On Saturday, Seton Swimming hosted our 2nd annual VSIS Division II Invitational Swim Championship at the Freedom Center with 246 swimmers from 13 teams. The participating teams came, not just from our conference, but from Roanoke, Suffolk, Chesapeake, Norfolk, and Virginia Beach. It was a tremendous event with both great swimming and great fanfare.
At the meet, Seton Swimming:
- Won both the girl’s and boy’s competitions by significant margins
- Set 10 new conference records including 5 of the 6 relay records
- Set 2 new team records
- Had the Boys Swimmer of the Meet
- Had two new State Meet qualifiers
- Had 31 of a possible 66 top-3 finishes
- Had 32 Personal Records in just 73 separate swims
- Successfully hosted a very large meet that was universally acclaimed by the participating teams as the best meet of the season
The Final Scores
Girls – Team Scores
Place School Points
1 Seton School SST 415.50
2 Nansemond-Suffolk Academey NSA 373.50
3 Fredericksburg Academy FA-VA 116
4 Stonebridge High School SBHS-VA 114
5 Fredericksburg Christian FCS-VA 87.50
6 Roanoke Catholic School RCS-VA 70
7 Quantico Middle/High School QMHS-VA 34.50
8 Highland School 1234-VA 32
9 Wakefield H2owls WAKE-VA 23
10 Randolph-Macon Academy R-MA-VA 18
11 Massanutten Military Academy MMA 8
12 Greenbrier Christian Academy GCA-VA 4
Boys – Team Scores
Place School Points
1 Seton School SST 377.50
2 Nansemond-Suffolk Academey NSA 303
3 Fredericksburg Academy FA-VA 196
4 Fredericksburg Christian FCS-VA 117.50
5 Randolph-Macon Academy R-MA-VA 83
6 Massanutten Military Academy MMA 80
7 Roanoke Catholic School RCS-VA 57
8 Highland School 1234-VA 38
9 Quantico Middle/High School QMHS-VA 28
10 Norfolk Christian NCH 7
11 Wakefield H2owls WAKE-VA 2
The Record Breakers
With 10 record-setting swims on Saturday, Seton Swimming now holds 21 of the 22 NVSC Conference records. Conference records can only be broken in a conference championship meet, and we agreed prior to the meet to count this meet as a conference championship meet because it was the conference championship meet last season and because the other conference championship meet is in a meter pool:
- Boys Swimmer of the Meet Nevin Cook lead the way by setting five (5) new conference records and one (1) new team record! He now holds all or part of 9 out of 11 boy’s conference records. Individually, Nevin broke three records. He broke a 12-year old 50 Free record held by Ray Hrabe of Emmanuel Christian by going a superfast :22.32. He broke Highland Swimmer Kyle Kirk’s 2006 record in the 200 Free by more than 5 seconds with a 1:48.29. Finally, he broke his own 100 Fly record by over a second with a :54.04. Nevin also led off conference record setting 200 and 400 Free relays, and a team record setting 400 Free relay (see below)
- Jessica Dunn set 4 new conference records and one (1) new team record! Jessie swam 1 individual event and 3 relays, and she set a record every time she hit the water. Individually, Jessie beat the conference 200 IM record by over 1 second. That record was set by Seton-great Katie Shipko way back in 1999. Jessie also broke her own team record in 50 backstroke with a :28.73 leading off the medley relay. Her final three records all came in relays, where her very fast splits were the key to ensuring that Seton broke them (see below).
- Lea Mazzoccoli set 3 new conference records! Individually, Lea broke her own 100 Fly record with a 1:05.00. That was quite a swim considering that Lea has been fighting shoulder pain and has been out of the water 2 of the last 3 weeks. Lea’s last two records also came as a result of excellent splits on relays (see below)
- The Men’s 400 Free Relay of Nevin Cook, Sean Koehr, Connor Cook, and Daniel Koehr broke both the conference record (set by Emmanuel Christian in 1997) and our team record. I expected the conference record, but the real accomplishment to me was the team record. The record they broke was set in 2005 when Nevin and Sean were joined by Bryan Morch and Kevin Koehr. That 2005 relay had 2 high school All-America swimmers. Even though Nevin and Kevin were not All-America’s in 100 Free, I still thought that their record would not be broken for awhile. One of the biggest reasons I was wrong was Connor Cook, who split a :52.59. I suspect that I’ll be writing about more records for Connor Cook in the years to come!
