It was a busy weekend for Seton Swimming. Last Friday night, we took our varsity swimming team down to Fredericksburg to face off against the 6 other teams in the Northern Virginia Swimming Conference (NVSC). When the night was over, our boys and girls were a combined 12-0. Put together with our conference wins earlier in the season, Seton is 24-0 in conference competition, cementing our 14th straight conference title.
Then on Saturday, we hosted our first ever Junior Varsity Meet with Wakefield and Veritas Christian Academy. It was a great way to wrap up the season for the portion of the team that is no swimming in the championship meets. The meet was a big success, so much so, that I plan to do it again next year.
Conference Meet Scores
The scores were predictably lopsided in spite of the fact that I allowed many swimmers to swim their off events, and I excused a few our top swimmers for mid-terms:
SST 169 FA 112
SST 192 FCS 75
SST 196 RMA 69
SST 216 Highland 45
SST 214 Quantico 39
SST 220 Wakefield 31
SST 205 FA 77
SST 207 FCS 60
SST 220 Highland 58
SST 218 Quantico 45
SST 220 Wakefield 43
SST 223 RMA 14
The Most Outstanding Swims
There were a number of very good swims, but a few really stood out:
- The girls 400 meter Freestyle featured an great race between Mary-Kate Kenna and Alex Doonis. Alex was the top seed in the conference, and going into the race, Alex’s PR was about 50 seconds faster than Mary-Kate’s. We all knew that MK’s PR would not be indicative of how she would swim because she hasn’t swum the event for Seton since December of 2004. Prior to the race, Mary-Kate and I talked about how she needed to hold on to the water all the way through her stroke, and during the race, she could see her flipping her wrist at the end of every stroke. That, combined with the fact that her and Alex were pulling away from the pack – together – told me that we were in for a fast race. Going into the bell lap, Mary-Kate had the lead, but that wouldn’t last long. As they both sprinted to the wall, it was impossible to tell who was going to win. They hit the wall together, looked up, and both quickly asked for their times. They tied! I converted their times to 500 yards using an on-line conversion utility to determine that they both went a fast 6:08.99. That was very close to Alex’s PR, and it was a huge PR for Mary-Kate. It was also a State qualifying time – MK’s 5th qualifying time for this year’s meet.
- Few people work as hard in practice as Kimberley Melnyk, so I always enjoy watching her do well. During the girls 100 Free, she gave me a lot of joy when she swam so well, that she broke a 1:00 (converted to yards) for the first time ever! Her time of 1:06.28 converts to :59.71. That swim was also good enough for her to get her 5th State qualifying cut.
- Did you see Christian Vestermark leap out of the water after he realized that he had won his heat of 100 Backstroke? I leaped up also, because, after 75 meters, I figured the race was over, but I could not have been more wrong. Christian somehow began to move up on the FA swimmer, first slowly, and then rapidly, until Christian passed him at the flags and out-touched him by only .56 seconds. It wasn’t until later that I realized just how great his swim was. It has been awhile since Christian has swum 100 Back, but there’s no denying that a 13 second improvement is outstanding work.
New State Qualifiers
In addition to Mary-Kate and Kimberley, mentioned above, we had two other new State qualification times. Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe, made the cut in 100 Backstroke when she lowered her previous PR by over 3 seconds and she made the cut in 100 Fly with a 1.41 second PR. The Machine, only a freshman, joins Jessica Dunn and Nevin Cook as the only members of the Seton Swim Team to qualify for States in every event. That’s some pretty good company!
Fredericksburg Academy can be a difficult place to swim because the pool is an unfamiliar distance (25 meters versus 25 yards) and the pool environment is very hot. I guess we’ve gotten a little spoiled swimming in facilities like the Freedom Center and the WARF. In spite of the poor swimming conditions, we did have a number of PRs besides the ones I’ve already mentioned. We also had a number of PRs at Saturday’s JV meet, even though no one had any previous times for many of the unique events that we swam.
- I had no idea that Sean Bartnick could swim breaststroke, but he showed that he has learned how when he cut 2.45 seconds from his previous PR. Sean also cut nearly 30 seconds from his 500 Free PR.
