As Charles Dickens once said, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.

Our girls totally dominated, as they have been for going on 20 years now.  Believe it or not, since our first season in 1995, our girls have never lost a DAC conference meet, and it doesn’t appear like that streak is in any jeopardy for at least the next several years.  On Saturday, our closest competitor was FCS and our point total was triple theirs.  We won outright 8 of the 11 events, including all of the relays, and we took 2nd in 9 of the 11 events.  In the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free, our “B” relay beat everyone else’s A relay, and we even took all four (4) of the top places in 100 Breaststroke.

I hope our girl’s team didn’t feel too neglected this weekend as I focused on the boys meet against FCS.  Girls, your time is this coming week at NoVa Catholics.  It will be a great chance for us to see how we stand up against the big girls.  I suspect we are going to stack up pretty well!

On the boy’s side, after losing to FCS in December, we had to win on Saturday to have any chance of saving our conference victory streak.  In spite of some heroic efforts from kids who were sick and others who literally had broken bones, it was just not to be.  With two losses to the FCS boys, they have almost certainly locked up their first conference championship in swimming ever.  They really swam well – their victory was no fluke.  And ending the Seton boy’s 17-year conference championship streak is no small accomplishment.  Congratulations to the Eagles!

Here’s how the final scores looked:


Seton                             225          Wakefield                 28

Seton                            211          St. Michael                53

Seton                             206          FCS                          66


Seton                             199          Wakefield                 64

Seton                             192          St. Michael                76

FCS                               160          Seton                       126

The Meet – Event by Event

I think I’ll try something a little different this week and let you relive my experience by following the meet the same way I did, event by event.

Prior to the meet, I scored the meet assuming that it finished exactly as the psych sheet predicted, so I knew that we were supposed to lose by 10 points – almost nothing in a swim meet.  Anything could have happened.  Here’s what actually did happen (For Coach Lowell and those of his ilk, you can find my analysis spreadsheet under Meet & Team Information.):

200 Medley Relay

  • Boys
    • If we had any hope of winning, I knew we needed to get at least 2nd and 3rd in all of the relays. Relays are scored 10, 5 and 3 for 1st through 3rd place, so if FCS got 1st and 3rd, we’d lose 13 to 5 instead of only 10-8.
    • FCS got 1st and 3rd, out-touching our 2nd medley by only .17 seconds. You have to hand it to FCS anchor swimming Brandon Chang for a great anchor leg.
    • This one was my fault though. I had to hand in the relay card and we were missing a swimmer stuck in traffic on 95 – traffic that I should have predicted when I set the team arrival time.  To follow the rules precisely (which I wanted to do given the stakes), I knew that once I submitted my relay card, it would be final.  I decided not to risk having to DQ the relay so I put in a substitute.  I also lined up the relay with a swimmer who had a cracked wrist and a swimmer who was sick.  Any one different decision from me would have made the .17 second difference.
    • On our relay that got 2nd, Patrick Koehr (with a shoulder injury), Patrick Pennefather (with a not-quite-fully-recovered broken hand), Tommy Flook and Mark O’Donohue beat the time I predicted for them by more than 2 seconds. Patrick and Patrick looked particularly strong.
    • So we were now down 13-5. I had projected 10-8.  So this was a 6 point swing against us.
  • Girls
    • Our Girls “A” Medley of Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna won by 15 seconds
    • Our Girls “B” Medley of Dani Flook, Jillian Ceol, Geni Lucas and Sally Marrazzo took 2nd place overall by more than 5 seconds.
    • Both relays swam well below the State meet qualifying time

