Last Saturday, we traveled down to St. Michael the Archangel for the annual Delaney Athletic Conference championship meet, and once again, we took the championship meet title for the girls. The actual conference champion is determined by the regular season records, and by virtue of the fact that we were undefeated against conference teams for the entire season, the Seton’s Girls secured their 20th straight conference championship in swimming.
On the Boys side, up to this year, we had won the conference championship for 18 straight years, and the last time we lost the conference championship meet was the first year that I was Head Coach back in the ’02-’03 season when we lost the meet to Fredericksburg Academy – but both of those streaks ended at the hands of Fredericksburg Christian this year. During the regular season, FCS beat our boys all three times that we met, but on Saturday at the Conference Championship meet, they just barely snuck by us – by only 6 points!
It has been quite a run for Seton in the DAC Conference. There was actually a point (during the 2010 season) when Seton held every single conference record and in the Conference Championship Meet, Seton won the gold medal in every event except the Girls 200 Medley Relay – in that event, our girls finished in 1st place by more than 15 seconds but were disqualified on a very questionable call for an early take-off. Fast forward to 2014, and we can see that the competition in the DAC continues to improve – so we are just going to have to keep improving right along with it!
Here’s how the final scores looked on Saturday. Since I’ve been coaching, I don’t think we’ve ever had a 2nd place girls score that was more than half of Seton’s score, and that was how it ended up again this year:
Fredericksburg Academy 194
St. Michael the Archangel 147
Fredericksburg Christian 119
Randolph-Macon Academy 90
Wakefield Country Day 51
Fredericksburg Christian 256
St. Michael the Archangel 175
Fredericksburg Academy 82
Randolph-Macon Academy 70
Wakefield Country Day 63
Medal Winners and All-Conference Swimmers for Seton
One unique form of recognition available to our swimmers at this meet was the possibility of being designated “All-Conference”. All-Conference recognition goes to any swimmer that gets a gold, silver or bronze medal in an individual event.
Here are Seton’s All-Conference Swimmers for 2013-2014:
- Anna Kenna was a two-time DAC Champion! In 100 Free, Anna swam a personal record 56.57 to take the gold medal by nearly 8 seconds! And in 100 Back, she was just off her best time at 1:01.94 and again took the gold medal by a very wide margin. Including relays, Anna won four (4) gold medals on Saturday. I think Anna has an excellent chance, as an 8th grader, of ultimately becoming a 10 time All-Conference swimmer!
- Claire Kenna is also a DAC Champion! Claire took the gold medal in the 50 Free by more than a second and we clearly the class of the sprinters present. Claire also surprised all of us with an incredible silver medal performance in 100 Breaststroke with a 1.09 second personal record. Her 1:14.40 beat all comers except the probable State Champion in the event, Reni Moshos. Including relays, Claire won three (3) golds and one (1) silver medal on Saturday.
- Alex Sinner was our third and final DAC Champion, in this case, with the gold medal in 100 Butterfly! Alex also won the silver medal in 100 Backstroke behind only Seton’s Anna Kenna. Including relays, Alex won three (3) golds and one (1) silver medal on Saturday.
- Kimberly Rector had two outstanding personal record swims to take the silver medal in 200 Free and the bronze medal in 500 Free. In the 200 Free, Kimberly cut .21 seconds to go 2:07.37 and in the 500 Free, Kimberly cut 5.81 seconds to go 5:37.72 – I was very pleased with her swims, especially the 500 where her split were remarkably consistent throughout the middle portion of the race. Including relays, Kimberly took home two (2) golds, one (1) silver and one (1) bronze medal on Saturday.
- Emily Heim had two great swims to take the silver medal in 200 IM and the bronze medal in 100 Breaststroke. I was particularly pleased with Emily’s 200 IM where she finished behind only the probably State Champion in the event Reni Moshos of Highland. Including relays, Emily took home two (2) golds, one (1) silver and one (1) bronze medal on Saturday.
