We had another great meet down at Woodberry Forest last Saturday.  Our boys swam against both Woodberry and Fredericksburg Christian and our girls went up against just FCS.

The final scores looked like this:


SST      78        FCS     14

SST      32        WFS    69


SST      127      FCS     43

I wasn’t at all worried about the Woodberry Forest score.  They are a long-time Division I powerhouse with 7 State Championships since 1995 and 18 All-America plaques on their pool wall.  They are exactly the kind of competition we need to see in the regular season to get ready for States and Catholic Nationals.

Fredericksburg Christian on the other hand was a CAAC conference opponent.  Their coach is a USA swimming coach that uses the FCS pool for his USA team, so I wasn’t sure what they had this season.  Not taking any chances, I stacked our line up to ensure victory.  It worked a bit better than planned.

A “sweep” is when every one of your scoring entries beat your opponent’s fastest entry.  Against FCS, we swept 16 of the 22 events.  Had their top swimmer swum in the events that I anticipated, it may have been 18 of the 22 events.


Katie Planchak did it for the 2nd week in a row – she lowered her own Seton 100 Freestyle record.  This time, she cut it down to a :55.13!  She’s split a :54 in relay so I don’t think she’s done with this record.

Championship Qualifiers

Congratulations to Carolyn Claybrooks who will be joining us on our trip to Hargrave Military Academy for the VSIS State Swimming Championship.  Last weekend, Carolyn qualified in the 500 Free to get her first State qualifying time.

Connor Cook added 100 Backstroke to his list of qualifying times for the National Catholic HS Championship at Villanova.  Connor had previously qualified in the 200 IM and the 500 Free.

I’m looking forward to more qualifiers in the near future, including Kimberley Melnyk and Daniel Koehr, who are both very close in 100 Back.

Personal Records

It was a great meet for PRs.  We had 34 of them!  This is especially good performance considering that only 34 of our swimmers were able to participate in the meet:

–          Carolyn Claybrooks had a 3 PR effort with best times in the 200 Free (by over 2 seconds), the 500 Free (by almost 15 seconds!) and the 50 Free (by over 1 second!) leading off the 200 Free relay

–          Connor Cook dropped 1.77 seconds in 100 back to just miss breaking the elusive 1:00 mark.  He went 1:00.02.  He also cut .64 seconds from his 100 Fly

–          Billy Corkery cut a quarter second from his 50 Free.  He is getting very close to breaking :27.

–          Alex Cummings had 2 PRs.  She lowered her 100 Free by 1.24 seconds and her 100 back by 1.43 seconds!

–          Catfish (Vincent) Dunn had 3 big PRs when he cut almost 4 seconds from his 500 Free, over 3 seconds from his 100 Free while leading off the 400 Free relay, and .63 seconds from his 200 Free.

–          Jessica Dunn continues to cut time, which is unusual for a top swimmer at this point in the season. She dropped .55 seconds from her 50 Free and .83 seconds from her 100 Free.  She went :55.79 in 100 Free and 25.84 in 50 Free – both are very fast times!

–          I don’t know what Casey Flanagan was eating, but she should try again.  She dropped nearly 23 seconds from an already pretty fast 500 Free time and another 3 seconds from her 200 Free.

–          Jonah Higginbottom’s 100 Breast is better by another half second.  After this week of working on breaststroke technique, I’m anxious to see just how fast it can get.

–          Patrick Kenna cut 2.72 seconds from his 100 Back.   He’s obviously been listening in practice.  His time is starting to get pretty competitive, and he’s only in 8th grade.

–          Kelsey “I’m-not-a-distance-swimmer” Kleb proved herself wrong with two big PRs in 200 Free (cut 9.28 seconds) and 500 Free (8.74 seconds).  She has cut 59 seconds in her 500 Free since last season!

–          Daniel Koehr continues to move toward a State qualifying time in 100 Back, cutting another .59 seconds from his previous best.  He also cut .77 seconds from his backstroke lead off leg in the medley and 1.52 seconds from his 100 Free.  Dan broke 1:00 in 100 Free for the first time, going :59.32.

–          Rachel Lambrecht is showing that she might be able to take the middle lane for us in breaststroke in a few years.  She cut another 1.46 seconds and that was before we spent significant time this week teaching her the finer points of the stroke.

–          Sarah Locke, another 8th grade Cross Country runner like Rachel, is also showing signs of future greatness.   Sarah had 2 PRs including 2.79 seconds off of her 50 Free and 6.83 seconds off her 100 Back.

–          Kimberley Melnyk was another of the many swimmers that improved their backstroke times this week with a PR in 100 backstroke by .2 seconds.  Kimberley is getting very close to the State qualifying time in 100 back.

–          As previously mentioned, Katie Planchak lowered her personal and team record 100 Free time by .13 seconds

–          Joe Ross is starting to see the results of an improved work ethic in practice.  He had two PRs including a 2.47 second improvement in 100 Free and a best time in the 50 Free.

