Last Saturday, at the Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF), Seton Swimming hosted our 3rd annual Junior Varsity Invitational. It gave our younger swimmers a chance to shine – and shine they did! With 9 teams participating from as far away as Richmond and Norfolk, Seton had the highest combined score (boys and girls) and showed that the future of Seton Swimming will be very strong. Separately, our boys placed second to Collegiate School and our girls placed second to Norfolk Academy, both perennial Division I powerhouses. It was also great to see so many Varsity swimmers come out to cheer on their teammates and help time.
On the strength of another 57 Personal Records (PRs), our JV swimmers ran our season total PR count to 511, eclipsing our goal of 500 PRs for the season – before the championship season has even begun!
The final combined scores for JV Invitational turned out like this:
Seton School 493
Collegiate School 451
Norfolk Academy 346
Flint Hill 247
Bishop Ireton 229
Pope John Paul the Great 183
Fork Union Military 108
Nearly every Seton swimmer in the meet hit at least one PR. Before discussing those, let me highlight a few of the most memorable performances I saw:
- Eighth grader Steven Shaw has the potential to be a future star for Seton Swimming if he keeps improving the way he has this season. His backstroke has gotten particularly good – the length of his stroke and his body roll are very good – and very fast! In the 50 backstroke, he cut 3.93 seconds off of his PR (that’s a lot of time for such a short race) and took 3rd in the meet overall. He was in the 2nd to last heat and won his heat by several body lengths. Steven also cut 6.93 seconds from his 100 IM PR and 1.76 seconds from his 50 Fly PR. In the 50 Fly, he had his second top 8 finish of the day, finishing 7th overall.
- I was very excited watching the final heat of the girls 50 Back. In that heat, there were 6 swimmers who finished within one second of each other, and Monica Byers out-touched all of them! Her best competition came from former Seton swimmer Krista Shaw, who Monica out-touched by only .13 seconds. Like Steven, her stroke is excellent, particularly her shoulder roll. Monica also cut 2.67 seconds from her 100 Free PR and 1.25 seconds from her 100 IM PR.
- Assistant Coaches Mary Kate Kenna and Mrs. Hoffer must be very proud of Michael Hill, whose breaststroke now looks so good that I had to double check the meet program to make sure it was him. Michael is a first year swimmer who started in the beginner lanes at practice – on Saturday, he placed 9th overall in 50 Breaststroke and anchored our 200 Breaststroke relay to a 2nd place finish overall. Michael also had a 1.03 second PR in 100 Free and a .42 second PR in 50 Free
- I continue to be excited about our 7th grade boys in the class of 2014 – the Fab 14s. The swims Jamie Smith, Timmy Murphy, Joseph Kenna, Joseph Kosten and Connor Kleb in the 200 Medley and the 200 Free relays took 5th overall in both races.
- Joseph Kenna was particularly fast. In the 50 Free, he broke :27 seconds when he went :26.84 to win a bet with his father and take 4th place overall. In the 100 Free, Joseph cut .70 seconds to nearly break 1:00 and take 7th place overall.
- Jamie Smith also had two top 8 finishes for the day. After cutting .56 seconds from his 50 Back PR, he took 4th place overall in the event. He also took 8th place overall in 50 Fly.
I never would have thought it was possible, but we had three swimmers finish the season with an unbelievable record of improvement – they swam a PR every single time they swam in an individual event this season! The three swimmers that pulled off the impossible:
- Incredibly, Kevin Bliss cut an amazing 12.37 seconds from his 100 Free PR. He also cut 3.99 seconds from his 50 Breast PR and .43 seconds from his 50 Free PR. Wow! It is amazing what can happen with a little focus.
- Emily Lowell was just super on Saturday, swimming for three more Personal Records. Emily swam a 1.55 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay, and she cut another .10 seconds from her PR during the 50 back individual event. She also swam a 1.02 second PR in 50 Free. One reason that I think Emily has experienced so much improvement is her concentration on stroke technique. Very few people in practice concentrate on doing the drills as perfectly as Emily
- Joseph Kosten somehow managed to drop 3.75 seconds in 100 Free and 2.07 seconds in 50 Free. These are not small improvements, especially considering that he has improved so many times before.
Two other swimmers came within one swim of duplicating the feat accomplished by these three swimmers.
- David Lambrecht finished with a three PR performance when he cut .92 seconds in 50 Back, .90 seconds in 50 Free and .65 seconds in 100 Free.
