Now that was a great meet! Seton Swimming created this annual championship meet to bring together all of the Catholic schools in the northern half of Virginia each year for a celebration of our common values, and the meet gets more fun each year.
Last year, we added Meet Records and a Swimmer of the Meet award for the first time. In business, we often say that you get what you measure. Well we started measuring Meet Records and not surprisingly, we broke a bunch – how about another 10 out of 24!
Congratulations to our Swimmers of the Meet: Ben Gorsky of Bishop Ireton and Emily Prevenzo of St. Gertrude’s in Richmond. Ben won four (4) times with top finishes in the 200 Medley Relay, the 200 Free and the 200 Breaststroke by wide margins. And Emily broke four meet records including the 200 Free, the 500 Free, the 200 Free Relay and the 400 Free Relay. The votes were very close with Chris Outlaw of Bishop O’Connell and Anna Shumate of Bishop Ireton both coming in a very close second. Anna Kenna was a clear stand-out for Seton and even Nicholas Foeckler got a vote!
After six (6) events, Seton was actually leading the Girl’s side of the competition, but for the third year in a row, the powerful Bishop Ireton squad was just too strong for the rest of us, so they took home the traveling trophy – the Holy Grail. On the Boy’s side, the meet was never really close with Bishop Ireton pulling away from PVI and O’Connell early to claim the Boys Holy Grail for the 2nd straight year. Congratulations to Bishop Ireton, and especially to their Coach, John Gullickson, who does a really fine job with those kids. I always like to remind them that I swam at Ireton back in the day 😉
Our parent volunteers, led by Carole Pechie, really stepped up to make this a great meet.
- Our announcer, John Kleb, did a fabulous job keeping things exciting and moving. Kleb add a very nice touch with the Olympic theme music before the fast heat of each event that we will simply have to incorporate into our other meets – it was brilliant.
- When Kleb, an on-call surgical nurse was called away to go save someone’s life, I was so pleased with the way our swimmer Tommy Moore stepped in to help me with the announcing duties. He just got better and better as the meet progressed.
- Our Wet Deck officials, led by Seltman and Mr. Flook were real pros, as usual, and our dry deck officials really stepped up to make sure the scoring was up to date in almost real time. Bill Dealey, Allen Sinner and Jim Griffin were pros through and through on this one.
- There were so many others that I can’t list them all here, but I will give a final shout-out to Coach Kimberly Dalrymple who has taken over the very difficult Head Timer Recruiter (aka “HTR” or “Heater”) duties and took charge in a way that even General O’Donohue would have found inspiring.
I was very pleased that both the Seton Girl’s and Boy’s teams were able to take 4rd place. That means they were both able to beat 2 of the 4 large Diocesan Schools!
And now, here is the way the final scores shook out:
Bishop Ireton 275
Bishop O’Connell 218
St. Gertrude’s 198
Seton Swimming 196
Paul VI 173
Pope John Paul the Great 133
St. Michael the Archangel 34
Bishop Ireton 299
Paul VI 221
Bishop O’Connell 213
Seton Swimming 142
Pope John Paul the Great 123
Benedictine College Prep 120
St. Michael the Archangel 90
Coach Lowell and I were talking about how, if this had been the 6th or 7th annual NoVa Catholics rather than the 5th annual, we’d have our name on one or two of those plaques on the front of the Holy Grail. I look forward to seeing our strong girl’s team take a good shot at it in next year!
Top 8 Finishers
We have a hard-working team without a core group of USA Swimmers, but that didn’t stop us from getting a number of top 8 finishes:
- Anna Kenna was an absolute stand-out, particularly in her backstroke events. In the 100 Backstroke, Anna owned the field from the very beginning, pulling farther away with each underwater body dolphin, to take 1st place by nearly a second. By the end of the race, she had pulled away from two of last year’s State finalists and touched just .13 seconds from a Meet Record! Her 1:01.21 was easily her fastest swim of the season and the second fastest swim of her life. Anna also 2nd place in 100 Free with her best time of the season, 2nd place in the 200 Free Relay and 3rd place in the 400 Free Relay.
