Last Saturday, we joined 21 other schools for the inaugural Woodberry Forest Invitational at the University of Virginia. With 438 athletes entered into the meet, it reminded me of the last time Coach Pat Mulhern and I were at UVa for our first Boys VISAA Division II State Championship way back in 2006.
To relive those great memories, Coach Mulhern and I even set up our chairs in the exact same spot we were back then to watch Kevin Koehr, Nevin Cook, Bryan Morch and Sean Koehr all achieve All-State status for Seton. Kevin and Nevin both went on to swim at Virginia Tech with Nevin eventually placing as high as 3rd in the ACC Championships in 100 Breaststroke, which he swam in a nearly unbelievable :54 seconds. (That’s why I keep trying to get all of you to look at the underwater pictures of his stroke technique – he was amazing!)
While we didn’t have any All-State swimmers on Saturday, we did have some incredible swims, some of which will certainly impact the membership on our State Team and others that were just simply wonderful to watch. We have so many young swimmers this year, and it really is fun watching so many of them overcome their fears and show so much improvement.
Thank you to my friend Coach Greg Guldin of Woodberry Forest School who conceived of and executed this meet that turned out to be more popular than even he dreamed. It was a great experience for out kids to swim in one of the premier venues in the State of Virginia.
This was the last meet of 2018, but the work is just beginning.
This year, the Athletic Directors decided that our January 5th meet at the WARF is the one that will count in determining the Conference Championship. I’d say we have a chance to defend our girl’s streak of 24 straight DAC Conference Championships, but it is going to take some excellent swimming on our part. I know the very strong Trinity girls are going to do everything they can to end that streak though, so we’re going to need to keep working hard between now and then. And we are going to need to be healthy!
On Monday and Tuesday, December 17th and 18th, everyone on the will practice at the normal times. I want to finish breaststroke at a minimum. Then, starting on Thursday, we’ll start our Christmas practice schedule. Only swimmers in Coach Mulhern’s, Ross’ and Santschi’s lane need come to these practices:
- Thursday, Dec 20th, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. (Lanes 1-8)
- Saturday, Dec 22nd, 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (Lanes 6-13)
- Featuring Special Guest Coaches Anna and Claire Kenna!
- Thursday, Dec 27th, 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. (Lanes 1-8)
Do not miss if you can possibly help up it because I’ll be doing sessions on Relay Starts and Sprinting (i.e. “Effective vs. Efficient”). This is great stuff that you won’t get anywhere else without paying lots of money for it!
Then, on New Year’s Eve, December 31st from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. we’ll have our annual Swim-a-thon for Cystic Fibrosis. Everyone on the team will attempt to swim 200 lengths of the pool for Cystic Fibrosis. The event is hosted by Robin and Sarah Given, and our hope that our team can also raise money for the CF Research at Johns Hopkins University that has been so beneficial to Seton Swimming families, including the Given’s and the Manley’s.
Each Captain has a CF Swim-a-thon team, and every member of our Swim Team has been assigned to one of those teams. Here’s a link to set up your team on-line and set up fundraising page. We will talk more about this at practice, but I have the team rosters and detailed instructions posted under Meet & Team Information.
I’ll look forward to seeing everyone who is in town at this great annual event, even if you didn’t raise any money. Free pizza afterwards!
Many of the teams in attendance were to Division I teams such as Woodberry Forest, Bishop O’Connell and Paul VI, but in spite of that, I think we faired quite favorably.
Here’s the way the meet scores turned out for us at Seton:
- Bishop O’Connell 441
- Paul VI Catholic 257
- Flint Hill 196
- Gertrude 176
- Hampton Roads Academy 173
- Seton Swimming 163
- Williamsburg Christian 130
- Highland 118
- John Paul the Great 76
- Wakefield 39
- Fredericksburg Christian 35
- Woodberry Forest 334
- Paul VI Catholic 320
- Hampton Roads Academy 319
- Bishop O’Connell 192
- John Paul the Great 159
- Flint Hill 155
- Anne’s Belfield 144
- Peninsula Catholic 113
- Benedictine College Prep 84
- The Covenant School 75
- Nansemond Suffolk 62
- Seton Swimming 59
- Fredericksburg Christian 56
- Wakefield 44
The Swims that Made the Coaches say “Wow!”
