What a weekend we had with Seton Swimming!  On Saturday morning, we faced off against a group of large public schools in a Relay Carnival, and then, later that evening, we renewed our annual head-to-head contest with North Stafford High School where our girls broke 3 team records!

We started the day at the relay carnival, where, right before our warm-up, I announced our team captains for the season.  Congratulations to:

Girls Captains:  Katie Planchak, Jessica Dunn, and Lea Mazzoccoli

Boys Captains:  Sean Koehr and Nevin Cook

They did a great job in their first two meets leading the team.

At the relay carnival, the girls placed 3rd behind powerful teams from Osbourn Park and Battlefield.   In spite of missing 4 of our top 8 boys, our boys team made a good showing also, placing 4th behind the same two teams plus Woodbridge Senior High School from Fairfax County.

While the relay carnival was a lot of fun, the highlight of the day was our evening meet with North Stafford and Word of Life.  The final scores were very close between Seton and North Stafford with the girls winning a close one and boys losing the same way:


SST      509      NSHS    473

SST      589      WoL        19


SST      473      NSHS  497

SST      589      NSHS     19

With almost 1000 points scored, those margins are incredibly close!

For the girls to win, they had to swim like they never had before.  In fact, Katie Planchak and Jessie Dunn swam like no one at Seton ever has before!

Katie Planchak broke a 5-year old record in 100 Freestyle set by Katie Shipko.  Most of you don’t remember Katie Shipko, but she was probably the best female swimmer we ever had at Seton.  During her Sophomore season, she won State Championships in the both the 200 and 500 Freestyle and was named the Swimmer of the Meet for the State Championship meet.  Katie Planchak’s 55.26 lowered Katie Shipko’s mark by .33 seconds.  Believe it or not, I expect this record to go even lower.  Katie Planchak split a :54.61 at the end of a relay!

For the second week in a row, Jessica Dunn lowered her own team record in 100 backstroke by leading of a 400 Medley Relay at the relay carnival with a 1:02.05.  Her previous best, set last week, was a 1:02.73.  Jessie told me that her goal was to break a minute.  This would be a very, very fast time in girls 100 backstroke.

The third record broken by the Seton girls was in the Girls 400 Free relay.  In a very exciting race against an outstanding North Stafford relay, Jessica Dunn, Lea Mazzoccoli, Alex Doonis and Katie Planchak smashed the previous record by 9.99 seconds!  This is even more amazing when you consider that the previous record of 4:00.88 was set in 2002 by Lauren Dobak, Jennifer Planchak, Meg Seale and Katie Shipko.  Both Meg and Katie went on to swim in college.

The record setting relay was the very last event of the day, could not have been more exciting.  Jessie lead off with a personal record 56.62, but the North Stafford girl was just behind her at 56.88.  Then Lea hit the water and swam a great leg followed by 7th grader Alex Doonis.  Alex split an amazing 58.35 (her standing start PR is 59.09) leaving the anchor to Katie Planchak.  Katie hit the water about a body length behind but immediately starting gaining ground.  Katie and the North Stafford girl hit the 3rd turn even, and it was still anyone’s race at the flags.  Katie had a tremendous finish and quickly looked up at the scoreboard.  A “1” popped up next to Seton’s time – she had out-touched North Stafford by only .09 seconds!  Their final time was a 3:50.89!  Katie’s anchor split was an incredible 54.61 – wow!

After the race, I told the North Stafford coach that I didn’t think anyone had a relay that could touch our girls.  She said that she was thinking exactly the same thing.  Her girls set a team record also.

Of course, a victory like and the great showing at relay carnival takes more than great swims by 4 girls.  We had 52 Personal Records (PRs) for the two meets including:

–          Sean Bartnick continues to improve with 2 PRs in 100 Free (dropping 3.62 seconds!) and in 50 Free

–          Greg Bliss cut a half a second from his previous best 100 Free

–          Carolyn Claybrooks has been working hard on her stroke and the results are showing.  She lowered her 100 Free time by 2.84 seconds, an amazing drop for a USA swimmer mid-season.  Technique is the key!

–          Billy Corkery broke the one minute barrier in 100 Free, lowering his time by .66 seconds

–          Alex Cummings must have been paying attention during out backstroke training this past week.  She cut 12.34 seconds from her 100 backstroke time!

–          Alex Doonis, in addition to several fabulous relay splits, cut 5.82 seconds from her 500 Free and a quarter second from her 200 Free.

–          Joe Duran cut 1.83 seconds from his 100 Free when he swam 34.33 – excellent for a 6th grader!

–          David Harris had a great meet with 2 PRs.  David cut 7.25 seconds from his 200 IM and almost 4 seconds from his 500 Free.  It is great to see such versatility.

–          Keith Hetrick is rapidly improving with 2 PRs also.  He dropped 1.5 seconds in 50 free and over 2 seconds in 100 Free.

