This past Sunday (Jan 26th), Coach Lowell and I traveled to the Prince George’s Aquatic Facility by FedEx Field with five (5) girls and one (1) boy to the 1st annual East Coast Catholic Classic (ECCC), a new meet intended to replace what we used to know as National Catholics.  Many of the Catholic schools that we saw at our own NoVa Catholics were there, including our friends from Bishop Ireton, Bishop O’Connell and John Paul the Great.

It was a very fast meet, but not too fast for our girls, all of whom had at least one opportunity swim during the championship finals.  With only six (6) swimmers, we had 11 Personal Records and one new team record – Anna Kenna broke a very fast team record in 50 Back, previously set by Alex Doonis back in 2012!  Anna’s 28.33 beat the old record by .04 seconds.

When I went to all of the effort required to put up our record board in the gym (thanks for the help Mr. Vander Woude!), I wasn’t thinking that I’d be spending much time updating panels.  After all, if you look at the times on that board, you see the end result of some pretty incredible swimming during past seasons.  But now I’m thinking that I’m going to need to track down the supplier of the letters I use, because I’m going to need a bigger supply of the letter “n”!

Fast Swimming in Prince George’s County

  • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Anna Kenna, Emily Heim, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna were simply outstanding this weekend, swimming a season best 1:56.54 in prelims, or 2.38 seconds faster than their previous best this year. That swim was good enough to qualify them in 6th place for the Finals, where they ultimately took 8th place after both Claire and Alex started feeling sick.  In prelims, they beat our friendly rivals from Bishop Ireton and came within .36 seconds of beating Bishop O’Connell!  I’ll highlight everyone’s individual contribution below.
  • We have many options for how to swim this relay for States, and I’m still experimenting to find the fastest combination. It looks to me like the versatile Alex Sinner could possibly swim either Breaststroke or Butterfly, so the question is which combination will give us the best chance of “coming back to music” (i.e. qualifying in the top 8) at States.  I’m trying a 3rd different alternative this coming weekend with Alex swimming breaststroke and Kimberly Rector swimming Butterfly, and then I will look at the splits over the season to figure out which way is the fastest.  Of course, there are two other relays, so no one will be off of an “A” relay, no matter how this turns out.
  • Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Anna Kenna, Kimberly Rector, Alex Sinner and Emily Heim also swam well while overcoming sickness to take 7th place. With Alex Sinner throwing up before the race and Claire Kenna lying sick on a bench out of the meet, I was very pleased to see that they swam even faster in Finals than they did in prelims thanks to a great lead-off leg by Anna Kenna and an inspired relay split from Emily Heim who substituted at the last minute for Claire.  More on each swimmer’s contribution to this relay below.

Here’s how each of our swimmers did individually during the meet:

  • Anna Kenna had yet another fabulous meet, swimming in four (4) events, setting four (4) new PRs, and qualifying for finals four (4) times:
    • Leading off the medley relay, I already mentioned that Anna’s 28.33 split was a new team record, but I’ll also mention that it was the fastest 50 Back split in the entire meet! That was quite an accomplishment given that she’s only in 8th
    • In 100 Fly, Anna set a new PR by a huge 1.80 seconds to go 1:02.89 and qualify 6th for the championship finals. She kept her hands very light out front, even when she got tired, and I think that made a big difference for her.  In Finals, she also swam well, ultimately taking the 7th place medal home
    • In 100 Back, she set another huge PR, this time dropping 1.74 seconds to 1:01.73! How does she keep getting these huge drops from times that are already the fastest on the team – boy or girl?  That swim in prelims qualified her 4th and she ultimately took home yet another 7th place medal.
    • By the time we got to the Finals of the 400 Free Relay, Anna just had to be tired, but she wasn’t done. Somehow, she managed to lead off with an incredible 64 for 100 Free, which established her fourth Personal Record of the day, this time by .24 seconds.
    • It is really going to be fun to see how much faster Anna can get!
  • Alex Sinner also had a breakthrough meet – the type of performance I’ve been waiting for all season – and boy did she give it to me! I think Alex is peaking just at the right time – and so does she.  Right before the meet, she told me she was going to swim well:
    • In the prelims of the 200 Medley Relay, Alex handled the Butterfly duties and swam her fastest split of the season at 28.96. I could not have been happier with that – and it was a part of the reason why our relay time was so fast.
    • In 200 IM, Alex dropped 1.29 seconds to swim a personal record 2:23.89, good enough to qualify her in 6th for the Finals. Alex is one of the few swimmers that seems to be equally good in all four (4) strokes and that is why she is so strong in the IM.  Ultimately, she took home the 7th place medal from Finals.
    • Her 100 Breaststroke was truly her breakout race of the day. In prelims, she went a lifetime best 1:14.01, dropping an incredible 3.17 seconds from her PR and leaving her with the fastest 100 Breaststroke time on the girls team this season.  After the 200 IM, I found Alex next to a trash can throwing up, but she was still able to finish her race in Finals to take the 8th place medal home for the event.
    • And in the 400 Free Relay Finals, even after throwing up, Alex managed to split a very solid 1:00.91 for her leg and help us bump past Archbishop Spaulding High School to take 7th place in the event. I’m sure it was tough, but I always like to see swimmers power through adversity and not become victims.  Alex certainly showed the kind of courage that I like to see with that swim.
  • Joe Kosten was a man possessed on Saturday, and it couldn’t have happened to a harder working kid. I watch the way Joe leads Coach Lowell’s practice lane, so it is really no surprise to me that he’s going to see some good results on the weekends – and boy did he:
    • In the 50 Free, Joe was off the blocks like a cat and was actually winning his heat from the outside lane at the turn. After a great turn, Joe hit the wall in a blazing 24.04 which was a PR by another .21 seconds!  And that got Joe his first State cut of the season.
    • Now remember, Joe used to swim much more each week as a member of NCAP’s USA Swimming team, but this season, he’s swimming just a few times a week with us. Given these circumstances, it would not be surprising that Joe’s PRs from those previous seasons, especially for the longer 100 yard races, might be hard to match.  But in 100 Breaststroke, Joe defied the odds and finally got back to that elusive 1:07 he’s been looking for all season.  His 1:07.69 was just above his lifetime best, but it was 4.40 seconds faster than his best time this season.  Joe’s back to States in 100 Breaststroke once again!
  • Emily Heim did some very fine swimming this weekend, particularly in the Finals when everyone was so tired. I really liked how she performed under those difficult circumstances:
    • In the 200 Medley Relay, Emily hit her best splits of the season, going a 33.14 in the Finals.
    • Even though I could tell that Emily was a little disappointed with her times in the morning’s prelims, she didn’t let that keep her from performing at her best when it counted the most in the Finals. In the morning, she qualified 12th in 100 Breaststroke with a time of 1:16.05, not a time she’s used to seeing.  But in the evening’s Finals, she really stepped it up and went a 1:14.75 – a .16 second PR!  That was good enough to move her up to a 11th place finish in Finals.
    • As good as that swim was, that wasn’t the swim that pleased me the most. With Claire feeling very sick, I plugged Emily into Claire’s anchor spot in the 400 Free Relay at the last minute.  Not only did Emily have very little warning, but the 400 Free Relay is the event immediately after 100 Breaststroke, so she also had very little rest.  But that didn’t keep her from splitting a 1:01.31, a split time nearly 2.5 seconds faster than her standing start PR!  Old football coaches have an expression – “next man in” – meaning, if someone gets hurt, the next player is expected to step up.  Well Emily really stepped up last Sunday.
  • Claire Kenna seemed to be feeling a little off all day, and unfortunately for her, she just kept feeling worse as the day wore on:
    • In spite of feeling a little off early in the day, her first two swims were very fine. In the 200 Medley Relay, Claire had the best anchor split of the season at 25.91!
    • And then in the Prelims of the 50 Free, she hit a Personal Record with a great time of 26.46 or .11 seconds faster than her previous best. That swim was fast enough to qualify her 6th for the Finals.
    • By the time we got to the prelims of the 100 Free though, I could tell Claire was starting to feel sicker – she hadn’t eaten all day, and when we went to lunch she could not eat either.
    • In spite of that, she came back to the Finals session to split 26.58 on the anchor of our 200 Medley Relay to take 8th place and then she managed to secure the 8th place medal in the 50 Free Final
    • After the 50 Free Final, I knew she was done so I pulled her from the rest of meet and let her sleep on the bench. Claire showed a lot of courage on Sunday, and I was very proud of her.
  • Kimberly Rector had some good swims and some tough breaks:
    • Her best swim of the day was in 100 Breaststroke where she was just off her Personal Record with a 1:16.95, a time that would have qualified her 13th for Finals – until she was DQ’d for flinching on the start. That false start is not one that you see very often, but in these big meets, these things are going to get called.  Much better for it to happen here than at States!
    • Kimberly also took 12th place in the 200 Free and swam a solid leg on our 7th place 400 Free Relay.

New Qualifiers for the VISAA State Championship Meet

As I mentioned, Joe Kosten added himself to our State Meet Roster for two individual events: 50 Free and 100 Breaststroke.

So with two meets left to qualify, here are the swimmers who have qualified individually for States, so far:

MeetGirlsBoys
StatesKimberly Rector

·       200 IM

·       500 Free

·       100 Free

·       100 Breast

·       50 Free

·       100 Fly

·       200 Free

Claire Kenna

·       50 Free

·       100 Free

·       200 Free

·       100 Breast

Anna Kenna

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       50 Free

·       200 IM

·       500 Free

·       50 Free

·       200 Free

Alex Sinner

·       100 Fly

·       100 Back

·       200 IM

·       100 Free

·       100 Breast

·       500 Free

·       50 Free

·       200 Free

Emily Heim

·       100 Breast

200 Medley Relay “A”

200 Medley Relay “B”

200 Free Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “A”

400 Free Relay “B”

Joe Kosten

·       50 Free

·       100 Breast

200 Medley Relay

200 Free Relay

400 Free Relay

We are really pushing hard in practice during the month of January – do everything you can not to miss practice so we can all be ready for the last three (3) championship meets starting with our VISAA Division II Invitational this Saturday.

The Remainder of the Championship Season

This East Coach Catholic Classic was the first of four (4) championship meets for us this season.  The remaining three (3) meets are over the next three (3) weekends, including:

  • The VISAA Division II Invitational Championship – Saturday, February 1st at the Freedom Center
  • The DAC Conference Championship – Saturday, February 8th at St. Michael the Archangel
  • The VISAA State Swimming and Diving Championship – Friday and Saturday, February 14-15th at the Freedom Center.

Entries and information are posted for the Division II Invitational next Saturday.  All Varsity swimmers should be on deck ready to stretch by 12:39 p.m. at Freedom.  Non-varsity swimmers are of course welcomed to join the team on deck – but wear your uniform.

See you at practice!

Coach Jim Koehr

Seton Swimming’s G.E.M.S.

What makes Seton Swimming special?

N

Gratitude

“Who has it better than us? Nobody!”

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Excellence

We focus on better. Good takes care of itself.

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Meekness

We help our opponents over the bar that we raised by winning

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Sacrifice

We offer it up. We love all of our teammates.

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