Now that was a fun meet on Saturday!  We swam against conference foes Fredericksburg Christian and Word of Life, with some exhibition swimmers from Highland and Wakefield.  In the process of securing our 13th conference title in a row, we had one new team record, 12 new championship qualifying times, and 61 personal records!  The meet was also a great opportunity for many swimmers to swim events that they do not normally swim.  We discovered that we had swimmers that are more versatile than previously thought.

The final scores between Seton and FCS:


Seton   200      FCS     80


Seton   169      FCS     105

Once again, we began the meet by praying for Katie Planchak who was back in the hospital with an infection.  I know that Katie and her family really appreciate all of your prayers.  With all that is going on in the Planchak family, wasn’t it great that Mr. Planchak came out to start the meet for us?  Thank you Joe!  I heard that Katie is back at school?  I look forward to seeing her back in the pool as soon as she feels able – I’ll bet she’s anxious.

Team Records

Our team records are now fast enough that the frequency in which they will be broken will definitely drop.  The exception of course will be Nevin Cook, who took down Kevin Koehr’s 200 Free record this week when he swam the event in a very fast 1:51.31.  As quick as that time sounds, I know he is capable of going 1:49 low so this record should go even lower.

Nevin is also very close to two other records.  He led off the 400 Free relay to go after Kevin’s 100 Free record of 48.69 and just missed it with a 49.10.  Nevin also just missed Lawrence Lauderdale’s 1998 record (53.56) in 100 Fly.  Nevin is only a Junior, so I think we are talking about “when”, not “if”.

Next season, I think I’m going to have to invite Lawrence to one of our meets.  I’d love to meet him.

Championship Qualifiers

It was a great meet for championship qualifications with 7 swimmers and 1 relay swimming a total of 12 new qualifying times:

–          Carolyn Claybrooks has been battling the National Catholic qualifying time in the 50 Free for some time now, and this week, her determination finally paid off.  She cut .28 seconds from her time to swim a 28.32 and get into the meet at Villanova.  This was her first qualifying time, so she should be making hotel reservations today!  Congratulations Carolyn!

–          Daniel Koehr also hit his first qualifying time for States in 100 Backstroke when he swam a 1:05.30, an improvement of exactly 1 second from his previous best time.  As you can probably imagine, it was a lot of fun for me to watch.  His 50 split was his best ever 50 backstroke time so I knew he was having a great swim.  Wearing his brother’s fastskin leg suit and with a large portion of the team cheering for him at the end of his lane, he surfaced after a great underwater off his first turn with a big smile on his face.  It’s fun when you know you are going fast.

–          Laura Talbott had already qualified to go to both State and Nationals, but she added an incredible four (4) new qualifying times to her resume this weekend.  Almost unbelievably, she cut 3.55 seconds from her 100 Free to swim a 1:00.10 and go under the cuts for both States and Nationals.  Her stroke is now longer than ever which probably explains why.  We learned how versatile Laura is when she went 1:09.88 in 100 backstroke to get both cuts in that event too.  I’ve always thought of Laura as a breaststroker, and she probably has also, but her backstroke times are now faster against the objective standards than her breaststroke times.  I’m anxious to watch her 200 IM in the future!

–          Bridget Wunderly finally did the deed in 100 backstroke.  With an improved stroke and a steely determination, she lowered her previous best time by .93 seconds to a 1:09.63 to get both backstroke cuts.  It was a truly great swim.

–          Catherine Nuar probably didn’t think of herself as a butterflier, and neither did I – until this weekend!  With a vastly improved stroke, Catherine dropped 4.5 seconds to go 1:10.78 in 100 Fly!  This was good enough to get the State cut and just missed the National cut by .28 seconds.  Catherine is one of those swimmers who listens to everything she’s told and tries to use it to make herself better.  She’s obviously been listening the last two weeks in practice as we worked on butterfly.  That’s an amazing improvement!

–          Mary-Kate Kenna already had 8 championship qualifying times, and she added one more in the 200 Free for States.  Her very hard work in practice paid off with a .87 second drop to a 2:14.64.  Few people work as hard in practice as Mary-Kate so she definitely deserves this.

