming that you are on board with your assignments. If you think you have a bad deal, just look at how many times Mrs. Mazzoccoli put Mr. Mazzoccoli on the schedule!
Tomorrow morning is our last practice in the water. On Thursday, practice for the State team is at IHOP at Manassas Mall starting at 6:59 sharp 😉 Then we have a warm-up scheduled Thursday night at 6:00 p.m. The actual State Meet is Friday and Saturday, with Preliminaries in the morning and Finals in the evenings starting around 6:00 pm. I hope to see lots of you there, especially in the evenings. It will be a great meet with lots of fast swimming and hopefully an individual State Championship for Nevin, a team State Championship for our girls, and many great swims for all the Seton swimmers that qualified!