- The Men’s 200 Free Relay of Nevin Cook, Daniel Koehr, Connor Cook and Sean Koehr not only crushed the conference record, but came very close to the team record set by the same 4 swimmers that set the former 400 Free relay record. The splits in this relay were ever better: Nevin led off with a :22.32, followed by Daniel’s :24.70, Connor’s :23.58 and Sean’s :23.14. Connor and Sean’s splits were particularly good compared to their PRs.
- The Girl’s 200 Medley Relay of Jessica Dunn, Mary-Kate Kenna, Lea Mazzoccoli, and Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe smashed the conference record set in 2005 when Lea and Mary-Kate were joined by Kimberley Melnyk and Seton great Katie Planchak. The new conference record of 1:58.28 is getting very close to the team record of 1:57.69 set when Jessie and Lea were joined by Melissa Dunn and Katie Planchak. Maybe they’ll get it at States?
- The Girl’s 200 Free Relay of Jessica Dunn, Alex Doonis, Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe, and Meghan Morch crushed the conference record set in 2006 by Jessie, Lea, Melissa Dunn and Katie Planchak. The splits were particularly fast, especially Alex Doonis’ :25.98 and Meghan Morch’s :25.66.
- The Girl’s 400 Free Relay of Jessica Dunn, Lea Mazzoccoli, Alex Doonis, and Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe beat the conference record by nearly 12 seconds! The previous record was set in 2005 by Seton’s Caitlin Harris, Kimberley Melnyk, Jessica Dunn, and Seton great Meg Seale. (Jessie will be swimming with Meg at St. Francis University’s NCAA Division I swimming program next season – it would be great to see more Seton girls follow them!).
New State Qualifiers
I didn’t realize it until I started analyzing the results, but we had two first-time State Meet qualifiers and another new State qualification time on Saturday. This brings our State team up to 13 girls and 6 boys. That ties the largest team we’ve ever brought to States – and the qualifying times have gotten much faster over the last two years!
- Sarah Locke cut 6.31 seconds from her previous best time in 200 IM to beat the State cut by over a second! Sarah will actually be competing in two events at States. She is working with Mrs. Duran right now on 11 dives so that she can help seal the State Championship for our girl’s team with some additional points in the diving event. Thank you to Mrs. Maureen Duran for her help as Seton’s first ever diving coach!
- Rachel Lambrecht has been inching toward the State cut in 100 Breaststroke all season long. On Saturday, she made the final jump with a 1.76 PR to get under the cut by .07 seconds! Congratulations Rachel – I’ve added you to our entries!
- Meghan Morch got her 3rd State cut when she went :59.44 in 100 Free! Two weeks ago, Meghan had never broken a minute – now she’s working to break :59. Meghan’s previous two cuts were in back-to-back events on day 1 of the State meet. This new cut allows me to enter Meghan in an individual event on each of the two days of the State meet. Congratulations Meghan!
In 22 events, there are 66 possible top three finishes. Seton swimming had 31 of those top-3 finishes, including the 11 gold medals!
- The 5 record setting relays mentioned above. There are only 6 relay events.
- Nevin Cook – 200 Free and 100 Fly, plus the 200 and 400 Free relays
- Jessica Dunn – 200 IM, plus the 200 Medley relay and the 200 and 400 Free Relays
- Connor Cook – 500 Free, plus the 200 and 400 Free relays
- Alex Doonis – 100 Backstroke plus the 200 and 400 Free relays
- Mary-Kate Kenna – 100 Breaststroke plus the 200 Medley relay
- Sean Koehr – 200 and 400 Free relays
- Daniel Koehr – 200 and 400 Free relays
- Lea Mazzoccoli – 200 Medley relay and the 400 Free relay
- Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe – 200 Medley relay, plus the 200 and 400 Free relays
- Meghan Morch – 200 Medley relay and the 400 Free relay
- Laura Talbott – 200 Freestyle and 500 Freestyle
- Connor Cook – 200 IM
- Lea Mazzoccoli – 100 Fly
- Sean Koehr – 100 Freestyle
- David Basinger – 500 Freestyle plus the 200 Medley Relay.
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn – 100 Backstroke plus the 200 Medley Relay
- Sam Quinan – 200 Medley Relay
- Sean Bartnick – 200 Medley Relay
- Kimberley Melnyk – 200 Freestyle and 100 Backstroke plus the 200 Medley Relay
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn – 200 IM
- Mary-Kate Kenna – 200 IM
- Sean Koehr – 50 Freestyle
- Alex Doonis – 50 Freestyle
- Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe – 100 Freestyle
- Bridget Wunderly – 500 Freestyle plus the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Free Relay
- Daniel Koehr – 100 Breaststroke
- Laura Talbott – 200 Medley Relay
- Meghan Morch – 200 Medley Relay
- Sarah Locke – 400 Free Relay
- Kelsey Kleb – 400 Free Relay
- Carolyn Claybrooks – 400 Free Relay
The new team record holders and State meet qualifiers were not the only swimmers to set new PRs:
- In the 500, David Basinger’s improved freestyle stroke technique resulted in 4.87 second reduction in his PR.
