It was a very busy weekend for Seton Swimming with six (6) of our top girls at Loyola University in Baltimore for the National Catholic High School Championship, and the rest of our team at Seton’s annual Winter Invitational at Freedom.  Squeezing it all in between the March for Life on Friday and an important business trip for me to Israel to Israel made the weekend feel even busier.

I continue to be amazed by our parent volunteers who help make it all possible.  Even with several of our key volunteers in Baltimore, we ran a meet with 275 swimmers without missing a beat.  I was particularly impressed with how Eduardo Luevano took over hospitality from his wife and how CDR and Mrs. Alsup handle the Head Timer Recruiter and Head Timer spots.  I don’t think that part of the meet has ever gone so smoothly in my entire time at Seton.  And who can top John Kleb on the microphone?

I am a big believer in developing swimmers that can swim any stroke and any distance, so one of my goals for each season is to get as many kids as possible to swim all eight events.  Because all of the remaining Varsity meets are championship meets, this weekend is always the last chance to get that done.  So when I did the entries, I simply took the spreadsheet with what everyone has swum so far this season, and tried to fill in as many blanks as possible.

I’ve done this long enough that I should no longer be surprised at the results, but I was surprised once again.  The magnitude of the Personal Records was breathtaking in so many cases.  Even more exciting for me was watching so many of our younger swimmers swim events like the 200 Free, 500 Free, 200 IM and 100 Fly for the very first time and conquer their fears.  For others, even a 100 yard event for the first time was a real accomplishment.

I try to tell each of you that, in your life, there is always going to be a long line of people waiting to tell you that you cannot do something.  Never jump to the head of that line!  So often, our biggest obstacle to overcoming a challenge is ourselves.  The 500 Free is a perfect example.

In all my time coaching, I’ve never seen anyone die swimming the 500 Free.  In fact, I’ve never seen any who started the race not complete it.  We swim much farther than that every day in practice, and many of you swam 10 times that far for the Cystic Fibrosis Swim-a-thon.  So why do I always I hear “I’m going to die” or “I could never do that”?

One of the greatest lessons of swimming is that you can always do more than you think you can do.  A lot of young swimmers learned that lesson well on Saturday.

There have been countless stories of how kids have learned this lesson, but one of my favorites in Jonathon Rosato – or Charlie Bucket as his friends at the time called him.  You can find his story on Seton Swimming’s All-Time Greatest Swims YouTube channel which has a link on the home page – or you can click here.  Make sure you click “Show More” below the video to read the whole story.

Final Scores

For this one, I was not at all concerned with the final scores, particularly on the girl’s side where six (6) of our top girls were up at National Catholics at Loyola University in Baltimore.  As I said, this one was about individual swimmers stretching themselves by swimming events they were not accustomed to swimming,

Here’s the way the meet scores turned out for us at Seton:

Boys

Battlefield High School  179      Seton                                              94

Seton                            152            Trinity Christian School           120

Seton                            159            TC Williams High School           98

Seton                            166            Fredericksburg Christian         93

Seton                            179             Wakefield School                      75

Seton                           178              The Covenant School               65

Seton                            197            Fresta Valley Christian             57

Seton                           203             Highland School                         28

Seton                           207             St. Michael the Archangel        26

Seton                           209             Middleburg Academy                26

Girls

Battlefield High School  184       Seton                                          87

Trinity Christian School 186        Seton                                         96

Seton                                  143       TC Williams High School      113

Seton                                  154        Highland School                     94

Seton                                  188        Wakefield School                   75

Seton                                  181         Fresta Valley Christian        74

Seton                                  166          Fredericksburg Christian   52

Seton                                  184           The Covenant School         52

Seton                                   197           Middleburg Academy       26

Conquering Fears and Expanding Horizons

With all I have going on to prepare for my meeting in Israel, I was just going to skip the blog this week.  We weren’t past the 200 Freestyle when I was getting so excited by what I was seeing that I knew I was going to have to find a way to figure out how to write a 4,500-word research paper from economy seats in two airplanes and a restaurant tables in two different airport – but it is SOOO worth it.