–          Guppy Higginbottom lowered his time over 1.5 seconds in the difficult 200 IM

–          Jonah Higginbottom had a hat-trick with 3 PRs in 200 Free, 50 Free and a big one in 100 Breast (almost 3 seconds)

–          Patrick Kenna dropped over 10 seconds in 200 IM

–          Kelsey Kleb shocked this coach by lowering her 500 Free time by over 50 Seconds!  (That not a typo!).  To show her versatility, she also dropped time in the 50 Free

–          Brendan Koehr was listening during our backstroke lessons this week, cutting 6.5 seconds off of his 100 Back

–          Daniel Koehr dropped time in backstroke including a 1.8 second improvement in a 50 yard relay lead-off leg and a .85 second drop in 100 backstroke.  Dan also established a new PR in 100 Freestyle, and he cut over 3 seconds off of his 200 Free.  Not a bad day’s work.

–          “The Laudiero” (Paul) had two big PRs in 100 Free (by 4.6 seconds) and in 50 Free (by 1.25 seconds).  I think he’s getting the hang of this swimming thing.  Must be in his genes 😉

–          Sarah Locke could have a bright future in swimming with continued improvement in 100 Free, this time by .23 seconds.

–          Kimberley Melnyk, one of the hardest workers in our practices, is already past her season ending form from last year with a .6 second improvement in 100 Free.

–          Sam Quinan’s pre-season work with Coach Ross continues to pay dividends.  He had two PRs in 50 Free (by 1.46 secs) and in 100 Breast (by almost 6 seconds!)

–          Cat Rogers cut 1.14 seconds from her 50 Free

–          Liz Rogers followed suite with a 2.37 second improvement in that same event.  (I hope the Rogers girls bring their brother back to a meet. I won’t soon forget his 100 Breast at States several years ago)

–          Joe Ross is showing ability in 100 Fly with a 2.9 improvement.  I’m looking forward to the time we get to butterfly in practice

–          Krista Shaw is emerging as a player on our team with two PRs this week including a 20 second improvement in 500 Free and a 3.3 second drop in 100 Fly

–          Danielle Smith showed that she can swim both back and breast.  She cut 1.65 seconds from her 100 Breast time.

–          Nicki Smith had a tremendous 5.91 second improvement in 50 Free!

–          Laura Talbott again showed why she is one of the top swimmers on our team.  She cut almost a second from her 200 IM time.

–          Matthew Verry did a nice job with a PR in 50 Free

–          Christian Vestermark really wants to get better, and he did this week with 3 PRs.  He cut 14.5 seconds from his 200 Free, 2.5 seconds from his 100 Fly and .23 seconds from his 50 Free.  Get long!

–          Leslie Zapiain improved her 50 back time leading off a backstroke relay in the relay carnival and then repeated the feat again with another PR in the evening.  She also dropped over 21 seconds in 200 IM and over 1 second in 100 Breast.  That’s something to smile about Leslie!

–          Sarah Zapiain really took the backstroke training to heart with a 11.28 second drop in 100 Back.  She also cut more than 2 seconds from 100 Free.

As much as we celebrate Personal Records (PRs), it is impossible to tell the whole story of the weekend without mentioning at least some of the other great performances:

–          Vincent Dunn has a new nickname.  When Coach Mulhern saw Vincent swim his new and improved backstroke on the front end of a medley relay at the carnival, he turned to me and said “smooth as a catfish swimming downstream”.  It’s great to have you on the team, “Catfish”.

–          Peter Duran had a great finish in a medley at Relay carnival, catching the swimmer from Battlefield in the last few strokes

–          Does anyone have better walls than Katie Planchak?  Jessica Dunn is very close.

–          Mary-Kate Kenna had a very nice leg in the 400 medley at relay carnival

–          Sean Koehr set a great example for everyone this meet.  How many people knew he was suffering with a stomach ailment the night before?  He was still feeling sick during both meets, but swam close to his best times in 50 Free and crushed the field in 100 Breast.  With Nevin missing, it was really important that Sean step up, and he did.

–          Nevin Cook better set some of his records very low, because Connor Cook is coming right behind him.   Connor started his Saturday with a 2-hour practice, then he swam 4 events at relay carnival followed by 4 more events against North Stafford.  In the process, he came very close to establishing a PR in 100 Free.  In his 200 IM, the race was never in doubt.  He had the guy put away after the first 50.

–          Thank you to Jonathan Rosato, who stepped up for us in the Relay carnival by swimming at the last minute when a scheduled swimmer had to drop out.

–          Megan Hoffer shows a lot of desire, both in practice and at the meets.  I enjoyed watching her backstroke at the relay carnival – I could tell she was really trying to apply the lessons of the previous week.   She also had a nice hard finish at the end of 50 Free later that evening.

–          Kelsey Kleb started swimming at FAST to prepare for the high school season.  You can really see the extra work pay off.  I was pleased to see her swim backstroke so well in the backstroke relay at the carnival.

–          Patrick Kenna is developing a very nice backstroke.  As an 8th grader, he is a promising part of the future for Seton Swimming.

–          Kimberley Melnyk showed us a great underwater body dolphin on one of the legs of the backstroke relay at relay carnival.

–          Sam Quinan did a nice job anchoring the 4 X 25 Free relay when he didn’t take a breath for the entire 25.  That’s how you do it.