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn just rocked in 100 Fly when he cut more than 4 seconds 100 Fly. He also cut nearly 5 seconds from his 500 Free
- Mary-Kate Kenna not only improved in the 500, she also improved in the 50 Free, cutting more than half a second from her previous best.
- I gave Patrick Kenna a chance to swim something other than his normal sprint freestyle, and he made the most of it. Patrick lowered her 200 IM PR by almost 10 seconds! That swim got Patrick 2nd overall, behind only a good swim by David Basinger.
- Daniel Koehr showed big improvement in 100 Fly, lowering his previous best by over 8 seconds.
- Brendan Koehr has really shown a lot of improvement this year. On Friday, he somehow cut over 54 seconds from his best 500 Free. His very long stroke is making all the difference, especially on Saturday when he took 1st place in all 3 of his individual events.
- Sarah Locke had a great meet with two PRs – she cut 1.7 seconds from her 50 Free and 3.42 seconds from her 500 Free. Sarah got 3rd overall in the 500, behind only two Seton swimmers.
- Andrew Minarik had a busy weekend swimming both Friday night and Saturday. On Friday night, he challenged the 200 Free and lowered his PR by 1.08 seconds.
- Senior Meghan Morch took full advantage of her last chance to swim 200 Free. She cut nearly 5 seconds from her previous best, and proved to herself that she could do very well in that event. She got 3rd overall in the event.
- Senior Sam Quinan had a big night with 2 PRs. Sam cut almost 5 seconds from his 100 Free and .12 seconds from his 50 Free.
- Joe Ross hit all of his turns in the 200 IM and lowered his PR by .41 seconds. That swim earned him 4th overall in the event.
- Before his great PR in 100 Back, Christian Vestermark, had a great swim in 100 Free, lowering his PR by 1.43 seconds.
- Monica Byers cut .2 seconds from her 50 back leading off a medley relay on Saturday. She also cut 1.72 seconds from her 100 Free
- Michael Collins made the most of his last meet with 2 PRs. He cut 1.34 seconds from his previous best in 50 Free and 2.62 from his previous best in 50 Back.
- Keeley Cook cut 2.37 seconds from her 100 Free PR. It is amazing what happens when you kick too!
- Matt Crowhurst just keeps getting faster. On Saturday, he lowered his 100 Free PR by another .95 seconds
- Judith Cummings improved her butterfly this year. On Saturday, she swam 50 Fly 1.44 seconds faster than she did at the beginning of the season.
- Casey Flanagan cut a half second from her 50 Fly.
- Alex Harrill ended his season in style with two PRs. Alex cut 2.21 seconds from his 50 Free and 13.42 seconds from his 100 Free. That is a huge improvement!
- Mary-Margaret “M&M” Harrill was not to be outdone – she had two PRs also. She cut .30 seconds in 50 Free and 3.03 seconds in 100 Free.
- Eileen Heim lowered her 100 Free PR by 5.43 seconds to end the season on a high note
- Megan Hoffer seemed to enjoy Saturday’s meet. She also enjoyed a 2.10 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Jonathan Jacobeen cut 2.39 seconds from his 50 Back and 9.28 seconds from his 50 Fly. I’d say he learned something about swimming this season.
- Kate Kosten has made tremendous strides this year. On Saturday, she dropped another 8.20 seconds in 100 Free.
- I hope to see Thomas Kosten next year. He ended his season with yet another PR in 50 Free, this time improving by .26 seconds
- David Lambrecht had two PRs, one in 50 Free by .34 seconds and the other in 50 Fly by 6.30 seconds
- Andrew Minarik continued his streak of PRs in every meet with a 2.16 second PR in 100 Free
- I enjoyed watching Emma Mooney cut another 1.48 seconds from her 50 Free PR
- I don’t know if Peter Mooney is improving in basketball the way he has in swimming. If he is, he’s dunking from the foul line by now. On Saturday, Peter lowered his 100 Free PR by another 4.26 seconds.
- James Mosimann had a very fine swim in 50 backstroke on Saturday, swimming it 3.03 seconds faster than he ever had before.
- Monica Mosimann cut another 1.38 seconds from her previous best 100 Free. It was because she is swimming very long these days. On Saturday, I noticed that her backstroke was just as long.
- Maggie Murphy lowered her 50 Free time another .92 seconds.