Sometimes improve is so incremental and expected, that we might not fully comprehend how much we are improving – like the 50 Free where some get a new PR seemingly every week.  Then we swim an event like the 200 Free where the last time we did it was at Time Trials.  With nearly an entire season intervening, the improvement can be mind boggling, particularly for a new swimmer who’s being taught to swim for something other than fun or safety for the very first time.  The future of Seton Swimming is very bright.

And when I say “mind-boggling”, I’m talking about improvements that can sometimes be measure in half or even whole minutes.  Here are some of the kids that are inspiring the effort you are reading right now.  Not all of them are young, but they are all new to the team and accomplished something truly great on Saturday:

  • David Hudson (7), Mick Fioramonti (7) and Connor Koehr (6) had the Clash of Young Titans in 500 Free and all three just totally amazed me. If you think Seton isn’t going to have a good boy’s team in a few years, you missed this one.  David Hudson ultimately won with an absolutely amazing 7:10.08.  Mick followed close behind with a 7:19.26, and Connor was just behind that with a 7:23.33.  Those are amazing times for 6th and 7th graders – any one of them would have scored at DAC Champs last year if they were eligible.
    • David Hudson (7) also dropped 19.29 seconds in 200 Free from the beginning of the year.
    • Mick Fioramonti (7) swam his very first 100 Fly in an amazing 1:38.56
    • Connor Koehr (6) used his near perfect Breaststroke form to cut 2.42 seconds from his previous best.
  • Ava Hudson (7) is going to be a good one for Seton Swimming, so I wanted to see what she could do in the 200 IM and 500 Free. Surprising only herself, she was superior in both nearly breaking 3:00 in the 200 IM and going 7:38.97, very close to the Young Titans, above.  I’m so proud of you Ava!
  • Aaron Bishop (7) swam 200 Free more than a whole minute faster than he did at Time Trials (65.59 seconds). I think this is the first time that Aaron has ever been on a swim team – what an accomplishment!  Aaron also tried 100 Breaststroke for the first time.  While he got DQ’d, I was still so proud of what he did in the event.
  • Julia Atkinson (7) swam both the 200 and 500 Free on Saturday. In the 200 Free, she dropped 33.81 seconds!  She almost lapped herself.  She also had an amazing first attempt in a meet at the 500 Free.  I had a time for her in practice, but I must have had it wrong – I watched Julia swim, and was so impressed with how far she’s come.
  • Ella Gaulden (7) tried the 200 Free for the first time since Time Trials and crushed her time from back then by 32.58 seconds! Then she cut 10.64 seconds from her previous best in 100 Breaststroke.  Great job Ella!
  • Joey Allen (7) has really broken through the last two weeks. His work with Coach Zadnik is really paying off.  In 100 Back, he lowered his earlier PR by an incredible 24.85 seconds.  He also cut another 2.53 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
  • Elizabeth Dwane (FR) is on the team for the first year and has improved dramatically. In her first attempt at the 200 Free since Time Trials, she dropped almost a half a minute (29.90 seconds)!  She also tackled 100 Fly for the very first time and swam an excellent time of 1:52.
  • Joseph Rowzie (8) is going to be a big part of Seton’s future championship Boy’s team if he keeps swimming like he swam on Saturday. How about an 11.33 second PR in 200 Free, a 3.21 second PR in 100 Free, and a 1.32 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay?!
  • Joey Dealey (8) attacked the 200 IM for very first time and nearly broke 3:00! He also cut a whopping 6.68 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke PR.
  • Moira Haggerty (8) tried both 200 IM and 500 Free for the very first time on Saturday and was super-impressive in both. It just amazes me how much Moira has improved since she first came to the team last year.
  • Amelie Halisky (8) tried both 100 Fly and 500 Free for the very first time also. Her 1:42.79 in 100 Fly was a great first time, and like Moira, she came very close to breaking 8:00 in the 500 Free.
  • Sophia Zadnik (FR) tackled both the 200 IM and the 500 Free for the first time with great results. 3:15 in 200 IM and 8:11 in the 500 Free are great times for a first-ever attempt.  Now that Sophie is comfortable that she can do it, I can’t wait until next year to let her try once again.
  • Ceili Koehr (FR) made me very happy with her great swim in 100 Fly. She went 1:36.24 in her first-ever attempt at the challenging event, and was all smiles when she saw me afterwards (well, may not all smiles 😉).  I was very pleased that she was willing to stretch herself by swimming the event.
  • Mary O’Malley (FR) was great in her first-ever attempt at the 200 IM. She nearly broke 3:00!