200 Freestyle

  • Boys
    • I projected us to lose this event 17-12, but we only lost 16-13 thanks mainly to Joe and James Kosten
    • Joe Kosten took 2nd with his best time by far this season, and James Kosten scored 4 points instead of the 2 I had projected with a 7.67 second PR!
    • In spite of his time, I was very pleased with Alex Ceol’s swim. He has been seriously sick all week, but came out to give his best effort for the good of the team – and he scored 3 points for us in this event.
    • The first place finisher in this event was FCS swimmer Ryland Leupold who was not at our December meet. Before I saw the psych sheet, I definitely was not counting on FCS coming up with another top swimmer!  And we’re going to see Ryland for a while – it looks like he’s only in 8th
    • So we were now down 29-18. I had projected 27-20.
  • Girls
    • Our Girls took 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th overall with Kimberly Rector, Anna Kenna, Ashley Cackett (who was feeling sick) and Vivian Zadnik, respectively.
    • Kimberly Rector’s time is starting to get really competitive at even the State level after she cut 3.70 seconds from her PR. That’s a lot for a swimmer at her level!
    • For Anna Kenna, that was a 2.42 second PR!
    • Against FCS for instance, that means we won this event 21-7

200 IM

  • Boys
    • We just found out that Brian Koehr has a slightly cracked bone in his wrist for a post-Christmas snow-boarding crash (too many of his father’s genes I guess), but he still took the 2nd place he was supposed to get behind FCS’s top swimmer David Turbyfill.
    • Paul Pechie was a real over-achiever for us here with a 1.61 second PR to beat FCS’s 2nd best swimmer by a half a second and take 5 points for us instead of the 4 I had projected.
    • Brendan Santschi also had a great swim in his first-ever attempt at this difficult event
    • So we were now down 45-31. I had projected 43-33.
  • Girls
    • Once again, our girls took 1st, 2nd, 4th and 5th overall with Claire Kenna, Meghan O’Malley, Geni Lucas and Cat Pechie, respectively.
    • Cat Pechie had an amazing swim – she had a 25.30 second personal record! And she wasn’t done as you will see later.

50 Free

  • Boys
    • Joe Kosten was awesome here, taking first place with a PR time of 24.81. Joe previously was a USA swimmer, but this year he is just swimming with Seton, so it is quite an accomplishment for him to be swimming faster than last year.  He is a great example of what I’m looking for in a team captain.
    • Cris Salas was on his very 1st day back from a broken collar bone and still managed to lower his 50 Free PR by .97 seconds. How did you do that Cris!  That is encouraging for your prospects the rest of this season.
    • Patrick Koehr (shoulder injury) and Joe Irving also swam extremely well, hitting times just off of their lifetime bests, in spite of very limited time in the water.
    • Here’s where I had hoped to gain some ground, but Jack Rutherford and Brandon Chang of FCS both over-achieved, especially their senior captain Rutherford who dropped nearly 2 seconds.
    • I had hoped to win the event 18-11, but we only won 15-14
    • So we were now down 59-46. I had projected 54-51.  We were still suffering from my decisions on that first relay.
  • Girls
    • We swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd overall with Alex Sinner, Dani Flook, and Jillian Ceol
    • Bryanna Farmer was out with a broken collar bone suffered the night before snow tubing – I understand that she will be OK, but a few prayers directed her way would be nice. She’s been working very hard this season, and I’m sure she’s bummed not to be able to take advantage of the great improvement she’s made in the water so far this year.
    • In my distraction with the boys, I forgot to make another swimmer official. That swimmer would have been Madeline Snider who dropped an unbelievable 3.69 seconds to go 29.50.  That would have scored as 4th place overall and we would have gotten all 4 of the top places with her.  Sorry Madeline!   I know you really beat every other team’s top swimmer in this event.