- Michael O’Donnell has made amazing strides with his swimming this season. It was great to see him getting long. His improved stroke technique really paid off when he swam a 7.21 second PR.
- Cat Rogers ended the season well with PRs in 50 Fly, by 4.51 seconds, and in 100 Free, by 3.09 seconds.
- Lizzie Rogers also had a strong season-ending performance with a 2.62 second PR in 100 Free.
- Nicki Smith cut .04 from her 100 Free
- Matthew Verry swam a great medley relay lead-off leg when he lowered his 50 back PR by 2.18 seconds
- Bernadette Wunderly looks to have some good potential in backstroke after she swam a .72 second PR on Saturday
- Sarah Zapiain is going to have a very fast Fly before she graduates if she keeps improving the way she has this season. On Saturday, she improved in 50 Fly by another .89 seconds.
Other Outstanding Performances
- Our relays were awesome on Friday night, with many of them winning by more than a half a length of the pool. Our boys 200 Medley of Connor Cook, Nevin Cook, Daniel Koehr and Sean Koehr lapped 3 of the 5 teams and finished more than 2/3rds of a pool length ahead of 2nd place. Our girls medley of Jessica Dunn, Mary-Kate Kenna, Kimberley Melnyk and Alex Doonis won by nearly as much.
- Laura Talbott has really improved her underwaters on backstroke. She had a great lead-off leg for one of our medley relays at FA.
- Michael O’Donohue really swam hard in the 200 Free on Friday. Long and strong is the key to this event.
- Meghan Morch also did a nice job in her last 200 Free of her career. She had a close race going with FA’s top girl, until the last 50 when Meghan started to kick. After that, Meghan just blew her away.
- I don’t think I’ve ever seen David Basinger look better than he did while taking first place in the 200 IM at FA. He had a particularly strong looking butterfly. Joe Ross and Patrick Kenna also had good looking butterflies in that event.
- Sarah Locke just crushed her heat in the 50 Free on Friday.
- Catfish Dunn and David Harris had quite a race in the 100 Butterfly. It was fun to watch both of them leave it all in the water.
- Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe, Carolyn Claybrooks, Laura Talbott, and Rachel Lambrecht went 1, 2, 4, 5 overall in girls 100 Fly.
- Connor Cook took up the sprint freestyle duties for us on Friday night. After tough 50 Free, where he lost to FCS’s top freestyler on the start, he came back and just owned him in the 100 Free. Right from starting horn, I know Connor had him.
- Krista Shaw and Sarah Zapiain had a great race in the 100 Free. They should be a lot of fun to watch in years to come.
- Catfish Dunn took first place in the 400 meter freestyle over FA’s top swimmer by only .32 seconds. On about the 9th length, Catfish pulled away from him and never gave up the lead again. It was a great swim.
- Brendan Koehr and Sean Bartnick also had good swims in the 400 m. Both of them were really concentrating on getting long.
- Before the girls 400 meter Free, Kelsey Kleb asked me for some advice and how hard she should take the race out. I told her to swim fast enough that her stomach hurt and then hold that pace. After the race, she bounded up to me with a huge smile and said, “I have a knot in my stomach and it hurts!” It was Kelsey’s best swim of the season.
- Patrick Kenna and Sean Bartnick continue to fight to break :25 seconds in 50 Free. If it happens, it will happen for them off the walls. They are both very close.
- Can anyone guess how Jessica Dunn and Nevin Cook did? Swimming their “off” events, there’s no one that can touch either of them in our conference.
- When Daniel Koehr was swimming breaststroke, and absolutely crushing the field in the process, Christian Vestermark was standing next to me and asked if that was Nevin Cook swimming. I think Daniel should take that as a compliment.
- Rachel Lambrecht had a tight race in 100 Breast, but pulled away in the last 25 meters. Great swim Rachel.
- Casey Flanagan had a nice final 25 meters in her 100 Breaststroke on Friday. On Saturday, she showed her versatility by taking 1st place in 100 IM.
- Sometimes it is hard to tell how well someone does on their leg of the 400 Free relay, but it wasn’t hard to tell how David Harris did. He made up an incredible amount of ground on his 100 m swim.
- Emily Adamec has shown some improvement in her breaststroke technique. I look forward to getting her back on the team next year.