- How do you cut 5.61 seconds from your 100 Free PR this late in the season? Well you can ask Theresa Verry who did it on Saturday. Theresa also cut 3.01 seconds from her 50 Back PR. It was the 50 Free that did her in – she came within .17 seconds of maintaining her perfect record in that event – sooo close!
Congratulations to all five of these swimmers for an accomplishment of which they can be very proud.
More Personal Records
There was a degree of excitement in the air at the WARF, and it showed in many of the Personal Record performances we saw:
- John Ross rocked this weekend with 3 PRs and a tremendous performance in the Breaststroke relay. His PRs came in 100 IM (by 5.97 seconds), 50 Breast (by 2.02 seconds) and in 50 Free (by .13 seconds).
- Joseph Scheetz lowered his 100 Free PR by 7.44 seconds! Once again, a beginning student of Assistant Coaches Mary Kate Kenna and Mrs. Hoffer shined on Saturday.
- 8th grader Keeley Cook sure had a good meet, ending the day with two top-8 finishes and two more PRs. In 100 IM, she cut 4.25 seconds and finished 5th overall. She also took 5th overall in 50 Back with a .29 second PR.
- First year Seton swimmer, Freshman Sarah McGurk has very quietly shown her new-found proficiency in the short-axis strokes. In 50 Butterfly, she cut over 2.5 seconds and took 3rd place overall. In 50 Breaststroke, an event she swam for the first time at Seton, she took 9th place overall.
- Maggie Murphy had plenty to smile about on Saturday. She cut 2.72 seconds from her 50 Breast PR, which was good enough for a top-8 finish (6th) in the meet. She also cut time in her 50 Fly.
- Sarah Zapiain was very strong on Saturday, twice finishing in the top 8 overall. She placed 4th in 50 Fly with a 1.23 second PR, and she finished 6th in 100 IM with a 2.58 second PR. Sarah is going to be a real player for us in the future.
- Thomas Kosten’s work ethic in practice is a model for everyone who swims with him, and I’m very happy to say that he is getting rewarded for his hard work. Thomas has been working particularly hard on his breaststroke – his 7.97 second PR in 50 Breast was the result. That is a whole lot of time to drop in only a 50 yard race.
- Freshman Michael Collins has to be one of the most improved swimmers this season, and he continued the trend with 3 PRs last Saturday. In his most improved stroke, Breaststroke, he cut 8.85 seconds. In 50 Back leading off the medley relay, he cut 5.02 seconds, and in 50 Free, he cut .19 seconds.
- Fab-14s member Timmy Murphy showed that he is not just a breaststroker when he cut 1.88 seconds from his 50 Fly.
- Matthew Verry had a two PR meet on Saturday. He cut 4.64 seconds from his 50 Breaststroke PR and 3.54 seconds from his 50 Back PR while leading off a medley relay. I can already see that, in the future, Matthew Verry will be able to play the role that David Harriscurrently plays – use his versatility to score for the team in the difficult events.
- Bernadette Wunderly is another swimmer who is going to bring lots of versatility to the party in the years to come. She cut over 8 seconds from her 100 IM PR, 2.41 seconds from her 50 Fly PR and .76 seconds from her 50 Back PR.
- Judith Cummings had a nice swim in the 50 Fly when she lowered her PR by 1.54 seconds. Swimming butterfly is a great way to score points for team during the regular season, as well as points toward a Varsity letter.
- Eileen Heim has made big improvement this season. On Saturday, she dropped 3.33 in 50 Backstroke leading off a medley relay.
- Sarah Heim expanded her horizons by trying the butterfly again. It was obviously a good experience for her since she swam it 3.60 seconds faster than her first try at time trials back in November.
- I think that 7th grader Julia Irving has some serious potential on our team. She swam a very good time in 50 Fly, and it was .99 seconds than her previous best. She also improved by .81 seconds in 50 back.
- Emma Mooney did a great job in 50 Free when she lowered her PR by 1.19 seconds – she did it by getting very long with each stroke. That was a great way to wrap up her season.
- 8th grader James Mosimann showed some great improvement in 50 Back when he lowered his PR by 1.65 seconds. I also watched James demonstrate a text book relay start in the 200 Backstroke relay
- Monica Mosimann also cut time in 50 Back with an improvement of .66 seconds.
- Abbie Purnell ended her season in style with a .72 second PR in 50 back leading off a medley relay.