100 Butterfly

  • Boys
    • Tommy Flook was simply awesome here, swimming a 1:04.60 or 2.42 seconds faster than his previous PR. That kick really makes a difference!   Tommy took 2nd behind FCS’s top swimmer David Turbyfill who went 58.90
    • Andrew Bishop had what may have been the race of the meet. Right before the race, we talked about keeping his arms straight and his hands light, especially when he got tired.  Well he got tired on that last length, but he kept his form.  Ahead of him by nearly a body length was an FCS swimmer who was also tired and starting to swim 2-arm freestyle – I knew it was going to break him down.  Andrew cruised past him and beat him by nearly 3 seconds.
    • Matthew Fioramonti dropped 13.31 seconds in an amazing swim that was really just a continuation of the improvement trend he has shown all season. He would have actually scored had FCS swimmer George Tryfiates not had such a big improvement also.
    • Alex Ceol had a heroic swim in this event I thought. He was sick as a dog but still came in only a second off his PR – he scored 4 points for us with that swim
    • I planned to lose the event 17-12, but we only lost it 16-13
    • So we were now down 75-59. I had projected 71-63.  We were gaining ground, but still not enough to make up for my poor decisions on that first relay.
  • Girls
    • Overall, Kimberly Rector took 2nd and Emily Heim, Sally Marrazzo and Vivian Zadnik took 4th – 6th
    • Sally Marrazzo’s swim was a new PR by .69 seconds.
    • Emily Heim had a the swim that pleased me the most with a 3.26 second PR. Now that’s the kind of improvement I’m looking to see from Emily if we are going to compete for the VISAA Division II State Championship again in the future.
    • FCS’s top female swimmer, Courtney Jones, won the event, but Kimberly Rector sure made it a lot closer that expected!

100 Free

  • Boys
    • Cris Salas, who was back in the water for the very first time since he broke his collarbone, and Patrick Pennefather, whose broken hand was still not 100% healed, both had stand-out swims. Cris was just a hair off of his best time, and Patrick actually swam a PR by .82 seconds!
    • I planned to win this event 18-11, but we only won it 15-14. This was primarily due to an incredibly good swim by FCS swimmer Noah Ross whose time dropped from 1:12 to 1:00.28.
    • So we were now down 89-74. I had projected 82-81.
  • Girls
    • Claire Kenna once again showed that she is the class of the DAC with a first place finish.
    • Julia Irving, Emily Lowell and Sarah Heim took 5th, 6th, and 7th

500 Free

  • Boys
    • Patrick Dealey had a 28.06 second PR to really shine in the 500.
    • Brendan Santschi also really came to play. In his first ever swim in the 500, he went 7:04.68 and took 4th place in our meet against FCS.  I projected that Brendan would get 8th.  Way to go Brendan!
    • Nathan Brown from FCS really hurt us here. His 8.52 second PR jumped him from 7th place to 3rd place in our dual meet with them.  It was a very fine swim.
    • So we were now down 105-87. I had projected 99-93.
  • Girls
    • Emily Heim, Sally Marrazzo, Geni Lucas and Meghan O’Malley took 2nd through 5th, respectively, behind a very good St. Michael swimmer, Caroline Talley.
    • Emily’s swim was a 13.45 second PR, her second PR of the day
    • Sally Marrazzo also had another big PR, this time by 8.91 seconds.

200 Free Relay

  • Boys
    • Once again, we knew that both of our relays had to at least beat the FCS “B” relay, and they got the job done.
    • The race was close between our “B” relay and theirs until Patrick Koehr hit the water for the anchor leg. With no touch pads, I didn’t get any splits, but Patrick quickly put the race out of reach.  It’s too bad that his shoulder injury has sidelined him for much of this season.
    • So we were now down 115-95, and I had projected 109-101 – and we were running out of events.
  • Girls
    • Our “A” Relay of Anna Kenna, Kimberly Rector, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna beat all comers by more than 11 seconds.
    • Our “B” Relay of Dani Flook, Meghan O’Malley, Cat Pechie and Julia Irving took 3rd overall, behind only our “A” Relay and the FCS “A” Relay.

100 Backstroke

  • Boys
    • Tommy Flook fed off his great swim in 100 Fly to swim another huge in this event. His 1:07.64 was 1.58 seconds better than ever before, and it was good enough for 2nd, behind only the previously unknown FCS swimmer Ryland Leupold.
    • Andrew Bishop also had his 2nd PR of the meet when he dropped .28 seconds to take 6th in our meet with FCS. Paul Pechie took 5th
    • Noah Ross, another FCS 8th grader, was the big over-achiever this time. He cut more than 2 seconds from his PR and took 3rd place instead of the 6th place I had projected.
    • I projected we lose this event 15-14, but thanks to Noah, we lost it 17-12.
    • So now we were down 132-107, and my pre-meet projection was 124-115. FCS was swimming well, and we just couldn’t see to gain ground.
  • Girls
    • Anna Kenna, Dani Flook, Emily Lowell and Julia Irving took 2nd through 5th behind only former state finalist Courtney Jones of FCS.
    • Anna made the race with Courtney close, which is saying something, trust me.