- Kimberly Rector came back strong from her concussion a few weeks ago with a 2nd place finish in the 200 IM and a 7th place finish in the 500 Free. Perhaps her best swim of the day was her much improved butterfly during the medley relay where she split 29.73, the 2nd fastest split on the team so far this season. Partly because of her much improved stroke mechanics, that medley took 4th place. Kimberly was also part of the 3rd place 400 Free Relay.
- Alex Sinner has been out of training for a few weeks, but performed very well in spite of that. Her 3rd place finish in the 200 IM gave us both 2nd and 3rd place points and was a big part of the reason we were beating Bishop Ireton at one point in the contest. Alex also took 4th place in 100 Fly with her very beautiful stroke. Finally, Alex was part of our 2nd place 200 Free Relay and our 4th place 400 Free Relay. With some hard training for the rest of this month, I’m confident that we will see Alex get back down to her PRs in time for a great performance at States!
- Emily Heim took 3rd place in 100 Breaststroke behind two of last year’s State finalists who both broke the Meet Record. Her 1:15.23 was her fastest time, and the 2nd fastest time on the team, so far this season. Emily’s best swim though may have been her 100 Fly where she cut a whopping 2.01 seconds from an already pretty good PR, which was good enough for 10th Emily has had a strong swim on the breaststroke leg of our 4th place 200 Free Relay.
- Claire Kenna took 5th place in 50 Free and 8th place in 200 Free. Claire strongest swim was on the anchor of our 2nd place 200 Free Relay where she split 25.69 in a relay that just barely missed the Meet Record. Claire also anchored our 3rd place 400 Free Relay. One exciting aspect of Claire’s freestyle was the strength of her underwaters, particularly in her 50 Free individual event.
- Dani Flook put everything she had in to that 500 Free where she lowered her PR by 5.07 seconds, broke 5:50 for the first time, and took 6th place. In the 200 Free, Dani cut 2.31 seconds from her 200 Free PR to take 9th. Dani’s very strong 26.78 split in our 2nd place 200 Free Relay would have been a PR had she not had the advantage of a rolling start, and she led off our 4th place 200 Medley Relay
- Vivian Zadnik had one of her best meets of the season with three (3) huge PRs. Her 1.11 second PR in 100 Breast jumped her from the 10th seed all the way up to 7th place! But her biggest PRs came in the 200 Free, where she dropped 3.85 seconds and the 50 Free leading off a 200 Free Relay, where she dropped a huge 2.01 seconds to break :30 for the first time!
- Tommy Flook scored very strongly with his 3rd place finish in 100 Fly and his 4th place finish in 200 IM. His Fly time was within .18 seconds of his PR, so with some strong training the rest of the month, I’d look forward to some great swimming from Tommy in the post-season. Tommy also broke his 100 Free PR, by .18 seconds, during our 5th place 400 Free Relay and he had a very strong relay split in 50 Fly during our 4th place 200 Medley Relay.
- It would be hard to be much more pleased with Mark O’Donohue’s performance on Saturday. He took 6th place in the 500 Free with a 6.87 second PR and 9th place in 100 Breaststroke with a 1.98 second PR. Mark also had strong splits in our 4th place 400 Free Relay and our 7th place 200 Freestyle Relay.
- Brian Koehr rocked his 50 Free with a 24.42 – a .89 second PR that was easily the fastest time on the team this season, well under the National Catholic cut, and only .17 second off of the State cut. It was also good enough to take 7th place in a heat where two different swimmers broke the Meet Record. He then took that strong 50 Free to the anchor leg of our 4th place 200 Medley Relay where he split 24.26. Brian also took 8th place in 100 Free and anchored our 5th place 400 Free Relay.
- Paul Pechie showed some versatility by scoring big with his 7th place finish in the 200 IM. I think Paul may score a lot of points for us in the post-season in events such as this.
