Last weekend, January 29th and 30th, Seton Swimming traveled to Villanova University and LaSalle University in Philadelphia for the National Catholic High School Swimming Championships and showed that we could compete with Catholic schools, primarily from the Mid-Atlantic region, that were much larger than Seton.

The Seton girls placed 8th overall, ahead of Bishop O’Connell and just 5 points behind Bishop Ireton and our boys finished 10th overall.  I’m sure our girls would have finished higher had I not chosen to declare a false start for Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe’s two individual events in order to protect her wrist for States in 3 weeks.

Seton Swimming made enough of an impression, that I’ve already received a couple phone calls from newspapers asking for information, quotes and photos.  Keep an eye out in the Manassas Journal Messenger and the Arlington Catholic Herald.  Here is a link that has already been posted:

Arlington Catholic Herald –

Manassas Journal News & Messenger –

Cat Rogers Takes Home the Silver in 50 Free

At the beginning of the season, I don’t think that I would have predicted that 50 Free would be Cat Rogers’ strongest event, but I think this may have become the case.  She didn’t even really compete for us in the event last season except as a member of our 200 Free Relay.  Well she’ll certainly be competing in the event for us from now on!

In prelims at Villanova, Cat swam a PR 24.88 to take the 2nd seed going into Finals, behind only the defending National Catholic Champion from St. John’s College High School in Annapolis.  In the finals at a beautiful LaSalle University pool facility, Cat approached the block with the focus we’ve come to expect from her.  The heat was very fast and Cat ended up with the Silver medal after swimming another PR 24.77.

Our team record is 24.72, held by Alex Doonis and Lauren Donohoe’s best time is 24.84 – isn’t that exciting!  I can hardly contain myself whenever I think of the prospect of having 3 girls at states under :25 in the 50 Free – and two of them are Juniors!  Not even perennial Division I State Champion St. Catherine’s in Richmond can say that.

Seton Swimming holds every DAC Conference Championship meet record for short course yards except one – 50 Free.  The record is 25.72 held by Fredericksburg Christian great Keri Jones who set it in 2005.  The only time we can break a conference record is at our Invitational and at the DAC Conference Championship meet, and we just haven’t been able to get it done when we’ve had the chance.  Last year, we lost the opportunity to break it because of snow.  Well this year, it is definitely going down, even if I have to put all three of these girls in the 50 Free at DAC Champs!

Sorry for the digression – Back to Cat’s great performance at National Catholics:  Cat also came within .12 seconds of breaking our team record in 100 Breaststroke with her tremendous 1:09.69 in Prelims.  That team record was set by the Seton great Katie Shipko way back in 1998.  I think it is just a matter of time before one of our oldest girls records goes down to Cat Rogers.  In the finals at LaSalle, Cat entered in the 3rd seed and ended up 5th overall.

I traded messages with the editor of the Arlington Catholic Herald, Michael Flach, who e-mailed to congratulate our team.  He noted that we had a lot of great swims, but the one swimmer he mentioned by name was Cat Rogers.  Mr. Flach’s son was racing against Jameson Hill at the University of South Carolina this past weekend, so he knows swimming – and obviously recognizes that he’ll need to be following Cat’s progress in the future.

Girls Relays Take Two Bronze Medals – “The Machine” Ready for States

One of the things that excited me most before the season began was the prospect of what Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe could do once we could team up the four of them in the 200 sprint relays.  We had a chance to see them perform at the Homecoming meet in December, but National Catholics was the first time they had a chance to perform in a championship setting.  They certainly made the most of that opportunity, beating all Virginia-based relay teams, including O’Connell and Ireton, and taking home two bronze medals.

During Prelims, our girls 200 Medley Relay swam well to qualify 5th for finals at 1:55.82 – not a PR, but good enough to get us into the “A” Final.  Alex Doonis did a PR backstroke split of 29.47 after experimenting with a harder kick and Bridget Wunderly swam a PR split of 28.20 for the Fly.  The one we were all watching though was Lauren Donohoe.  This was her very first time back in the water since her car accident, and we all wanted to see how she could do.  She swam a 25.80 split (at the meet, we thought it was a 26.80 because that lane on the scoreboard had a display problem).  I know I was very happy with that because she said the pain wasn’t bad.  After that race, we decided that it was time to see the trainer and try to swim the next race with a taped wrist.  We also decided to declare false starts in her two individual events.