- Monica Byers ended her season in style with a 1.57 second PR in 100 Breaststroke. She looked like she had a pretty good time on Saturday!
- Carolyn Claybrooks just continues to get faster. She had PRs in the 200 IM, by 1.54 seconds, and the 100 Fly, by 1.18 seconds.
- Alex Doonis is flirting with :25 seconds in 50 Free. She lowered her time by another .08 to :26.19.
- Catfish Dunn lowered his 50 Back medley relay lead-off by .5 seconds. Soon, he will be under :30. He also cut his 100 Back time by .08 to 1:04.77 – pretty good for an 8th grader!
- Patrick Kenna had two PRs. He cut 1.47 seconds in 50 Back leading off the medley relay, and he inched another .02 seconds toward a sub-25 second 50 Free.
- Brendan Koehr lowered his 100 Back PR by .74 seconds
- Sean Koehr cut another .38 seconds from his 100 Free PR to go :54.30. He split at the 50 was :24.74 !
- Sarah Locke not only PR’d in her state meet qualifying 200 IM, she also set a PR in 100 Back by .19 seconds.
- Kimberley Melnyk is closing out her senior campaign with strong swims each time she hits the water. On Saturday, she cut another 1.57 seconds from her 200 Free PR.
- Andrew Minarik has shown tremendous improvement this season over last. On Saturday, he cut nearly 6 seconds from his 200 IM PR.
- Michael O’Donohue had a nice swim in the 200 Free with a 1.38 second improvement
- Sam Quinan had a great meet to end his Seton career. In 100 Free, he cut an unbelievable 7.54 seconds! Where did that come from! In 100 Breast, he cut 1.53 seconds to go an excellent time for a high school only swimmer – 1:15.37.
- Joe Ross had a great swim leading off a 200 Free relay. He was finally able to achieve his goal of a sub-26 second 50 Freestyle! Congratulations Joe!
- Krista Shaw was just super on Saturday. She had a 3.02 second PR in 100 Back and a .68 second PR in 100 Fly.
- Laura Talbott also shined on Saturday. She broke 6:00 in the 500 for the first time with a 8.92 second PR. She also cut 5.74 seconds in her already fast 200 Free.
- Christian Vestermark had PRs in both 200 IM (by .07 seconds) and in 100 Fly (by .78 seconds).
- I was so happy to see Bridget Wunderly get a payoff for all of her hard work in the pool. On Saturday, she had 3 PRs! She cut 2.37 seconds from her 500 Free, 1.20 seconds from her 100 Fly and .39 seconds from her 50 back leading off the bronze medal winning medley relay.
Other Great Swims
- If you watched only the top performers in this meet, you might have thought that Nansemond-Suffolk (actually a Division I school that I allowed to participate anyway) would have ended up much closer to us in the end than they did. The difference was our depth. On the girls side, I’m sure you noticed that we won every relay, but did you also notice that all three of our girls “B” relays got bronze medals?
- The most exciting of these relays was the girls “B” 400 Free relay when Kelsey Kleb did a PR relay split on a tremendous anchor leg to move into 3rd place. When I heard her father’s reaction from the stands, I wasn’t sure if he was just excited or if he needed help 😉
- The girls “B” 200 Free relay also had a really close race going, but Meghan Morch had a great relay start on her anchor leg to ensure that she was not going to be caught.
- On the boys side, our “B” relays didn’t medal, but they did score a lot of points. Our boys “B” 200 Medley Relay of Patrick Kenna, Michael O’Donohue, Joe Ross and Brendan Koehr had a very nice swim. Patrick Kenna split a PR leading off, Michael O’Donohue did his best every 50 Breaststroke split, Joe Rossswam very close to his best 50 Fly split ever, and Brendan anchored with a near PR 50 Free split.
- Our Boys “B” 200 Free relay of Joe Ross, Patrick Kenna, David Basinger and Sean Bartnick also earned 20 points for 5th place with 4 excellent splits. Joe led off with a PR and Sean Bartnick anchored with a 25.22.
- Catfish Dunn is going to be a good one. The great backstrokers are all great underwater. I can see that Catfish has potential to be a great backstroker.