- Andrew Quinan had a wonderful swim in 100 Fly where his huge 3.19 second PR jumped him up to 8th place. In the 200 Free, Andrew cut 3.43 seconds from his PR to take 11th He had another great swim in our 5th place 400 Free Relay. Andrew’s 100 Free PR is 59.25 yet he somehow managed to split 57.46! Too bad we cannot count that as a PR because of the rolling start. And finally, Andrew did a nice job leading off our 7th place 200 Free Relay.
Some Stunning Personal Records
I always like to highlight Personal Records, but there were a few this past weekend that really stood out to me:
- Watch out for Martin Quinan in the future! He’s only a freshman, but he is really developing a great feel for the water, especially in freestyle. How about a 25.17 second PR in 200 Free (that is some people’s 50 Free time!) and a 34.20 second PR in 500 Free? His time are starting to get very competitive, and with this level of improvement, I strongly suspect he has earned his way on to the post-season varsity team.
- Nicholas Foeckler had such a good swim in the 100 Free that he actually received a vote for Swimmer of the Meet. How about a 20.09 second PR at this point in the season? Nick has really come a long way since the beginning of the year!
- Dominic Hartung dropped a huge 10.83 seconds in 100 Back and an unbelievable 3.66 seconds in 50 Free. Wow!
- Mary Heim really showed me something with that 200 Free. She cut 25.21 seconds from the PR she set back in Time Trials. I think Mary is really going to a be a good one as she gets older.
- Seamus Koehr was the personification of pure joy as he approached the blocks for the 500 Free, and all that joyful energy spilled out into an 18.17 second Personal Record! And when he hit the water for his leg of the medley relay and his googles dropped over his face. Seamus did exactly what you are supposed to do – he just kept rolling!
- Peter O’Donohue is starting to learn to use that long body to his advantage. On Saturday, he used it to improve his 100 Fly PR by a whopping 10.90 seconds.
- Kalli Dalrymple has been seeking those elusive PRs in the sprint events, but with an attempt at some longer distances, we really saw where should could shine. In the 200 IM, she cut 7.05 seconds from her PR! I also gave her a shot at the 500 Free for the first time, guessing that she’d do about 8:00. Boy was I wrong – how about a 7:35!
- Bryanna Farmer and Ashley Cackett also had a really fine swims in the Girl’s 500 Free, lowering their PRs by 13.22 seconds and 7.46 seconds respectively! There are lots of post-season points up for grabs in this event for these two girls.
- Patrick Dealey swam very hard in the 500 Free and cut 10.65 seconds from his PR.
- Brendan Santschi, after being sick for much of the Christmas break, had a remarkable PR in the 500 Free, lowering his previous best time by 6.49 seconds. I’m really looking forward to seeing what he can do when he wraps up Coach Lowell’s tough cardio training schedule over the course of the rest of January.
- MacKenzie Farmer dropped a big 3.97 seconds in Fly. The grace she shows from the diving board is really helping her swimming, particularly her starts.
- Mark Fioramonti cut another 2.58 seconds in 100 Back.
- Gianna Gonzalez had PRs in both 100 Free, by 2.65 seconds, and in 50 Free, by .35 seconds.
- Sean Kellogg hit a huge 8.36 second PR in 100 Back.
- Rosie Hall cut a whopping 6.54 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke PR.
- Anne Konstanty’s early arrival at swim practice each day paid off for her with PRs in 100 Free, by a huge 6.52 seconds, and in 50 Free, by .96 seconds.
- I’ll wrap up here with Patrick Hall who had four (4) PRs in the meet! He cut 7.06 seconds in 100 Free and 1.04 seconds in 50 Back leading off the Medley. He also lowered his 50 Free PR twice – once in the event and once leading off a 200 Free Relay – ultimately resulting in a new PR by .37 seconds.
68 More Personal Records
For being this close to Christmas break, 68 Personal Records is a truly remarkable total – that’s basically an average of one (1) per swimmer! Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned:
- Katie Albin had a really big drop in 50 Free – .91 seconds.
- Edith Barvick had two (2) PRs. In 50 Back leading off a medley, she cut .68 seconds, and in 50 Free, she cut .41 seconds.