100 Breaststroke

  • Boys
    • Patrick Pennefather, who will be swimming with us the rest of the season now that his hand has mostly healed, had a great swim. He took 2nd against FCS with a time that was not that far off of his PR from previous seasons.  Not bad for having only been able to come to one practice!
    • Joe Irving also jumped in with a nice 7th place finish for us.
    • But once again, FCS found a way to over-achieve. This time it was George Tryfiates whose 4.01 second personal record jumped him from a projected 7th place to an actual 4th place finish.
    • So with one event to go, FCS had us 150-118.
  • Girls
    • As much as any other event, this event brought back fond memories of DAC meet past. Our girls got 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.
    • Alex Sinner took 1st with a 1.41 second PR. I was very excited to see Alex hitting PRs as we ramp up to the championship portion of our season.
    • Meridyth Rosato was the one who took 4th thanks to her .25 second PR. She was seeded 5th, so her PR secured the sweep.

400 Free Relay

  • Boys
    • With the meet basically over, our boys didn’t quit. I had asked both our relays to make sure that we beat FCS’s “B” relay and they delivered.
    • But that was the end of the meet.
    • Final score: 160-126 in favor of FCS. We tried to pull out all of the stops, but in the end, FCS beat us fair and square.
  • Girls
    • Our girls finished just as they began taking both 1st and 2nd in the 400 Free Relay.
    • Kimberly Rector, Sally Marrazzo, Jillian Ceol and Emily Heim beat the 3rd place Relay by 70 seconds and Bridget O’Malley, Madeline Snider, Emily Lowell and Julia Irving beat the 3rd place Relay by 52 seconds.
    • The championship season is going be very exciting with this group of girls, the vast majority of whom are underclassman!

So, in spite of the loss on the boys side, I was very pleased with the way we swam.  And I was particularly pleased with Andrew Bishop, Paul Pechie, Brendan Santschi, James Kosten, Joe Kosten, Patrick Pennefather, Tommy Flook, Joe Irving and Patrick Koehr.  We did not go down without a fight.

42 More Personal Records!

Here are the rest of lifetime best swims we had that I have not already mentioned:

  • Ashley Cackett was not feeling well, or so I heard, but her results certainly didn’t show it! She had two PRs including a 10.17 second drop in 100 Fly and a 7.43 second drop in 200 Free.
  • Patrick, in addition to his PR in the 500 Free, also had a .41 second PR in the 50 Free.
  • Joe Fioramonti took advantage of the rare opportunity to race in 50 Breast and cut 6.06 seconds from his previous best.
  • Allison Given had to be happy with her performance on Saturday. She cut 1.52 seconds from her 50 Free and broke :40 seconds for the first time!  She also cut .46 seconds from her 100 Free PR.
  • Bernadette Hassan was simply great in 100 Back. She lowered her PR by 9.59 seconds!  Bernadette also cut .12 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Georgine Irving cut .16 seconds 100 Free.
  • Tom Irving had a great swim in 100 Breast where he beat his previous best by 9.27 seconds
  • Sean Kellogg cut 1.22 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
  • Colette Kosten lowered her 100 Back PR by 3.40 seconds
  • John O’Donohue performed well in the 100 Free with a 1.10 second PR.
  • Cat Pechie had her second PR of the day in the 500 Free where she cut a whooping 25.86 seconds! So that means that Cat had two PRs of more than 25 seconds on the day.
  • Ryan Pugh continued his trend of improvement with another 2.42 second PR in 100 Free
  • Meridyth Rosato, in addition to her 100 Breaststroke PR, cut another .68 seconds from her 50 Free.
  • Julia Rowzie must be feeling better. She had two PRs, including a .33 second PR in 50 Free and a .28 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Stephen Smith lowered his 50 Free PR by another .11 seconds
  • Dominic Wittlinger also PR’d in 50 Free, by .71 seconds.