- I just loved the way Michael O’Donohue attacked that 200 Free. He took it out in 30.89 – that’s within a couple seconds of his 50 Free PR! Obviously, he couldn’t hold that pace, but I just loved the level of effort he put into the race.
- Laura Talbott was seeded 6 seconds behind the top seed in 200 Free and 18 seconds behind the top seed in the 500 – in both cases it was the same Nansemond-Suffolk Academy swimmer. That NSA girl had to be wondering what Laura had for breakfast because in both events, Laura gave her a much, much better race than the seed time suggested.
- Catfish Dunn had his hands full with a very good freshman from Fredericksburg Academy in the 200 IM, but Catfish excellent back and breast legs were too much for the older swimmer from FA.
- Sarah Locke is going to be very good at the IM if she wants to be.
- Meghan Morch had a great start in the 50 Free
- In the 100 Free, Sean Koehr came off the blocks with a vengeance, splitting 24.74 for the lead-off 50. That was why he did his PR.
- Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe’s stroke is looking much better. It’s going to take her a little while to get her turnover rate back up with this new technique, but when she does, look for a :55 in the 100. Between her and Alex Doonis, the future of our girls sprint freestyle looks to be in pretty good hands.
- Connor Cook was a machine in the 500. He lapped everyone in the field except David Basinger.
- The only reason Connor didn’t lap David Basinger is because David was doing a great job of applying the stroke technique lessons we’ve been working on in practice. His catch-up freestyle was much better and his head was much quieter.
- Alex Doonis’ win in 100 Backstroke came all underwater.
- Mary-Kate Kenna’s underwater pull-out in Breaststroke was much better this weekend than it was at Catholic Nationals.
- I think Sarah Locke liked the pump up music before the fast heat of each event. I knew she could swim. Then I learned she could dive. Now I know that she can dance too!
I was making the long trip back to Hunt Country last night thinking about the meet. How is it that a school of our size is capable of hosting a meet of the magnitude of the Invitational on Saturday? And how is it possible for little Seton to actually be hosting the State Championship meet in two weeks? The answer is the strength of the Seton culture – a culture that encourages parents to step forward and give everything they can to make Seton the great place it is – a culture where every parent participates; where parents don’t wait for other people to step up while they watch. The other answer, for those close to the planning of this meet, is Mr. Cook.
I’m in the enviable position of being the front-man for Seton Swimming, so I’m lucky enough to be the recipient of so many compliments from parents and coaches about what a great event our Invitational has become. But the real work of hosting this meet fell to Mr. Cook. The PA system (which he got for the team), the pump-up music during warm-up and before the fast heats, the signs, the printing, the coaches packets, the name badges, and 1,000 other details, all fell to Mr. Cook, who does this all while running his own business and being a father to a rather large family. Thanks to Mr. Cook, we now show up to meet looking as much like a rock-band as a swim team.
As hard as Mr. Cook worked on the meet, it still took many others to make it the great event that it was:
- Is Mr. Minarik a natural behind a microphone or what? I’ve never heard a swim meet announcer yell over the PA, “Are you ready to rummm-bbbbbble!” It was great!
- Few things the meet took as much work as concessions. Mrs. Cook did a great job organizing the effort, and Mrs. Doonis, Mrs. Rice (Flanagan), Mrs. Wunderly were tremendously helpful. Fortunately for us, their hard work also pays off financially for the Seton Swim Team.
- The officiating is always top notch at Seton meets. Mr. Seltman, a long-time benefactor of our team, still comes to referee our meets even though his kids are long out of Seton. Mrs. Harris does a great job starting, Mr. Kenna is a big help as the admin referee, and Mrs. Mazzoccoli and Mr. Talbott were very generous to stand on the deck for the entire meet as stroke and turn judges.
- We are one of the few teams with a complete team of adults capable of using the Colorado Timing System and the Meet Manager software to run the meet. Mr. Wunderly, Mrs. Dunn, Mrs. Vestermark and Mrs. Cummings, together with Mr. Cook, can do things that schools like Fredericksburg Academy and most public schools have to pay people to do.
- One of the toughest jobs as a big, multi-team meet is the job of head timer. It never seems like the other teams supply as many timers as you’d hope so he’s the one who has to track them down. Fortunately, so many Seton parents are willing to step in.
- (I sure hope I didn’t forget anyone – I was going to call Mr. Cook, but the Patriot’s are struggling right now so I thought better of it 😉 If I did leave someone out, I apologize.)
I really don’t think it is hyperbole to say this was our best meet ever. It had great swimming, a great venue, great fanfare, great execution and great fun. I’m truly honored to say that I’m the head coach for Seton Swimming.