  • Emma Catabui (FR) is on an organized swim team for the first time, so it took a lot of courage to join us. Over the course of the season, we gradually increased the difficulty of the events in which she was entered until, on Saturday, she tried 100 Breaststroke for the first time.  She got DQ’d unfortunately (which is pretty easy to do in Breaststroke), but she was still able to finish in 1:49.76.  Great work Emma!
  • Chris Lynch (7) really made me proud with his 27.25 second PR in 100 Breaststroke!
  • Peter Konstanty (7) swam a whopping 13.22 seconds faster in the 200 Free than he swam it at the November Time Trials.
  • Jack Champney (7) made me so proud when he tackled two 100-yard events in the same meet. In 100 Free he lowered his PR by 6.05 seconds, and in 100 Back he lowered his PR by 2.53.
  • Reagan Rose (FR) is one of those girls who always seems to be giving her best effort. I was very happy to see that work pay off for her in 100 Breaststroke where she dropped an amazing 28.25 seconds.  She also cut a huge 2.13 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
  • Tiffany Gutierrez (FR) is also new to competitive swimming, but that never seems to stop her. On Saturday, she tried 100 Breaststroke for the first time and but for a one-hand touch would have nearly broken 3:00.
  • Anya Murray (7) lowered her Time Trials time in 100 Breaststroke by 11.69 seconds.
  • Anna Allen (7) challenged 100 Breaststroke for the first time. She also lowered her 50 Free PR by 2.02 seconds.
  • Delaney Farmer (8) finished 100 Fly in her first attempt at the event and did very well. Her 1:33.98 showed me that she can be quite good at the event.  Now all we have to do it to remember to touch every well with both hands at the same time 😉
  • Jo Hartung (7) always gives her best with Coach Zadnik and the results showed in her 12.42 second PR in 100 Free. Jo also tried 100 Breaststroke for the first time.
  • Cat Linton (FR) did a great job in her first attempt at 200 IM, breaking 3:00 by nearly 6 seconds. I can’t wait to get her to practice more often next season so we can work on her strokes – then we will really see her do something special I predict.
  • Samuel Johnson (JR) just swims with us for practice and he’s never been on a competitive swim team before. Fortunately, I was able to talk him into giving one meet a try, and he rewarded me with some great swimming in 50 Free and 100 Back.
  • They’re Not Young, but They are the Newest Up-and-Comers:
    • Evan Wilson (SO) is new to both Seton and the Seton Swim Team, but he was some kinda special on Saturday. I am simply amazed by how much he has improved under Coach Mulhern’s tutelage.   I knew from practice that Evan had developed into a four (4) stroke swimmer, but even how I was surprised at the quality of his stroke technique.  I was so pleased to give him a shot at the 200 IM and then have him reward me with a 2:31.68 – great time Evan!   Then in 100 Fly, he popped an amazing 1:14.37!  I’m quite sure that he can go even faster in both of those events now that he has a little experience on how fast to start out.
    • Cormac Clune (SO) is not young and not new to competitive swimming, but he is new to swimming events like the 200 IM and 500 Free. The guy’s a great athlete and he brings the heart that comes with that to Seton Swimming.  After badly rolling his ankle a week and half ago playing basketball, he had it heavily taped for Saturday’s meet and swam with everything he had.  He swam 200 IM for the very first time in a solid 2:53.43, and he cut 16.55 seconds from his 500 Free PR.  The lingering injury did not stop Cormac from working hard to apply what he’s been learning about getting “long and strong”.  I was very proud of you Cormac!
    • Nate Remington (JR) is not young either, but it is his first year on the team – and boy has he improved. He’s done so well with everything I’ve asked of him that I wanted to see what he could do with 100 Fly.  My hunch was correct – 1:32.11 in his first try.  Nate also cut 5.23 seconds from his 100 Back PR and 1.51 seconds from his 100 Free PR leading off a medley relay.  It is fun watching Nate learn how to take advantage of all of that height!
  • A Different Category of 8th Grader:
    • Gemma Flook (8) is in sort of a special category because, even though she is only in 8th grade, she’s already one of our top scoring swimmers who regularly swims on “B” Relays and sometimes even “A” Relays. One of the reasons why are swims like Saturday’s 5.42 second PR in 100 Free.  1:05.76 is an outstanding time for an 8th grade girl only swimming for her high school team.
    • Nathan Luevano (8) is in the same special category as Gemma because I think of him as a full-fledged member of the Varsity team, even though he is still young. One reason why was his 14.11 second PR in 200 Free where he’s now down to 2:19.14!  He also cut 4.64 seconds in 50 Back leading off a medley and .30 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.  1:19.84 is a very strong 100 Breaststroke time for an 8th