- Andrew Bishop lowered his 100 Free PR by .14 seconds.
- David Catabui dropped .01 seconds in 50 Free – with his googles on his head, and then on his neck!
- Tim Costello cut another .07 seconds from his PR.
- Drew Dalrymple had a nice swim in 100 Back, lowering his PR by a big 2.41 seconds.
- Ben Dealey had two (2) PRs with one in 50 Back leading off a medley (by .49 seconds), and one in 50 Free (by .21 seconds).
- Katie Dealey also had two (2) PRs. In 50 Free she cut .92 seconds, and in 100 Free she cut .05 seconds.
- Ryan Hall lowered his 100 Free PR by another 2.24 seconds.
- Chris Hartung cut .74 seconds from his 50 Back PR leading off a medley relay.
- Ruthie Hartung lowered her 50 Free PR by .64 seconds.
- TheresA Hartung dropped .64 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
- Bernadette Hassan was very excited to drop another 2.40 seconds from her 100 Free PR.
- RJ Kenna looked really great with his three (3) PR performance. In 100 Free he cut 1.61 seconds, in 50 Free he cut 1.34 seconds, and in 50 Back leading off a Medley Relay he cut 1.50 seconds.
- Jeremy Kleb had a very nice swim in 50 Free where he lowered his PR by .52.
- Josh Miller cut another .55 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke PR. His 1:19.94 is starting to get pretty competitive at the high school level.
- John O’Donohue swam a lifetime best in 100 Free by 1.05 seconds.
- Therese Pechie dropped exactly 1:00 in 100 Back with a very nice swim.
- Michaela Pennefather is figuring out how to swim butterfly properly, and it showed with her 2.38 second PR.
- Katharine Rowzie broke :33 for the first time after a .68 second PR.
- Marcie Van de Voorde broke 2:00 minutes for the first time in 100 Breaststroke by swimming a 1.48 second PR.
Final Qualifiers for National Catholics
Congratulations to Brian Koehr for joining our National Catholic Team in the 50 Free with his great swim in the 50 Free! The National Catholic High School Championship is January 24th and 25th at Loyola University in Baltimore. We’ll be heading up there Friday night. I still need someone to volunteer to help me with logistics.
The final Eligibility Report is posted under Meet & Team Information. Brian joins these other members of the team:
- Alex Sinner
- Anna Kenna
- Claire Kenna
- Kimberly Rector
- Emily Heim
- Dani Flook
Our girls also have all three relays qualified. I have draft relay line-ups published under Meet & Team Information based on the fastest relay splits so far this year. Entries are due this Wednesday at which time the individual entries will be final, but as usual, the relay line-ups are final when I had the cards in at the actual event, so next weekend’s results could still alter how we line-up the relays.
Next Meet is Saturday, January 17th at Central Park
Next weekend’s meet is at Central Park. Among others, we’ll be welcoming Coach Jay Thorpe and his team from Battlefield High School for the second time. FCS will also be there. Please plan to be on deck stretching at 12:39 p.m.
I will not be at this meet. My parents-in-law are celebrating their 55th wedding anniversary on a cruise, and my wife is forcing me to go with her to Key West and Cozumel. I’ll offer it up my suffering for all of you.
- I realize that final exams are here, and it is a tough balancing act for a lot of kids. Do your best to attend practices during finals week because this is the time of the season where we are no longer learning how to swim, but when we are preparing our bodies to swim fast. As always, I will defer to parental discretion on the needs of each individual swimmer.
- The end of the season is fast approaching for probably half the team with our JV Invitational on January 24th at the Fitch WARF in Warrenton. Here’s how it works:
- For the final three (3) post-season meets, we are not allowed any exhibition swimmers. That means that I am limited to four (4) scoring swimmers per event and two (2) scoring relays.
- So I will publish the meet entries for the VISAA Division II Invitational Championship on January 31st and the swimmers in that meet will be designated as “Varsity”.
- Only the Varsity team needs to practice past January 24th.
So sorry we had to cancel practice this morning. See you tomorrow morning,
Coach Jim Koehr