New Qualifiers for the VISAA State Championship Meet

No new qualifiers this week, but we did have a few current qualifiers hit the cut in additional events:

  • Kimberly Rector made 200 Free her 7th (of 8) State qualifying time. 100 Back is all that is left for Kimberly.
  • Anna Kenna also made 200 Free her 7th (of 8) State qualifying time. Breaststroke is all that is left!
  • Alex Sinner picked up her 6th State time in 100 Breaststroke.

Here are the swimmers who have qualified individually so far – the new qualifications are in bold:

Meet Girls Boys
States Kimberly Rector

·       200 IM

·       500 Free

·       100 Free

·       100 Breast

·       50 Free

·       100 Fly

·       200 Free

Claire Kenna

·       50 Free

·       100 Free

·       200 Free

Anna Kenna

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       50 Free

·       200 IM

·       500 Free

·       50 Free

·       200 Free

Alex Sinner

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       200 IM

·       100 Free

·       100 Breaststroke

Emily Heim

·       100 Breast

200 Medley Relay “A”

200 Medley Relay “B”

200 Free Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “B”

200 Medley Relay

200 Free Relay


Looking at our times for this season, I can see that Joe Kosten, Dani Flook, Jillian Ceol and Patrick Pennefather also have a pretty good shot at qualifying individually.  January is the month to really push yourself in practice – the championship meets are only a month away!

Does Winning Really Matter Anyway?

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth Matt 5:5

I’ve heard it said at Seton that winning doesn’t really matter, and some people have asked me if my emphasis on personal records means that I believe that myself.  I don’t.  And I certainly don’t think that our faith teaches us that.

Our faith does teach us to be “meek”, but many people completely misinterpret the term “meekness” in the way that Christ meant it.  According to St. Thomas Aquinas, “meekness is a virtue which moderates the passion of anger according to the dictates of reason, and calms the desire for revenge”.  I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see anything in that definition that implies the capitulation or timidity often associated with the term “meek”.  Quite the opposite in fact.

To demonstrate the spiritual strength to be truly meek, you need to be in complete control of your passions and direct them toward good – so called “righteous anger”.  And to be truly meek in competition, you have to have the strength of character to turn your anger inward to maximize the gifts that God gave you rather than trying to tear down your competition.  So being meek actually requires incredible strength of character.

If you really want to take “meek” to the next level, you compete is such a charitable way that you actually make your opponent better too.  Taken this way, if you don’t try to win, you are actually doing your competitor a disservice!

This is why winning matters.  I will wonder aloud: if we did not have such a long history of winning at Seton, would some of those great FCS swims have been perhaps a bit less inspired?  Would Jack Rutherford have had that ridiculous swim in the 50 Free?  Or would Brandon Chang, Noah and Garrett Ross, or George Tryfiates have swum the way they did?  Certainly there is some excellent coaching going on down there, and they certainly would have improved without competing against Seton – but all of us who compete know that we like to beat the best.  And Seton has been the best for a long time.

Now the shoe is on the other foot.  They are the ones who need to be meek.  They are the ones who need to push us to be better stewards of the gifts God gave us by being even better stewards themselves – and when that happens, all of DAC Swimming benefits.  I doubt they are going to happy with just one DAC Championship – at least I hope not.

To me, being “meek” is synonymous with being a great sport.  I never liked it that, by default, the worst team in a league always seems to get the sportsmanship trophy.  Being happy about losing is not good sportsmanship – it is the opposite of good sportsmanship because those who are content with losing are not making anyone with whom they compete any better.  In their victory yesterday, I think that FCS, particularly their coaches, were a great example of meekness in Christian sense – and the Seton boys are going to return the favor next season 😉

Christian Meekness in athletic competition is not capitulation or timidity.

Christian Meekness is the spiritual strength to help your competitors over the bar that you raised by winning.

  • Coach Jim Koehr

Upcoming Events

Next Saturday is our 4th annual Northern Virginia Catholic High School Swimming and Diving Championship at the Freedom Center.  Seton Swimming started this event and we have hosted it ever since.  It should be a very fast meet that will be a great test of our girl’s team!

Now it is time to get back to work.  See you are 6:19 a.m. tomorrow morning, ready to roll!

Coach Jim Koehr

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