There Were So Many Other Personal Record Swims

I’ve already mentioned numerous Personal Records, but here are the rest of the 61 PRs that I have not yet had an opportunity to highlight.  Considering how many swims we had for which there was no previous time (therefore it is impossible to get a new PR), 61 is a really incredible figure:

  • Bernadette Caron (7, Holy Family Academy) lowered her 100 Back PR by 1.42 seconds. She completed all eight (8) individual events this season!
  • Ryan Beltran (7) dropped 1.87 seconds in 50 Free and 2.26 seconds in 100 Free in spite of having the lingering effects of a sore neck.
  • Teresa Bingham (FR) was awesome in her 500 Free and 100 Breaststroke, cutting 3.83 seconds and 5.00 seconds, respectively.
  • Lily Byers (FR) was amazing in the 200 Free where she cut 15.59 seconds from her PR. Like Teresa, I definitely think of her as a Varsity swimmer when I’m doing my entries.
  • Christian Ceol (JR) had a good afternoon with two (2) PRs. In 100 Breaststroke he dropped 1.65 seconds and in 100 Free he dropped .32 seconds.
  • Anabel Clune (7) was super with her 1.73 second PR in 100 Breaststroke and her .36 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Jerry Dalrymple (SO) can swim Breaststroke! Embarrassingly, I had no idea – until he lowered his PR by 3.45 seconds to 1:17.58!  I definitely knew he could swim Butterfly so it was not as great a surprise to see him hit a big 2.02 second PR to go 1:03.27 and take another step toward that State cut.
  • Katie Dealey (JR) fought though the shoulder pain to cut 5.64 seconds from her PR in 100 BR.
  • Theresa Dwane (JR) has had a breakout season this year so it really didn’t surprise me that when I put her in 200 Free that she cut a whopping 11.07 seconds. Huge improvement Theresa!  She also cut .16 seconds in 100 Back.
  • Justin Fioramonti (JR) jumped up on the list of Seton’s fastest 100 Freestylers with his 1:00.49, a 2.60 second PR!
  • Maddie Given (FR) lowered her 50 Free PR by another .71 seconds and she cut her 50 Back leading off a medley relay by .10 seconds.
  • Patrick Hartung (8) dropped another 3.69 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Addie-Quinn Kammerdeiner (8) lowered her 100 Free PR by another .80 seconds
  • Liam Kellogg (JR) rocked the 200 Free with a 4.89 second Personal Record.
  • Shane Koehr (JR) was awesome in the 500 Free, using his great length to maximum advantage and getting a 9.94 second PR as a result. He also cut a huge 2.67 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke PR.
  • Clare Waldron (FR) had a great swim in 100 Back, cutting 5.72 seconds from her PR.
  • Colette Waldron (SR) also had a PR in 100 Back, by .52 seconds.

Results at National Catholics

On Friday night and Saturday (February 19th) morning, I was in Baltimore for the National Catholic High School Championship at Loyola University.  The meet was very fast this year with the addition of Stone Ridge High School (Katie Ledecky’s old high school) from Bethesda, but our girls swam extremely well.