–          Kimberley Melnyk is another swimmer who is seeing the results of her work ethic in practice.  She cut nearly a second off her 200 Free to swim a 2:16.17 and get under the State cut.  She has developed a really fine “long and strong” freestyle.  Kimberley already had 4 other qualifying times.

–          Boys 400 Free Relay – Nevin Cook, Sean Koehr, Connor Cook, Daniel Koehr – for the first time, these four made the Catholic National cut.  Nevin led off with a 49.10 and Daniel had a great anchor leg with a :58.93.  I was surprised to learn that they are pretty close to the Seton record held by Nevin and Sean together with Kevin Koehr and Bryan Morch.  They are going to swim this event at Villanova – I look forward to reporting that they got it!

Personal Records

Since so many swimmers swam events that they don’t normally swim, it was not surprising to see a lot of personal records.  As their strokes are improving, so are their times:

–          Emily Adamec cut 3.18 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke

–          By now, I am no longer surprised when I have to type Sean Bartnick’s name on the list of PRs.  This week, he cut 6.64 seconds from his 200 Free.

–          David Basinger had a big week with 2 PRs.  He cut over 2 seconds from his 100 Free to a 1:00.70.  I expect him to be under a minute before he reaches high school age.  He also cut over 3 seconds from his 100 Back – he now goes 1:08.92, an excellent time for an 8th grader.

–          Greg Bliss lowered his 50 Free time by .13 seconds while leading off the relay

–          It was great to see Amanda Byers get the benefit of her quiet work in practice.  We have been working on Fly these past two weeks and, as a result of her work, Amanda was able to cut 1.64 seconds from her previous best time.

–          7th grader Carly Byers dropped an incredible 12.48 seconds from her 100 Free leading off the 400 Free relay.  Great job!

–          Twin sister Monica Byers got into the act also by cutting 6.61 seconds from her 200 Free.

–          Connor Cook had two sprint PRs.  He cut nearly a half a second from his 50 Back relay lead-off and another quarter second from his 50 Free.  Connor now goes 24.79 in 50 Free, an excellent time for a Freshman distance swimmer!

–          Billy Corkery had a 2 PR performance on Saturday.  He cut .94 seconds from his 50 Free and 1.82 seconds from his 500 Free.  Billy is another one of those very hard workers in Coach Mulhern’s lanes at practice.

–          Nice job Alex Cummings.  She cut .47 seconds from her 50 Free.

–          Alex Doonis has a chance to make the consolation finals at Catholic Nationals if she can continue to improve her backstroke time.  She cut .75 seconds to get down to 1:06.57.  Making consolation finals as a 7th grader would be quite a feat.  Some roll in those hips and shoulders might be the ticket for her.

–          Catfish Dunn had two PRs with a 1.70 second improvement in the 50 Back relay lead-off and a 3.62 second improvement in 200 IM.  Think how fast he can go once he learns to swim to total exhaustion!

–          Peter Duran cut 1.72 seconds from his 100 Breast.

–          Casey Flanagan had a very nice 100 Fly, cutting an amazing 7.34 seconds.  An improved stroke makes all of the difference.  She looked very long swimming the stroke this weekend.  Her time of 1:22.79 is really fast for a 7th grader.  Watch out!

–          David Harris found some success with an improved butterfly, lowering his previous best by.67 seconds.

–          I don’t know what Megan Hoffer ate for breakfast, but somehow she managed to lower her previous best time in 100 Breast by 12.64 seconds!

–          I think Patrick Kenna will be swimming the 500 Free again.  He cut his time by 51.80 seconds!  That was good enough for 3rd place in the meet.  Excellent for an 8th grader.

–          Kelsey Kleb continued the pattern for improvement in Butterfly this week when she 1.76 seconds from her previous best in the 100.

–          Daniel Koehr did more than improve his time in 100 backstroke.  He also dropped nearly 7 seconds in the 200 IM.   His 200 IM time of 2:25.40 is really good for a freshman.