–          Krista Shaw cut time in both the 100 Free (2.2 seconds) and the 100 Back (almost 5 seconds!)

–          Laura Talbott lowered an already good breaststroke time by another second.

–          Bridgett Wunderly continues to improve with 2 PRs this past week.  She cut 1.82 seconds in 200 IM and another .2 seconds in 100 Back

–          Leslie Zapiain lowered her 100 Backstroke time by over 3 seconds and her 100 Free time by nearly a second.  That was a great day’s work!

Great Performances

As usual, we had many other great swims:

–          Wasn’t it fun watching Nevin Cook go for the pool records in 200 IM and 100 Breast?  The entire team lined the side of the pool, shouting every time Nevin’s head popped out of the water.  The records were very, very fast – 1:57.55 in the 200 IM and 58.25 in 100 Breast.  Nevin came very close to each of them, particularly the 200 IM record, but he didn’t quite get them.  We’ll be back next year so Nevin gets one more shot.  Seton already has one record on their board.  I’d love to see 2 more.

–          Nearly every backstroke entry in the meet dropped time.  Sometimes I’m a little nervous about spending so much time on stroke work at the expense of cardiovascular training, but I’m continually seeing that the emphasis on technique is paying off.

–          Our girls “B” Medley relay did a great job to complete the sweep of FCS.   On the anchor leg, Kimberley Melnyk ate up the FCS swimmer to go from 3rd to 2nd!  Kimberley repeated the feat one event later in the 200 IM where she was tied with the FCS girl at the 150 and blew her away on the freestyle leg.

–          Kelsey Kleb’s strokes have vastly improved!

–          Alex Doonis had a really quick start in the 50 Free.  As Katie Planchak continues to demonstrate, that is a big part of such a short race.

–          Sarah Locke!

–          Lea Mazzoccoli had a great race in the 100 Fly.  The final results were clearly wrong, but we know that she did a 1:05 high, very near her PR.  That is a great sign for Lea given that we are still early in the season.

–          David Harris was amazing on the last 25 of his 100 Fly.  I know he was really hurting, but he caught the FCS swimmer to complete the sweep for Seton.

–          Sean Koehr is starting to see some good sprint results.  His 24.70 in 50 Free is very close to PR for him

–          Joe Ross did a PR in 50 Free in spite of a missed turn.  I’m anxious to see what he can do with the turns I’m starting to see in practice.  On the 400 Free relay, Joe started to see what happens when you stop breathing every stroke.  He had a really fine split.

–          Speaking of turns, Daniel Koehr’s freestyle breakouts are textbook.

–          Before the 500 Free, I told Kelsey Kleb that, in order from us to sweep FCS, she needed to beat one particular girl.  Kelsey got the job done.

–          I told you that Casey Flanagan did a 22 second PR in the 500 Free.  Did you know that her shoulder was hurting that day?

–          I was standing next to the Woodberry Forest coach while David Basinger was swimming the 500 Free.  He asked me who it was, and said that he swims like the “energizer bunny”.  Then one of Woodberry Forest swimmers came up to me and asked again who was swimming.  I think David made quite an impression.

–          Bridget Wunderly and Kimberley Melnyk had some great underwaters on backstroke.

–          Laura Talbott put quite a scare into the field with her first 75 in the 100 Breast.  It was quite a swim.

–          I was very pleased with Christian Vestermark’s leg of the 400 Free relay

Final Thoughts

It is always great to see the way the Seton culture plays out when we show up to other schools.  Volunteerism at Seton is so strong, that we can show up at an away meet and handle all of the key officiating.  To be fair to Woodberry, they are a boarding school, but wasn’t it great to see Charles Seltman and S.L. Higginbottom referee, Joe Planchak handle the starting duties, and Mike Byers, Julie Mazzoccoli, and Tracey Harris jump in at stroke and turn.

I’m looking forward to our meet this coming Saturday when I am able to swim the entire team again.  That is the advantage to hosting our own meets.  We will be swimming two more Division I teams:  Collegiate School and Bishop Ireton.  Collegiate School is a past Division I State Champion with an excellent coach.  I’m not sure what BI has this year, but we can expect them to be strong also.

Plan on being there by 4:00 so we can stretch and hit the water for 1st warm-ups at 4:30 sharp.  We’ll have pizza for the swimmers from all three teams after the meet.  It should be a great time for some more PRs and Championship meet qualifiers.

Also, I nailed down the plans for practice next week.  The contractors at Freedom will not start their work until after our practice on Monday morning so we only have to practice at JRAC on Tuesday and Thursday night (8-9 p.m. in the water  Plan on being ready to stretch at 7:50 p.m.).   JRAC only has 5 lanes so not everyone will be involved in these two practices.  There will be no practice over Christmas break, but we will practice on Tuesday morning Jan 2nd.  It’s OK – Notre Dame will have beaten LSU in plenty of time for everyone to get in bed early!

Please watch your e-mail for more details on the meet sheet for Saturday and who’s participating in the JRAC practices.

Good night,

Coach Koehr

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