I had to miss the Sunday Finals for a business trip to Israel, but I was getting regular updates from Mrs. Heim, Mrs. Griffin and Mrs. Geiran between flights so luckily, I was able to follow all of the action and write about it for you here.

Congratulations to Seton’s 2019 National Catholic Team:

  • Mary Heim (12)
  • Caroline Griffin (11)
  • Anne Konstanty (11)
  • Mairead Geiran (10)
  • Isabelle Luevano (9)
  • Mary Pennefather (8)

Coming into the meet, it looked possible, although unlikely, that we would have no one swimming in Sunday’s Finals.  Our girls rose to the challenge – all six (6) of them would be swimming in Finals!  After Saturday morning Prelims, Mairead Geiran had qualified for the Sunday Final in both the 100 and 200 Free and all three (3) of our relays were coming back also:

  • Mairead Geiran’s swam a .14 second PR 2:00.55 to jump up to the 13th seed in the 200 Free. In 100 Free, she cut .49 seconds to go a blazing 55.46 and jump up to the 10th seed for Finals.
    • Update from Finals: I was taking off when I got word of Mairead’s 55.15 (another PR) in the 100 Free Final where she held her 10th In the 200 Free earlier, Mairead took 15th.
  • Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Caroline Griffin, Mary Heim, Mairead Geiran and Mary Pennefather dropped a huge 2.43 seconds to go 1:59.10 and jump up the 12th seed for Finals. The highlights started with Caroline’s lead-off 29.99 which was her second best 50 Back ever.  Mary split a solid 35.27 followed by Mairead’s blazing 27.55 (previous best this season was 29.00!) and Mary Pennefather’s amazing 26.29 (her PR is 26.88).
    • Update from Finals: Wow! Just got a text before I took off for Newark that our girls held their 12th place seed but swam a much faster 1:57.38.  Obviously the splits all had to be really fast with Caroline dropping to 29.63, Mary Heim dropping to 34.49, Mairead about the same and Mary Pennefather splitting 25.54!  That is not a typo, so I’ll say it again, 25.54!
  • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Isabelle Luevano, Mary Pennefather, Caroline Griffin and Mairead Geiran dropped .64 seconds from their season best to go 1:47.64 on the strength of Isabelle’s .38 second PR 27.54 lead-off, Caroline’s incredible 26.67 (her current PR is 28.97) and Mairead’s anchor split of 25.41 (her current PR is 27.42. Those are some very strong splits!  They will enter the finals as the 13th
    • Update from Finals: They held their 13th seed, but dropped again to another season best 1:47.40, with amazing splits from Caroline and Mairead. Caroline split a lifetime best 27.06 and Mairead rocked an anchor split of 25.42.
  • Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Caroline Griffin, Isabelle Luevano, Anne Konstanty, and Mary Heim jumped up into the finals by taking the final 16th spot with a 4:11.35! Caroline’s lead off was a .19 second PR.  Isabelle and Anne also had tremendous splits of 1:03.67 and 1:02.55, respectively.  Their PRs are currently 1:05.64 and 1:02.67, respectively, so those were both great swims, particularly Isabelle’s.  Remember that Mary Heim has just swum 100 Breaststroke, so even though her split was slower than otherwise, it was still a very strong swim.
    • Update from Finals: 4:05.37! A 5.98 second drop from Prelims and easily Seton’s best 400 Free Relay time of the season.  Caroline’s lead-off was a 1.23 second PR 1:00.60, and Isabelle dropped all the way down to 1:00.94!   Anne was right on her PR, and Mary Heim, with a break from not having to swim breaststroke right before the relay, split an awesome 1:00.99, faster than her flat start PR.  They improved on their 16th seed to take 14th

Top 16 swims in a meet like this are always impressive, but we had several other impressive swims also:

  • Caroline Griffin rocked her 100 Backstroke with a .31 second PR 1:03.76. That moved her up to 18th, the 2nd alternate for the Finals.
  • Isabelle Luevano won her heat of 50 Free with a .51 second PR. Her 27.41 looked very fast.  Isabelle also dropped in 100 Free by .30 seconds to go 1:02.83.  For the meet, she placed 42nd and 59th, respectively.
  • Mary Heim had good swims in 100 Free and 100 Breaststroke taking 48th and 39th, respectively.
  • Anne Konstanty took it out fast in the 200 Free and finished 44th In the 500 Free, she finished 25th
  • Mary Pennefather was right on her PR in 50 Free to take 32nd. In 100 Breaststroke, Mary took 49th

I was so sad that I was unable to be on deck with these girls for the Finals, but I am so proud of them.  This was a great way for them to enter the Championship season.