I mentioned in the introduction that there were a very large number of memorable swims, either because they impacted an opportunity to swim at States in February or because they demonstrated great courage or heart. The fast swims are always fun to watch of course, but the swims that show great heart are the ones that I find the most gratifying as a Coach:
- Joey Dealey (8) may have been one of my swimmers-of-the-meet, if we had such a concept. It started with his butterfly in the medley relay – his split was more than 4 seconds faster than his 50 Fly time at time trials. His hands were light and he led with his chest – it was a great example of what we’ve been teaching, so I was very pleased to see him get rewarded with a good time. He continued the strong looking butterfly in the 100 Fly, but that’s not where he ultimately caught my attention. In the 500 Free, I was so impressed with how “long and strong” his stroke looked. In his first-ever attempt at the event, he went 7:18.79, an excellent time for an 8th
- Gemma Flook (8) was right there with Joey as one of my swimmers-of-the-meet. Last week Gemma excelled in the 200 IM with her first attempt and this week, she was phenomenal in her first attempt at the 500 Free. How about a 6:40.01 for an 8th grader! The State cut is 6:09.91, well within her reach, I think. Then she cut 14.69 seconds in 200 Free to go 2:32.59. It’s been a while since we’ve had an 8th grade girl on this team who can score with such versatility.
- Anna Allen (7) is a first-year swimmer who had to find the surroundings at UVa a bit intimidating – I know I did when I swam in the old UVa pool in 1977, and at the time, I was an experienced swimmer two years older than her. But in front of a few thousand people, Anna mounted the blocks and cut her 50 Free PR by almost 2 whole seconds (1.84 seconds to be exact). Then, at the end of a 200 Free Relay, she split a time another 2.79 seconds faster than that! I was very impressed with Anna on Saturday.
- Jacob Alsup (JR) was on fire Saturday night. After a relatively slow start in the medley and 200 Free, he just rocked the 200 Free Relay with a split of 24.79! That leaped him up from the 7th fastest split on the team this season to the 2nd! His previous best was 25.72, so Jacob really laid down the gauntlet for the other boys on this team. (See analysis below). Jacob wasn’t done with that that relay though. In 100 Back, he cut another 4.57 seconds from his PR to go 1:08.41. Outstanding!
- Lily Byers (FR) has shown me that she can be a great swimmer for Seton, so I wanted to see what she could do in the 500 Free. I’m sure she was a little nervous, but she didn’t let me down. In her first attempt at the event, she swam a very strong 7:36.50. Now that she knows what to expect, it would surprise me if she’ll go even faster the next time she swims it. Young swimmers find their way onto post-season varsity teams by working to excel in events like the 500 Lily.
- Emma Catabui (7) is a first-year swimmer with no competitive summer swimming in her background, but that hasn’t stopped her from joining the team and stretching her boundaries. On Saturday, we were hoping to try 100 Free, but I had to cut those exhibition events. However, she did get to take her first crack at 50 Back leading off a medley, and she had a great swim. I can see that Emma is quickly figuring out that she can be a pretty good swimmer, and I look forward to watching her swim some 100s, 200s and one day, the 500 Free. I’ve seen enough to be quite sure she can do it.
- Christian Ceol (JR) has caught fire from somewhere. At Trials, his swam his 50 Free PR of 28.52. On Saturday, he swam a flat start PR in 50 Free of 26.19 – a 2.33 second drop! And then in the 200 Free Relay, with a relay start, he split an amazing 25.79, putting him firmly in contention to swim on one of our State Relays. Prior to those freestyle swims, Christian cut .46 seconds from his 50 Back PR and 6.73 seconds from his 200 IM PR. I don’t know what Mrs. Ceol is feeding you Christian, but keep eating it!
- Cormac Clune (SO) is rapidly emerging as one of our top swimmers. Even though he just came off a week of sickness, he managed to lower his 50 Free PR leading off a relay by 2.02 seconds to go 26.48. I’ve been tracking splits for the top boys, and that was enough for me to have to add Cormac to my spreadsheet. He’s such a good athlete, and he seems anxious to learn. That combination of ability and desire are going to breed great results for the kid. BTW, Cormac also cut 24.87 seconds from his 200 Free and .13 seconds from his 100 Breast (after missing our breaststroke instruction because of illness – can’t wait to spend some time with Cormac on that!)
- Jerry Dalrymple (SO) is rapidly approaching the top of the list of Seton’s fastest swimmers for both the 50 Free and the 100 Free thanks to a .58 second PR in 50 Free (24.90) and a .79 second PR in 100 Free (56.25). Jerry has also placed himself firmly on top of the list of fastest 50 Butterfliers for the relay – 26.91 is pretty quick.
- Caroline Griffin (JR) has found a new stroke – Butterfly. After dropping an amazing 21.44 seconds in 100 Fly, she got within 2 seconds of the State cut for the event. The way Caroline works in practice, I have little doubt that she can hit that cut before February. Your stroke looked beautiful Caroline!
- Liam Kellogg (SO) has come into his own this season. His 25.47 50 Free Relay split has him firmly in the hunt for relay spot at States, but it is was his backstroke that caught my attention. He cut 3.12 seconds from his 100 Back PR with a very long and much improved stroke.