- Joe Kosten finished up his DAC swimming career with two (2) bronze medals and another two (2) All-Conference recognitions! Joe’s first bronze medal was in 200 IM, an event he’ll be swimming at States, and his second bronze was in a new event for Joe this season, 100 Fly. Including relays, Joe took home one (1) silver and three (3) bronze medals on Saturday.
- Matthew Fioramonti had the meet of his life winning two (2) bronze medals in the 200 Free and the 500 Free. Both of his races were very competitive for that final All-Conference spot, but both times, Matthew showed the heart of a champion and put away his competition. The amount of improvement we’ve seen from Matt this season is another big part of the story. At the beginning of this season, he went 2:23.67 in 200 Free, and on Saturday he went 2:11.50. And at the end of last season in the 500, he swam 7:14.97 – on Saturday he went 6:15.62! Now that is impressive!
- Sally Marrazzo was all smiles after taking the silver medal in 100 Free with a .22 second PR. She finished behind only Seton’s own Claire Kenna to earn her first All-Conference designation.
- Dani Flook earned her All-Conference designation with a .34 second PR swim in 100 Back which was good enough for the bronze medal. One thing that makes that swim exciting to think about is that she only lost to two other Seton swimmers – so she beat all of the swimmers entered from all of the other teams! Dani also took 4th place in a very fast heat of 50 Free. Dani also won a gold medal in the Girls 200 Free relay.
- Patrick Pennefather was perhaps the biggest surprise of the meet for me because earlier that day, we were trying to decide if he was too sick to even come to the meet. I’m glad he decided to just come and tough it out, because toughing it out resulted in a .75 second PR in 100 Breast jumping him up to the bronze medal and his first-ever All-Conference designation in swimming. I recently got to see Patrick play basketball too. I wonder if anyone at Seton has ever been All-Conference in two different sports during the same season?
Championship Meets are won with relays
There are 48 possible individual medals, and as you see from above, we only won 17 of them. That’s not bad, but the big points in this meet were scored by our relays. In a high school championship meet, relays typically score double the points of an individual events. The traditional depth that we’ve always had at Seton has long been the foundation of many great relays, and that depth was on display again Saturday when our Girls took home all three gold medals and our Boys took home a bronze medal and a silver medal:
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay took the gold medal by nearly 10 seconds! Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Kimberly Rector and Claire Kenna just rocked the pool winning the gold medal by nearly 10 seconds. I’m hoping that this relay can swim well enough to come back for finals on Friday night at States – it’s going to be close, but I think they can do it! It is very exciting to remember that the oldest kids on this relay are only sophomores!
- Our Girls “B” Medley Relay of Dani Flook, Jillian Ceol, Meghan O’Malley and Sally Marrazzo were not eligible to score, but they actually swam the 3rd fastest time in the meet, beating the winner of the bronze medal. Don’t worry girls, we know who got third!
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Dani Flook, Alex Sinner, Jillian Ceol and Claire Kenna took the lead right way and never looked back, eventually winning the gold medal by more than 4 seconds.
- For the second time in the meet, our Girls “B” 200 Free Relay of Madeline Snider, Sally Marrazzo, Cat Pechie and Meghan O’Malley swam the 3rd fastest time and beat the bronze medal winner’s time.
- Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Anna Kenna, Alex Sinner, Kimberly Rector and Emily Heim won gold by an amazing 20 seconds! Once Anna led off with a very strong 57.22, it was basically over, but just in case anyone still doubted, Alex popped a season best 58.62 split to make the margin so wide that no one could ever possibly catch Kimberly and Emily.
- Note to self: Enter a 400 Free Relay of seniors to end the DAC Championship meet in the future – because it was wonderful to see! After a Cat Pechie lead-off, we lined up our three senior girls for the final swim of their Seton career. Sarah Heim, Emily Lowell and Julia Irving really went out in style with tears and hugs all the way around. Congratulations on a great careers girls!