State Championship Qualifiers

We have one more championship meet where, in order to be eligible to participate, you must meet a qualifying time standard during the current season.

The VISAA State Championship is February 15-16, 2019 at the Jeff Rouse Swim and Sports Center in Stafford, VA.  It should be a great time for everyone eligible to participate.

Here are the individual State Meet qualifiers after this weekend:

  • Mairead Geiran – 200 IM, 100, 200 and 500 Free, 100 Fly
  • Caroline Griffin – 200 IM and 100 Back
  • Mary Pennefather –50 Free

Here are the relays that have hit the cut.  We tried to get two more Boys relays in, but just missed on Saturday:

  • Boys “A” 200 Medley Relay
  • Boys “A” 200 Free Relay
  • Boys “A” 400 Free Relay
  • Girls “A” 200 Medley Relay
  • Girls “B” 200 Medley Relay
  • Girls “A” 200 Free Relay
  • Girls “B” 200 Free Relay
  • Girls “A” 400 Free Relay
  • Girls “B” 400 Free Relay

I will not list names for these relays because it is impossible to tell who will actually swim.  You are eligible for me to enter you on a relay at States if you have swum on that relay during the season when it hit the cut, but that doesn’t mean I will be able to actual enter you to swim.  We go to States to try to bring home a State Championship or State Runner-up.  If I feel like we have a legitimate shot at one of those titles, it would not be unusual for me to use some of our top swimmers in 3 relays and only one individual event because relays score so many points.  Time – and your times – will clarify this situation for all of us.

The competition on the Boys side for Relay spots is starting to heat up, so I’ve started tracking it more closely, and there was some movement in this on Saturday.  Here’s where the times stand so far this season for the 200 Free Relay:

NameFastest Flat StartFastest Split
Jack Santschi:24.88:24.38
Liam Kellogg:25.27:24.53
Jacob Alsup:25.72:24.79
Shane Koehr:25.80:24.79
Jerry Dalrymple:24.90:24.90
Christian Ceol:26.19:25.79
Cormac Clune:26.48:26.48
Evan Wilson:26.77:26.77
Justin Fioramonti:27.15:26.89

And here’s where the times stand so far this season for the 400 Free Relay. Check out those new splits from Jack Santschi, Shane Koehr and Justin Fioramonti!:

NameFastest Flat StartFastest Split
Jack Santschi:54.98:53.95
Jerry Dalrymple:56.25:56.09
Shane Koehr:57.12:57.12
Jacob Alsup:57.77:57.20
Liam Kellogg:58.17:58.17
Christian Ceol1:00.601:00.32
Justin Fioramonti1:00.491:00.49
Evan Wilson1:00.581:00.58
Cormac Clune1:01.771:01.03
Jeremy Kleb1:04.361:04.36

Final Notes

There’s been so much to say, but let’s wrap it up with some final notes:

  • This week is the last week for all swimmers who are not on the Post-Season Varsity Team
    • That is because, for all of the remaining Varsity meets, there are no exhibition entries.
  • But the good news is that next weekend is one of my favorite meets of the year, our annual Junior Varsity Invitational at the Fitch WARF.
    • All 7th through 9th graders are eligible, and you will get a chance to swim against kids you own age. I expect we’ll do quite well!

It was a great weekend.  The make the most of the rest of the season!

Coach Jim Koehr

Seton Swimming’s G.E.M.S.

What makes Seton Swimming special?

N

Gratitude

“Who has it better than us? Nobody!”

N

Excellence

We focus on better. Good takes care of itself.

N

Meekness

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

N

Sacrifice

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

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