For the Prelims of girls 200 Free Relay, we again swam well enough to qualify 4th and get into the “A” Final with a 1:44.35.  Everyone was off of their PRs, but that would change during finals.  Lauren was able to split another 25 high with less pain so we were all feeling good for finals the next day at LaSalle.

At Finals, our girls gave us a preview of what could happen at States.  In the 200 Medley Relay, our girls swam a PR 1:54.43 and took the Bronze Medal.  That time beat every Virginia school.  Alex Doonis swam another PR backstroke split of 28.79, breaking :29 for the first time ever.  Cat swam close to her PR, Bridget swam a PR fly split of 28.16 and Lauren got down to a 25.47 with her freshly taped wrist.  Everyone was psyched for the 200 Free Relay.

One of the most exciting things about the race was watching Lauren walk down and pass the Bishop Ireton anchor leg.  The BI Coach, a very enthusiastic and friendly guy, has taken to chanting “Beat Seton” – which I take as a compliment.  It was a lot of fun walking by his team area after the race to trade a few jabs.  But, of course, that was before I knew that his girls would ultimately beat us by 5 points in the meet – ouch!  States is coming.

In the 200 Free Relay, our girls won the Bronze Medal with a 1:43.17.  Cat Rogers had the fastest split of the group with a 24.76 and Lauren got under :25 with an anchor split of 24.89!  The Machine is officially back.

These two relays have the potential for the Gold or Silver Medal at States.  As happy as I was with their performance, I think we all realize that we’re going to have to do better splits than the ones we did this past weekend if we are to challenge the likes of St. Catherine’s and Collegiate for the gold medal – and I know we will.

Just as I was getting ready to post this commentary when I received a report of the Top 16 times in the State so far this season – I’ll post them under the State Meet section of Meet & Team Information.  The reports confirm what I already knew about our girls relays:

  • In the Girls 200 Free Relay, our 1:42.87 at the Homecoming meet in December is the fastest time in the State so far this year. It is .18 seconds faster than Norfolk Academy’s relay and .49 seconds faster than Catherine’s.  We are the defending State Champions in this event and 3 of our 4 swimmers from last year are back.
  • In the Girls 200 Medley Relay, our 1:54.43 is the 2nd fastest time swum in the State this season, only .15 seconds behind St. Catherine’s and .88 seconds ahead of Bishop Ireton. Since the 200 Medley is the first event at States every year, we won’t have to wait long for the fun to begin in Christiansburg!

Alex Doonis takes Bronze in 100 Free

I think we may have found a new event for Alex Doonis at States – 100 Free.  At prelims, Alex swam 55.60 to qualify for the “A” Final tied for 3rd.  She went out in 26.16 and came back in 29.44.  In the 100 Free Final the next day, after swimming so well in the medley relay, Alex took it out in a very fast 25.98.  At the 50, she was leading the field!  At the 75 she was leading the field!  Then, on the last 25, the race really tightened up, and she ended up the Bronze Medal with a very fast 55.09.

I was very pleased with the way Alex approached that race.  In a 100 yard race, you have to swim that first 50 like it was a 50 yard race – swimmers at Alex’s level don’t save anything for the last 25.  If she swims that race at States the same way, anything can happen.

Alex also took 5th place in 100 Back swimming a season best 1:01.77.  It is going to be an interesting decision for Alex and I when we have to decide which events she’ll swim in Christiansburg.  Right now, because we have so many fast 50 freestylers, I’m leaning toward 100 Free and 100 Back, but Alex and I will arrive at the answer together.  No matter what we decide, I think Alex is going to have a lot of success in a few weeks.

More Top 8 Medalists!