–          Sean Koehr is now officially faster than his mother.  He cut another .48 seconds from his 100 Free to go 55.31.  His mother’s best time was 55.6 back around 1981.  It’s good for a young man to be faster than his mother.

–          Hannah Lowell improves again.  This time, she dropped 1.18 seconds from her 100 Free.

–          Andrew Minarik did not have any help from the CHT when he was clocked 1.18 seconds faster that his previous best in the 100 Backstroke

–          We’ve already discussed how Catherine Nuar came from nowhere to become a championship qualifier in the 100 Fly, but her great work didn’t stop there.  She also lowered her 100 backstroke time by almost 3 seconds.

–          Michael O’Donohue had two PRs in 100 Free (by .80 seconds) and 100 Back (by .11 seconds)

–          Sam Quinan also had two PRs.  His first one was a 7.72 second improvement in 100 Fly and his second one was a 2.45 second improvement in 50 Free.  Wow!

–          Leading off a 400 Free Relay, Lizzie Rogers lowered her 100 Free by .89 seconds

–          Joe Ross had a big meet in his two newest events.  In 100 Fly, he dropped 7.69 seconds and in 100 Breast, he dropped 6.85 seconds.  I was particularly pleased with his turns.  Coach Mulhern and I have talked to Joe about focusing on these two events for a while.  We both think he has some excellent potential in them, especially the 100 Fly.

–          Krista Shaw had a pair of PRs in the 200 IM (by 3.80 seconds) and in the 100 Back (by .83 seconds).  She’s only in 8th grade – I’m expecting big things from her in the future

–          Christian Vestermark dropped his 500 Free time by nearly 15 seconds in a really fine effort.  Don’t get discouraged on that Butterfly Christian – sometimes, when you are trying to change your stroke, you get worse before you get better.  Just look at how many others improved in fly after changing their stroke – your turn is coming.

–          In one of the best races of the day, Leslie Zapiain lowered her 500 Free time by 37.66 seconds!  More on this amazing swim below.

–          Sarah Zapiain had PRs in two events.  She lowered her 100 Fly time by 3.01 seconds and her 100 Breast time by 2.21 seconds.  She’s only in 7th grade and is already starting to get competitive with the highschoolers.

Other Great Performances

–          You may not have noticed, but we had a few siblings swimming with us.  Keeley Cook, Patrick Koehr, and Brian Koehr joined us in some relays and did very well.  I am thankful that they were willing to step in and swim with us, filling out some relays.  If they didn’t swim, we wouldn’t have had enough to make another relay so there would have been kids who didn’t get to swim that event.  Thanks for your help!

–          We had several first-timers in the 200 Free including Keith Hetrick, Andrew Minarik, John Ross and Matthew Verry.  They did a great job, even doing flip turns on every wall.  Did anyone else notice that Andrew looks a little like older brother (and graduate) Tony in the water the way he reaches out so far in front on every stroke?  Could be a good sign.

–          The girls 200 Free was a great race between Lea Mazzoccoli, Mary-Kate Kenna and Kimberley Melnyk.  Lea ended up winning it, pulling Mary-Kate and Kimberley to PRs.  The 4th place finisher was nearly 20 seconds behind the 3 of them.

–          I just love how Maggie Murphy is always smiling, even while she’s swimming the 200 Free.

–          Since we’ve been working so much on butterfly in practice recently, I was really paying attention to the butterfly legs of the 200 IM.  Daniel Koehr, David Harris and Catfish Dunn are really starting to get a nice butterfly strokes.  Dan’s in particular, was the best I’ve seen form him ever.

–          Brendan Koehr, Joe Duran, Sam Quinan and Paul Laudiero took a stab at the 200 IM for the first time.  Brendan Koehr swam so well, that he would have scored in 6th place if he were not entered as an exhibition swimmer.

–          I’m so glad that Christian “Rocky” Kleb is swimming with us this season.  He started as the team manager, but decided he wanted to give it try.  So now, every morning, he shows up to practice in his old-school, knit hat with the little bill on the back and his old-school polyester warm-up jacket.  The outfit looks like something you’d expect Sylvester Stallone to wear if he were coming to an early swimming practice.  He’s a tough kid too.  Hey Rocky – nice job this week when you tried 100 Breaststroke for the first time.