- Jeremy Kleb (JR) really impressed me on Saturday night. I didn’t know it until later, but he was sick as a dog – sort of makes the 200 IM a bit more difficult, aye Jeremy? What impressed me was that he didn’t let that stop him from doing the best he could, whatever that was. He even swam a .41 second 50 Back PR leading off a medley relay and went on to swim the 100 Free before he finally had to say “No Más”.
- Céilí Koehr (FR) showed a lot of heart on Saturday. Wanting to see what she could do in Butterfly, I had her swim it in the medley relay and then again in the 200 IM. She did wonderfully in both, particularly in the 200 IM which was her first-ever attempt at the event. Later in the meet, should found herself in the bathroom with a bloody nose. Worried about missing 100 Breaststroke, she came out on deck holding her head back and squeezing her nose. With the bleeding temporarily under control, she dove in to swim a .75 second PR in 100 Breaststroke and immediately returned to the locker room to deal with more of the nose bleed. Way to not let anything stop you Céilí!
- Shane Koehr (JR) has had a breakout season as one of our captains this year. I’ve been so pleased with how well he’s started to take advantage of his height in his strokes. At Time Trials, Shane went 28.16 in 50 Free. On Saturday, he split 25.17, the 4th fastest split on the team so far this year. Shane has also improved in other events besides his normal backstroke, lowering her 200 Free PR by 2.62 seconds and his 100 Fly PR by .10 seconds.
- Isabelle Luevano (FR) often amazes me, but on Saturday, she managed to do it once again with her Breaststroke – I don’t think I ever knew how good she was at it. After a 2.38 second PR (1:22.98), I pretty had no choice but to notice! Isabelle also cut another .07 seconds from her 50 Free PR to go a fast 27.92 – that’s top 4 on the Seton team.
- Nathan Luevano (8) is going to be a good one for Seton for sure – he already is! I had a lot of fun watching his much-improved backstroke technique lead to a 2.14 second PR, but what caught the attention of Coach Mulhern and I the most was his lead off in the 400 Free Relay. Nathan has definitely grown since last season, but he swims even bigger than that, so his 1.79 second PR in 100 Free leading off that relay made perfect sense.
- Mary O’Malley (FR) is going to be a good butterflier for Seton. I was very pleased by that huge 9.42 second PR in 100 Fly to go 1:22.10. Wow!
- Nate Remington (JR) joined the Seton Swim Team for the first time this year, and he is really showing a maturity in his approach that is leading to success. He just wants to get better. In 100 Free, he dropped another 2.93 seconds, but it was the 500 that impressed me the most. No complaining, no fear. Nate just jumped in and did his best to apply the lessons we’ve been teaching him.
- Jack Santschi (SO) just smoked the 500 Free! How about a 33.61 second PR to go 6:23.58. Not bad for a someone who sees himself as a sprinter. That is the 3rd fastest time on the team and the 2nd fastest swum this season. Jack also expanded his repertoire of strokes by dropping 3.28 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.
- Evan Wilson (SO) made his presence known in the fight for slots on the post-season relays with a huge 1.14 second PR in 50 Free. That jumped Evan up to the #8 spot right now. In 100 Free, Evan cut .59 seconds from his PR to go 1:00.58, which is in the #5 spot right now. The way Evan works in practice, I can see him putting a lot of pressure our some of other boys before February.
There Were So Many Other Personal Record Swims
I’ve already mentioned numerous Personal Records, but here are the rest of the 50 PRs that I have not yet had an opportunity to highlight. I know we would have had many more, but with the size of the meet, I was forced to eliminate all of the exhibition swims that were not a relay or a 50 Free:
- Teresa Bingham (FR) was smiling bigger than usual after her 2.19 second PR in 100 Fly. Her stroke is really starting to look good.
- Aaron Bishop (7) was a little motor boat in that 50 Free on Saturday, lowering his PR by a whopping 6.54 seconds! His head was still so all of that great effort drove him forward in a straight line for a great swim.
- Bernadette Caron (7) had a huge PR in 50 Free, dropping 1.31 seconds.
- Jack Champney (7) has some massive improvement seemingly every time he hits the water. On Saturday, he dropped another 2.80 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
- Anabel Clune (7) cut another .54 seconds from her 50 Free PR. She’s now dropped a total of 4.78 seconds from her 50 Free time since Time Trials. See you at practice Anabel – even if you have to walk 😉
- Elizabeth Dwane (FR) had a very fine swim in the 50 Free, lowering her PR by .82 seconds.
- Theresa Dwane (JR) is showing up on my radar more and more often as I’m looking for relay swimmers, and that is because of her steady improvement over the past few years, improvement that has continued unabated this season also. On Saturday, she lowered her 100 Free PR leading off the 400 Free relay by 2.01 seconds. She also cut .74 seconds from her 100 Back PR and .20 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
- Emily Flynn (FR) is not swimming USA this season, so PRs are a bit harder to come by. That didn’t stop though – she cut 1.91 seconds in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.