- Lucy Bennett’s butterfly technique has definitely improved her butterfly this season. Her hands are much lighter on the water out front. At the JV meet, her improved fly helped her crush her heat of 100 IM.
- I hope to see Kevin Bliss back next season so we can keep working on that much improved breaststroke.
- I also look forward to seeing Eileen Corkery and Jack Corkery back next season. What would Seton swimming be without a Corkery on the team?
- Especially since Katee Corkery is graduating. Even though she missed last season, she had a great career with Seton Swimming. Her strokes are beautiful, particularly her freestyle.
- Shaina Crowhurst made great progress this season under the guidance of Coach Hoffer. On Saturday’s meet, she even managed to pull out a very close race in 50 Breast with a swimmer from Wakefield.
- Are you allowed to race 50 Breaststroke with a big smile on your face? If you are Maggie Murphy, the answer is definitely “yes”! On Saturday, she smiled her way to a first place in girls 50 Breaststroke.
- 7th grader Shannon Kerns is going to be a good one for us in the future.
- Christian “Rocky” Kleb has really worked hard this season, and he just doesn’t want to see it end. He asked me if he could keep practicing with the team even though his season is complete. Way to go Rocky! You’ve really come a long way since you first asked me if you could be a team manager.
- Peter Quinan had a good first year of swimming. I know he learned a lot!
- Jonathan Rosato’s breaststroke was great on Saturday. He took first place in a very close race with Andrew Minarik, who also looked as good as I’ve seen him look in this event.
- John Ross had a good season. I continue to see his potential for swimming, especially in Breaststroke.
- 7th grader Stephen Shaw is going to be a good one for Seton. On Saturday, he won 50 Fly by not taking a breath on almost the entire last length. He really wanted it, and he got it!
- Few swimmers have improved like Peter Mooney. He really looked strong in 50 Fly on Saturday.
- I’m looking forward to getting Daniela Sinner back next season so we can keep working on those strokes, especially her freestyle. Nice work this year Daniela.
- Lexy Smith always looks like she’s having a good time. That was as true as ever on Saturday. I’m looking forward to next season Lexy.
- I never read Mr. Minarik’s e-mails without a dictionary close by. I also enjoy watching him take pleasure in confounding me with his frequent mentions of obscure literary references. But most of all, I appreciate how he has taken the initiative to ensure that we have timers lined up for our meets to guarantee that our kids get accurate measure of the results of their hard work. Thank to our Head Timer Recruiter, or HTR, or “Heater”, Mr. Minarik. I’d also like to thank the parents that consistently step up to time nearly every meet. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to help out yet, I’ll look forward to seeing you on the deck Feb 2nd.
- Did you like the new PA system the Seton Swim Team had for our JV meet at the WARF? Thank you Mr. Cook for bringing a little more excitement to our meets! We’ll be using that PA to play warm-up music for all of our future meets and to make sure that the “Voice of Seton Swimming”, Mr. Bennett, can be heard more clearly. With all of the equipment we bring to meets these days, Mr. Cook compared us to a traveling rock band.
- You can see from the success of the swimmer’s at Saturday’s meet that Karen Hoffer has made a big impact with our beginning swimmers. Many of those swimmers, who were literally beginners at the start of the season, are now swimming pretty good times. I was happy to hear her tell me that, even though her baby (Megan) is graduating, she’ll be back to help coach next season.
- I wanted to mention how happy I was to hear that Mr. Cummings has returned safely from Iraq. In a time when serving in the military is not always the most popular thing to do, I am grateful that men like this are willing to leave their families to help ensure the safety of mine. And thank you Mrs. Cummings for supporting him!
This coming weekend, we head up to Villanova for the National Catholic High School Swimming Championships with 14 swimmers. I look forward to giving you a full report when we return. Then on February 2nd, we’ll gear up for the big invitational that we’ve been hosting every year at Freedom. That will be the season ending meet for all but the swimmers participating in States, who will swim at Fredericksburg on Feb 9th and then in the State Championship at Freedom on Feb 15-16.
For those of you who are done swimming this year, I had a great time watching you improve. We’ll have our awards ceremony sometime in early March so we can properly celebrate another great season.
I’ll talk to all of you again next week,