–          Another sibling that swam in the meet was Christiana Mazzoccoli.   When she was swimming the 50 Free, I looked up at Lea and said “who’s that?”  When Lea told me it was here little 6th grade sister, I was amazed.  Had Christiana been an official swimmer, she would have placed 6th in 50 Free and 4th in 100 Breaststroke!

–          Sean Bartnick tried butterfly for the first time this week and did very well.  The possibilities for him in Seton Swimming just keep getting bigger.

–          Kelsey Kleb had a nice swim in Butterfly.  After her PR performance, I told her that I was happy to see her so excited.  She said “and I get Mrs. Morch’s coffee cake, which is even more exciting!”  I wonder if Mr. Morch finds it to be that good?

–          I love to see the look of determination on a swimmer’s face, which is why I enjoyed watching Ann Duran swim 100 Butterfly so much.  It was her first time swimming the event, and she did a really great job.  I think she’s finally realized that this isn’t soccer 😉

–          Kevin Bliss has been working hard with Coach Hoffer this season so felt able to try the 100 Breaststroke for the first time.  He did the stroke very well and finished strong.  Great job Kevin

–          I think the girls 500 Free had to be the race of the meet.  Leslie Zapiain swam head-to-head with an FCS swimmer for the first 300 yards.  They had set a blistering pace so it looked like just a matter of time before one of them would have to drop off.  Around the 13th length, it became clear that it was not going to be Leslie as she started to pull away.  When I looked back at around the 15th length, I noticed that another Seton swimmer, Sarah Locke, had pulled up beside this poor FCS girl.  They pushed each other for another 3 or 4 lengths until Sarah put her away and starting to walk down Leslie!  I knew Leslie had to be tired by looking at her splits, but she held on for 1st place.  Sarah took 2nd.  When I looked at the clock, I had to double check the seed time.  It is not often that someone improves by over 37 seconds, but that is what Leslie did.  I didn’t have a previous time on Sarah, but her father thinks she improved by at least 15 seconds.  What a great race!

–          Lucy Bennett also had a great swim in the 500 Free.  Like a lot of first-timers, she was really nervous about swimming this race, especially considering that she was swimming 100 Fly just 2 events before it.  I’m glad she swam it, because she did an excellent time.  I expect to use her in the 500 more often since I now know she can be pretty good at it.

–          Looking at the relay splits, I noticed that Michael O’Donohue had a really good split in the 200 Free relay.  You expect a relay split to be faster than an individual race time because of the rolling start, but Michael’s split was more than a second faster than his best time.  David Harris’ 200 Free relay split was almost more than 1.5 seconds faster than his best 50 Free time!

–          We had a girls 400 Free relay that really overachieved.  Carly Byers, Emily Adamec, Grace Van de Voorde and Hannah Lowell as had splits that were much faster than their best 100 Free times.  It is really great to see swimmers give their 100% personal best effort, even on an exhibition relay.  You should always push for excellence, even if you think no one is watching.

The Rest of the Regular Season

We have two more regular season meets before the Championship season.  This Saturday, we are swimming against Trinity Episcopal, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy and Covenant at the ACAC Aquatic Center in Midlothian on the southside of Richmond.  There are some limited exhibition opportunities, but not everyone will be swimming.  I’ll publish the meet sheet with the logistical details by tomorrow night.

The following weekend, while a group of qualifying swimmers is with Coach Mulhern and Claybrooks at Villanova, I’ll have a JV team in Norfolk.  Most of the eligible swimmers have responded, but I’m still missing a few.  I don’t have all of the details from the Norfolk Academy coach yet, but I’ll let you know the plan once I have enough info to figure it out.

I’m also pleased to announce that our captains for the JV meet will be Joe Ross and Amanda Byers.  I know their leadership will help make it a great meet for everyone involved.

Congratulations again on a great performance last Saturday.  I look forward to an equally strong performance this coming weekend.

Coach Koehr

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