Cat, Alex and the girl’s relays weren’t the only ones to finish with a top 8 medal:

  • Bridget Wunderly was simply awesome this past weekend. I was so happy to see her get some of the payoff for the hard work she puts in.  The biggest payoff came in 100 Fly, where she broke her own team record by .70 seconds, set the new team standard at 1:01.33 and took home the 6th place  She also had a great swim in the 500 Free, particularly during Prelims, when she swam a PR time of 5:27.04 and ultimately took home 10th place.  All of this great swimming occurred in spite of the fact that Bridget turned her ankle when she entered the shallow water of Villanova’s pool during the warm-ups for prelims.  Bridget showed a lot of heart this weekend.
  • David Basinger did something for Seton this past weekend that has only been done by All-Americas Jameson Hill and Nevin Cook – he broke 2:00 in the 200 IM! During Prelims, David swam a very fast 1:59.90, beat his PR by 2.90 seconds, and qualified 7th for the Finals.  In the finals, he ultimately finished with the 7th place medal.  Just think for a moment what that takes to swim 200 IM in less than 2:00.  That’s an average of :30 seconds per 50 – but one of those 50s is Breaststroke and you have to do 4 of them in a row.  In David’s case, he managed to swim the first 50 butterfly in 25.44 and the next 50 backstroke in 31.31.  That means he did the first 100 yards of this 200 yard in 56.75 – a pretty good boys 100 Freestyle time!  David also took home the 8th place medal in 100 Fly.
  • Vincent “Catfish” Dunn swam well in 100 Backstroke, taking the 7th place medal with a 56.19. Catfish also took 13th place in 100 Fly with a 55:61.  These times were a little off of his PRs, but I know he is ready to pop in two and a half weeks at States!

Other Great Swims

  • Freshman Joe Kenna sure had a good meet. In the 50 Free, he swam a PR 24.23 and took 30th overall in the fastest event of the meet – a :23 high took 18th.  Joe also cemented his place as the 3rd fastest boy in 100 Free (behind upper classmen David and Catfish) when he split a PR 54.40 in 100 Free leading off the 400 Free relay.  More about boys relays below.
  • I could not be much more pleased with Rachel Lambrecht’s performance this season, and her swims at National Catholics were a continuation of the great swimming. In 100 Breaststroke, Rachel swam a .62 second PR, went 1:14.35 and took 10th place in the “B” Final.  Another swim like that in Christiansburg, and we should see Rachel scoring points toward our State Championship run in the Consolation Finals.  In 200 IM, Rachel swam another PR and took 26th place.
  • The boys Relays sure were a lot of fun:
    • The boys 200 Free Relay of Joe Kenna, Catfish Dunn, Patrick Kenna and David Basinger took home 10th place with a PR time of 1:35.60. Catfish and David smoked, like we’ve all come to expect, splitting 52 and 22.88 respectively.  The Kenna brothers also swam very fast:  Joe Kenna led off with a very fast 24.52 and Patrick Kenna split 24.68.  One amazing thing about Patrick’s swim was that he swam it with a partially broken arm!  The kid is so tough, I didn’t even find found out he was hurt until a two days after the meet!  At States last year, that swim would have scored in 16th place, so these boys need to go to Christiansburg with their “A” game if they want to swim at night!
    • The boys 400 Free Relay of was one of the highlights of the meet for me, in part because of the personal connection. Joe Kenna, David Basinger, Brendan Koehr and Catfish Dunn swam a PR 3:29.67 to take 10th place overall with some very fast splits.  Once again, David and Catfish performed well, and we’ve already talked about Joe Kenna’s amazing lead-off split, so let me tell you about Brendan.  Brendan’s 100 Free PR is 42.  During the Finals of the 400 Free Relay, Brendan split 54.12!  Yes, that is more than 3 seconds!  I can hardly wait to give Brendan another shot at the 100 Free to see if he can establish a new PR from a standing start.

The Rest of the Post-Season is Upon Us

We have three more championship meets over the next three weekends, culminating in the State Championship Meet in Christiansburg, VA on February 18th and 19th.  I have a draft of the entries for States under Meet & Team Information right now.  I don’t yet know who the divers will be, but here is the 2011 State Team:

Girls Boys
·       Lauren Donohoe

·       Bridget Wunderly

·       Cat Rogers

·       Alex Doonis

·       Rachel Lambrecht

·       Lucy Bennett

·       Mikey Wittlinger

·       Sarah Zapiain

·       David Basinger

·       Catfish Dunn

·       Michael Hill

·       Joseph Kenna

·       Patrick Kenna

·       Brendan Koehr

·       Steven Shaw

·       Jamie Smith

Now is the time that champions swim like champions.  This past weekend was a great indication of what we can do in a few weeks.  At this point, I don’t think any of us will be happy with any result short of State Championships for both the boys and girls.  Let’s do it.

Coach Koehr

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