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Tommy Flook, Cris Salas, Brian Koehr and Joe Kosten beat a strong Highland relay for the silver medal on the strength of Tommy Flook’s 1.15 second PR lead-off 50 Free – how about that 24.94 Tommy!
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Brian Koehr, Joe Kosten, Tommy Flook and Cris Salas took the bronze medal behind some strong swimming, particularly Joe Kosten’s season best 29.84 Breaststroke split and Cris Salas’ lifetime best 25.29 anchor split.
- The CTS didn’t get any splits from our “B” Relay, but it was easy to see that Matthew Fioramonti had a particularly good lead-off backstroke leg. It was good enough that Coach Lowell and I actually had to have a lengthy conversation this afternoon about whether we should move Matt up to the “A” medley relay! Looking at splits for the entire season and projecting his likely split on Saturday, we decided to maintain the status quo, but it was very nice work on Matt’s part to make it a difficult decision.
We had 29 personal records on Saturday which means that 45% of our individual swims resulted in a lifetime best – not a bad way to end the conference season! And remember as you are looking through these notes that finishes up through 12th place scored points in this meet. Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned:
- Andrew Bishop took 10th place in 100 Back with a 1.63 second PR swim. I could tell by looking at his stroke that he was going to end his season with a good one.
- Tim Costello had yet another big drop in 50 Free, cutting another .49 seconds from his PR. Tim also dropped in 100 Breast, cutting .23 seconds.
- Tommy Flook swam very well on Saturday with two 4th place finishes in 100 Fly and 100 Back. His 100 Back was a 1.42 second PR – a big drop for Tommy. Remember, he also had that 1.15 second PR in 50 Free leading off that relay!
- Sarah Heim wrapped up her Seton career with a 2.07 second PR in the difficult 200 IM to take 8th place overall.
- Julia Irving took 5th place overall in the 200 Free and scored 10 points for us in her final meet.
- Brian Koehr took a really good shot at the 200 Free. In the event, he cut 10.51 seconds from his PR to take 5th place in a very fast field.
- James Kosten ended last season at 1:07.99 in 100 Free. On Saturday, he cut another .04 seconds to go 1:00.29!
- Emily Lowell ended her career with a 6th place finish in 200 Free and an 8th place finish in the 500 Free scoring a total of 14 points for Seton. I wasn’t surprised to see some very consistent splits in the 500 Free. It was fun for me to watch her swim this event one last time.
- Geni Lucas showed me that she can swim Fly this season. On Saturday, she cut another .97 second from her PR.
- Mark O’Donohue made his father proud with a .54 second PR in 100 Breast.
- Bridget O’Malley ended her 8th grade season with a nice swim in 100 Free where she cut .20 from her lifetime best.
- Paul Pechie must have been getting a lot of work done underwater on Saturday. In the 200 IM, he lowered his PR by 4.03 seconds and in 100 Back, he lowered his PR by 1.32 seconds. That 200 IM placed 5th and that 100 Back placed 9th for a total of 14 points for Seton.
- Andrew Quinan had a very fine swim in 100 Fly, cutting a whooping 3.74 seconds from his PR. Andrew also took 5th place in the 500 Free.
- Cris Salas was rolling in more than just the relays. In 100 Free, he cut an amazing 1.47 seconds to go 57.87 and seal his spot on our “A” 400 Free relay. Cris also cut another .03 seconds in 50 Free to go 25.91 and seal his spot on our “A” 200 Free Relay and our “A” 200 Medley Relay. Cris’ 6th place in the 100 and 9th in the 50 scored 13 individual points for us.
- Brendan Santschi really had a break-out season, and he ended it very strong with a 2.33 second PR in 200 Free. Between the 200 and 500 Free, Brendan placed 10th and 7th and scored 10 points as an 8th grader!
- Madeline Snider swam incredibly well for someone who “can’t swim the 500 Free”. I knew she was wrong before she hit the water at that first practice, but I find out how wrong only after I saw her ability and desire. It was great for me to see her wrap up her first conference season with a 5.50 second PR in 200 Free to take 4th Madeline also took 5th place in 100 Free and scored 21 points!