- Tiffany Gutierrez (FR) is a first-year swimmer who dealt successfully with the big stage at UVa. I was so pleased to see her drop another 5.09 seconds in 50 Free.
- Moira Haggerty (8) just won’t stop improving. On Saturday, her continually improving stroke technique got her another 1.31 second PR in 50 Free.
- Jo Hartung (7) was awesome on Saturday night. It was so much fun watching her try so hard in the 50 Free and in the relay. That’s why I was so happy to see her lower her 50 Free PR by 2.24 seconds.
- Mary Heim (SR) is in search of a second event to supplement her expertise in 100 Breaststroke. She really good at 200 IM and 100 Fly, but she wanted to try 100 Free. Mary amply rewarded me for giving her the shot – she cut 3.63 seconds from her PR to go 1:03.24. That’s the 4th fastest time on the team this season.
- Bethany Johnson (JR) had another big drop from her 50 Free PR, this time by 3.40 seconds. She’s really learned a lot this season.
- Anne Konstanty (JR) is officially one of the top female swimmers on our team. I knew from prior years that she could excel in distance freestyle, and this year, I’ve learned that she can swim a great breaststroke. Then on Saturday, I saw another improvement in 200 Free where she cut another 1.16 seconds from her PR.
- Cat Linton (FR) had a big drop in 50 Free on Saturday, lowering her PR by 1.18 seconds.
- Mary Pennefather (8) recovered quite nicely after a week of the bug, and the evidence came with her .93 second PR in 100 Free.
- Joseph Rowzie (8) continues to improve. I loved his 4.16 second PR in 100 Breaststroke and his 1.17 second PR in 50 Free – those are big drops! He also had a great swim in his first-ever attempt at 100 Fly, even though he got DQ’d for a scissor kick. We’ll get that straight in practice Joseph and give you another shot!
Other Great Swims I Saw on Saturday
Here are a few other notes I had that I simply cannot finish without mentioning:
- Katie Dealey (JR) has been fighting shoulder pain all year. I know that must be tough because there never seems to be time to give it the rest that it needs. In spite of that, Katie came within .01 seconds of her 50 Free PR on Saturday. I know that took some heart Katie.
- Amelie Halisky (8) was super in her first attempt at the 200 IM. I could not have been more pleased with her 3:12.53.
- Anya Murray (7) has never swum in a place like UVa before. I’m sure it was a big deal for her. As I mentioned above, I remember how intimidating it was for me to swim at UVa – and I was two years older than Anya. I was very pleased to see Anya face her fears and give it her all. Nice work Anya!
State and National Catholic Qualifiers
We have two championship meets 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 – 100 Back
- Mary Pennefather –50 Free
Here are the relays that have hit the cut:
- 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 “A” 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. Here’s where the times stand so far this season for the 200 Free Relay:
|Name||Fastest Flat Start||Fastest Split|
And here’s where the times stand so far this season for the 400 Free Relay:
|Name||Fastest Flat Start||Fastest Split|
I’ll be doing sessions on relay starts and on sprinting during the Christmas break, but you have to be present to win. Don’t miss!
The National Catholic High School Championship is at Loyola University in Baltimore on January 19th-20th with prelims in the morning on January 19th and finals on Sunday, January 20th. We also have a meet that afternoon, so depending on how many girls qualify, we’ll have to discuss later how we are going to handle that.
Here’s who has qualified for National Catholics so far:
- Mairead Geiran – 200 IM, 100 and 200 Free, 100 Fly
- Caroline Griffin – 100 Back, 100 Fly
- Isabelle Luevano – 50 Free
- Mary Heim – 50 Free
- Mary Pennefather –50 Free
And here are the relays that have hit the National Catholic cut. Once again, I will not attempt to project the line-ups for these relays yet:
- Girls “A” 200 Medley Relay
- Girls “A” 400 Free Relay
An eligibility report for both meets is posted under Meet & Team Information.
There’s been so much to say, but let’s wrap it up with some final notes:
- It’s always interesting for me to sit back in my office on Sunday’s and look in detail at how everyone did. I’m always amazed, but I think it can say that it has been awhile since so many swims were so amazing. Great job on Saturday!
- January 5th will be the biggest meet of the season for us so far because it will determine the regular season conference championship.
- Get healthy
- Don’t miss Christmas break practices! There are still some really important things I need to teach you all, and with so many people missing so much practice, we can’t afford to miss any more.
- I hope you all take our opportunity to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis seriously. I’ll be counting on the Captains to organize the efforts of their teams to generate the best results yet!
See you Monday morning,
Coach Jim Koehr