–          Carolyn Claybrooks is really trying to listen to Coach Mulhern in practice and it showed in her freestyle.  Her stroke was as long as I’ve ever seen it, and she has the PRs to prove it.

–          Why didn’t anyone tell me that Laura Talbott could swim backstroke so well!  No wonder her IM is getting so good.

–          When we watch Alex Doonis swim the 200 and 500, we may be watching the next Katie Shipko.  Katie went 1:55.74 in 200 Free and 5:06.98 in 500 Free.  Put those times up in your bedroom Alex.

–          In the 4 X 100 IM relay at carnival, Katie Planchak showed that she is so much more than just the best sprint freestyler in the history of Seton Swimming.  We should all strive to do all four strokes as well as Katie.

–          Jessica Dunn had her hands full against North Stafford, but prevailed both times.  After tying the North Stafford girl in the 50 backstroke lead off leg of the medley relay, we were all prepared for a great race in the individual 100 Back.  Jessie didn’t let it get that exciting, beating the girl by nearly a second.  She also made short work of some excellent competition in the 200 IM.  Jessie is so versatile, she can compete in every single in the meet.

–          With so many male seniors graduating, we’re lucky to have David Harris on the team.  He is willing to swim anything and always gives 100% in the water.  He had a great finish in the 200 IM

–          Joe Ross is back.  He’s almost doing his best times in 50 Free, and it is still the beginning of the season.  He’s also emerging as a butterfly specialist.

–          Christian Kleb started out the season as our team manager, but we talked him into swimming.  It was great to see him push himself outside of his comfort zone to compete.  Christian was as successful as anyone in the pool on Saturday.

–          Did you see 6th grader Joe Duran win his heat by 3 body lengths? (6 body lengths if we are using his body!)

–          Nicki Smith crushed her heat also when she cut 6 seconds from her time.  I think she’ll be in a faster heat in the future!

–          I wanted to apologize to Danielle Smith for mistakenly putting her in a “C” Relay when her time dictated that she should have been in the “B” relay.  My mistake – I won’t let it happen again Danielle.

–          We picked up a few girls from the Cross Country team that weren’t formerly on the team.  It’s great to have Sarah Locke, Rachel Lambrecht and Hannah Lowell on the team.  Cross country is a great way to spend the fall season before swimming.

–          Daniel Wheeler was in lane 8 for the 200 Free relay so I was standing right over him when he swam.  You should have seen the look of determination on his face as he swam the anchor leg.  Great job Daniel!

–          Meghan Morch just ate up her competitor during the 200 Free relay against N. Stafford.

–          Brendan Koehr was rolling very nicely in his backstroke

–          Mary-Kate Kenna is handling the breaststroke duties for Seton swimming quite nicely.  This week she had a tough race versus an excellent N. Stafford swimmer, but Mary-Kate pulled it out on the last 10 yards.

–          David Basinger is going to be a great one.  He had a long day on Saturday with a USA meet in the morning, followed by relay carnival, followed by the North Stafford meet.  In spite of all that, he handled the center lane for us in the 500 Free and showed us all how to do a great relay start in the 400 Free relay

–          Did you all see little Keeley Cook  (5th grade?) step into the 400 Free relay when one of our high school swimmers was stuck sick in bed?  Great job Keeley – if you didn’t jump in, the other three girls would not have been able to swim.

If you are still reading, you may be asking, “why haven’t you said anything about Nevin Cook?”.  Well, there’s an excellent reason.  Nevin qualified to swim in the US Open at Perdue.  Yes, this is like the US Open in golf or tennis or any other sport.  It is the best athletes in the nation, no matter how young or old they are.  Michael Phelps was there.  Nevin is now playing at a level that very few ever attain.  The good news is that we get him back next week for our meet with Woodberry Forest and FCS down at Woodberry Forest.  If you want to see how swimming is supposed to be done, make sure you take the time to watch this very special swimmer.

Of course, Nevin took his father with him to US Open so our other parent volunteers really had to step up.  When North Stafford showed up with a lot of changes to their meet sheet and an authoritarian parent official, I know the challenge got a lot bigger.  Thank you so much to Charles Seltman and Lynn Dunn, among others, who stood in the fire and got the meet off the ground.  I was also pleased to see that Tom Minarik can longer claim novice status as Head Timer.  He did an excellent job of organizing parent timers.  I know his job was made easier by the typical willingness of Seton parents to give their time for the benefit of their children and the school.

Our next meet is at Woodberry Forest School versus Woodberry and FCS.  Since Woodberry is hosting the meet, and they only have 6 lanes, I will not have to luxury of putting everyone in the meet.  I will publish the meet sheet as soon as I can.  Please let me know very soon if you cannot participate.

For those who are participating, please plan to be at Woodberry (1 hour 10 minutes from Seton) at 12:50 so we can stretch at 1:05 and warm-up at 1:20 p.m.  More details soon.

We’ll be working on Free and back turns and finishes this week, so that we can be ready for our first conference opponent next week.  Go to bed early on Sunday so I can see smiles on Monday morning.

Coach Koehr

Click to access the login or register cheese