- Jude Van de Voorde hit a .21 second PR in 100 Breast to go a lifetime best 1:17.15.
- Vivian Zadnik added the Butterfly event to our normal Breaststroke this season, and she ended the season with a huge 3.84 second PR in that new event. Looking forward to seeing what she can do next year!
They Have Been Great Examples to All of Us
It is not at all unusual for a senior girl swimmer to not be as fast as she was as a freshman or sophomore. As much as their parents want to remember their little girl’s as “little”, sometimes they just grow up. What is more unusual is for senior girls who are experiencing this to keep joyfully bringing their best efforts to the pool and giving their personal best effort every time they hit the water. Sarah Heim, Emily Lowell and Julia Irving are three such seniors. It has been a joy watching them respond to everything we as coaches can throw at them, and it makes me very happy to have them leading our team as our Girl’s captains.
And hasn’t Joe Kosten been a tremendous captain this year? It has been so much fun for me to see him swim lifetime best times in so many events even after he is no longer swimming on a USA team. He is a great demonstration of the connection between hard work on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and results on Saturday
The State Championship Meet is this Friday and Saturday, February 14-15th
I have submitted our State Meet entries, and they are now posted. I hope to bring 18 swimmers to the Freedom Center this year. Here is the roster for our State Championship Team:
Jillian Ceol Andrew Bishop
Dani Flook Tommy Flook
Emily Heim Brian Koehr
Anna Kenna Joe Kosten
Claire Kenna Mark O’Donohue
Sally Marrazzo Patrick Pennefather
Meghan O’Malley Cris Salas
Kimberly Rector Joe Zapiain
I’ll post details of the logistical arrangements shortly and the Meet Announcement is posted, but briefly, here’s the deal:
- Thursday practice will be a State Team breakfast at IHOP. I’ll announce plans as soon as I figure it out.
- Thursday after school in Faustina, we will be making posters for the meet. Kenna and Mrs. Heim will feed everyone before we head over to the pool for a warm-up
- Our Thursday night warm-up time is set 6:30 – 7:00 p.m. Plan to be on deck around 6:15 p.m. for a relaxed session of stretching, swimming and relay starts.
- Friday morning Preliminaries start at 9:45 a.m. for the 200 Medley Relay, 200 Free, 200 IM, 50 Free and 100 Fly. Our warm-up time has not been assigned, but I expect it to be from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m.
- After Prelims, we will retire to the Sinner’s house for a good meal, some relaxation in the hot tub and maybe a movie.
- Friday Finals for those that qualify in the morning for the top 16 starts at 6:30 p.m. with an open warm-up starting at 5:00 p.m. “B” Relays are not eligible for Finals.
- Saturday is a repeat of Friday for 100 Free, 500 Free, the 200 Free Relay, 100 Back, 100 Breast and the 400 Free Relay, and once again, we will retire to the Sinner’s house between sessions.
- One difference from Friday is that Finals warm-up starts 15 minutes earlier to make time for the Senior parade. Seniors line up for the 6:05 p.m. parade by 5:50 p.m. in the hallway.
- After the meet, I will be retiring to the City Tavern for a well-earned beverage and would love to have as many people who are interested, even those who didn’t swim, join me.
Here are a couple other things to understand about the meet:
- I hope to have all of the seniors, even if they are not swimming, with us for all of these activities
- The admission fees set by VISAA are brutal: $10/person/day with a $30/day family maximum. I fought it, but I lost.
- Any team member in a team uniform will be admitted for free, so where your black t-shirt!
- We need to supply Meet Marshals to police the Watch & Go Seating area. Not only would volunteering here ensure that you have a good seat, it will also get you in for free. I need at least two per session – who wants to help out?
- Several of the State Team members are swimming on only one of the two days. I will leave it up to the parents, but they are welcomed to participate in everything with us even on the days that they are not swimming
Two more practices – let’s get ready to race!
Coach Jim Koehr