- Lizzie Rogers showed consistent improvement all season long by quietly working hard at every practice. I enjoyed watching her cut .42 seconds from her 50 Back PR and .26 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
Other Good Swims
- Sarah Blanchard has really made an impression during her first season on the team. In an event with over 70 entries, Sarah took 5th in 50 Free. Sarah was so competitive all season long, that it was hard to believe that she is only in 8th grade. I expect to see Sarah competing at States and Nationals in the years to come.
- Hannah Lowell has spent this season and last working hard to improve her stroke – her technique now shows the results of her work. During the last few meets, I have seen her work to improve her turnover on the sprints without cutting her stroke short. Keep working at it Hannah, and you will see the results you seek.
- Connor Kleb wrapped up a good season at the Invitational. During the year, he worked hard at every practice which results in big time improvements, particularly in 50 and 100 Free, 100 Back and 100 Breast. See you next season Connor!
- Mary Kate Rivenburg also ended a good season on Saturday. During the year, she showed a lot of improvement, especially in 50 Free and 100 Backstroke. I’m looking forward to getting Mary Kate back on the team next season.
- I enjoyed having Ali Salas on the team this year. She had her biggest improvements this year in 50 Free and 100 Back. I also looking forward to getting her back next year.
Two Big Meets Next Weekend
Next weekend, we have two big meets. Our top swimmers will venture up to Villanova University in Philadelphia to compete in the National Catholic High School Championships. I’ve posted the psych sheet under Meet Information on this site. If you take a look at it, there are several reasons to get excited – remember, a top 16 finish in a meet like this is a great accomplishment and means that you swim in the finals on Sunday:
- Jameson Hill is seeded 1st in 200 Free and 2nd in 100 Free. In the 200, Jameson will be competing with an O’Connell swimmer named Michael Flach who is very fast. In the 100, I entered Jameson at :46.03, a time that is .10 seconds faster than the Virginia State record – hard to believe he seeded 2nd. Fortunately, your seeding is not what matters – it’s where you finish!
- In the Girls 50 Free, Alex Doonis and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe are seeded 3rd and 5th, respectively. It would be very exciting to get two Seton swimmers in the top 8!
- In 100 Free, we are seeded even better. Lauren Donohoe is seeded 2nd and Alex Doonis is seeded 4th! Remember, The Machine is only a sophomore and Alex is only a freshman.
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay, with Bridget Wunderly, Mary Kate Kenna, Carolyn Claybrooks and Cat Rogers, is seeded 5th!
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay, with Connor Cook, Daniel Koehr, David Basinger and Jameson Hill is seeded 9th with a time that is very close to 6th. Beat PVI!
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay, with Alex Doonis, Lauren Donohoe, Laura Talbott and Cat Rogers is seeded 7th. 4th place, or even 3rd looks possible if they swim like they are capable of.
- Our Girls 400 Free is seeded a solid 5th with Alex Doonis, Lauren Donohoe, Carolyn Claybrooks and Laura Talbott.
- Mary Kate Kenna is seeded 6th in 100 Breaststroke and 11th in 200 IM
- Our boys 400 Free Relay is seeded 8th with Jameson Hill, Connor Cook, David Basinger and Vincent “Catfish” Dunn.
- Connor Cook is seeded 10th in 200 IM and could jump into the top 8 with a good swim. He is also seeded 10th in 100 Backstroke with a time close to 7th.
- Carolyn Claybrooks is seeded 11th in 200 Free and 12th in 100 Free.
- Bridget Wunderly is seeded 11th in 100 Fly with a time that is very close to 8th.
- Laura Talbott is seeded 16th in 50 Free.
As you can see, that is quite a few possible top 8 finishes. I can’t wait to see the finals on Sunday. For Saturday’s prelims, I will be helping Mr. Cook host the Seton Invitational at Freedom, so I’ve arranged for a serious coaching upgrade on that day. Coach Rick Benner of QDD, who coached a Olympic gold medalists and a couple of Olympic teams, will be acting as Seton’s head coach for a day. Learn as much as you can from him – you don’t get an opportunity like this very often.
As for the Invitational meet we are hosting on Saturday, I have posted the entries under Meet and Team Information. This is the 4th year we’ve hosted this meet, and it is always a lot of fun. We have teams coming from all over the state.
If you are entered in the invitational, I’m expecting to see you at practice! Let’s wrap up the season with some top performances!