On Saturday, Seton Swimming hosted 329 swimmers and divers from all of the Catholic High Schools north of Fredericksburg, including O’Connell, Paul VI, Bishop Ireton and John Paul the Great.  It was the first of what Mr. Cook and I hope to make an annual event on the first weekend after we return to school every January.  To celebrate the boys and girls team winner each year, we instituted two large traveling cups with 20 blank brass plates – hopefully this meet will still be going on in 2030 when we run out of space!

Given that we were missing three of our top swimmers, including Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe who injured her wrist in a minor car accident and hopes to be back prior to States, we faired pretty well.  The final scores turned out like this with Bishop O’Connell taking home both trophies for our inaugural meet:


Bishop O’Connell                     450

Paul VI                                   229

Seton School                        227.5

Bishop Ireton                           157.5

John Paul the Great                88

St. Michael the Archangel        78


Bishop O’Connell                     288

Bishop Ireton                           269

Paul VI                                     229

Oakcrest                                   192

Seton School                        188

John Paul the Great                84

St. Michael the Archangel        46

It might have been fun to find out how we would have done with our entire team on a weekend without the senior play (I suspect 2nd for both the boys and girls, and with so many points available in relays, the girls may have even gotten 1st), but that’s now what counts.  You swim with who you have, and I was very pleased with how we competed.

On a side note, wasn’t that senior play great?  The class members in the play reminded me of my Pre-Calc class since so many of them are in my Pre-Calc class – and some of them weren’t acting 😉  When I was getting frustrated by the number of kids who were telling me they would have to leave the meet early, I hadn’t yet seen the play.  I was still a little frustrated when our 200 Free Relays fell apart after a mass exodus of swimmers (and a 1.5 point loss by the boys to PVI), but it is easier to be patient when you know that the event for which they were missing the meet encompassed so much excellence.

Northern Virginia Catholic High School Champions

Seton has two NoVa Catholic High School Champions now:

  • Cat Rogers was simply awesome this weekend, swimming two PRs on her way to a 1st and 2nd place individual finishes.  In the 50 Free, Cat had it the championship won from the initial breakout with the power and grace you see from great female sprinters.  She swam a PR time of 25.06, a time that would have finished 2nd at State last year, behind only Lauren Donohoe! I think that Cat and I have concluded that she will be swimming the 50 Free at Catholic Nationals and States with Lauren and probably Alex Doonis where I expect all three of them to be in the top 5 with times under :25.  Cat also had a PR of 1:10.02 in 100 Breast, taking 2nd to last year’s State Champion from Bishop Ireton.  As usual, she dominated, even the defending state champion, on the underwater portion of the race.
  • Vincent “Catfish” Dunn was our other champion with a big win in 100 Back and a strong 2nd place finish in 100 Fly to a PVI swimmer who placed 5th at States last year.  The most impressive part of his backstroke race was his four underwater kick-outs which have obviously been improved by his butterfly work.  Last year at States, Catfish finished 12th with 6 seniors finishing ahead of him.  After Saturday’s performances, I continue to expect a much improved Catfish to compete for All-State recognition this year in 100 Back.
  • Joe Duran showed these big diocesan Catholic schools where some hard work and good genetics can get you when he took the individual championship in diving with a Personal Record score of 177.10.  Immediately below, you can read what his coach (and source of the good genetics) has to say about the victory.  Great job Joe!

Diving Team Wins!

If this were a diving-only meet, then Seton’s young dive team would have won the whole thing!  Incredibly, our divers scored 60 of our teams combined total of 415.5, and in no single individual event did we score more points than in boys diving where we scored Joe Duran, Joey Rubin and Michael Manley scored 37 points!  I know Coach Maureen Duran is very proud, and she definitely should be!  Here’s some analysis from the proud coach herself:

  • Seton Dive team has a lot to be proud of this evening at the 1st Annual Northern Virginia Catholic Swim & Dive Invitational. Seton entered six official divers, 3 boys and 3 girls and four exhibition divers, three girls and one boy. Several returning divers, including Sarah Zapiain, Keziah Higginbottom and Mary Duran scored exceptionally high Saturday afternoon and many had beaten their previous diving scores. Sarah who had an outstanding diving meet on the 18th of December, taking second place among many divers who typically dive all year around took 5th place today among some tough competition. Keziah took 6th place followed by Mary Duran who ended up taking 7th place. Mary and Keziah are a mere few points away from breaking a 100 point diving score. 
  • Two official divers, Joseph Duran and Joey Rubin took first and third place today among some outstanding men divers. Joseph Duran had an all time high score followed by Joey Rubin who really hasn’t gotten close to tackling the talent he actually possesses. Soon to follow Rubin was Michael Manley who awarded Seton dive with 6th place, nice job boys.
  • The real story today exists among our exhibition divers. Returning divers who typically dive official for Seton dive, are brother and sister, Michael and Kristi Ostrich. Both divers did well this afternoon and should be proud of the way they competed against the points of other top divers. Mikey Wittlinger, a second year diver has been coming on strong the last several meets.  After suffering a head injury on the board, Mikey has fought her way back to conquer the board and her fears in the past few meets. Like the other Seton divers, Mikey is just a few points away from the 100 point score which means you’re diving at a good level.
  • As a coach, the highlight of the day, next to my son’s win, goes to our very own Theresa Verry. Theresa is a first year diver with very little experience. She competed in her very first meet, fighting her fears, performing exceptionally well and keeping up with the big dogs of the meet. Judges use a scoring system and judge dives on a 10 point scale, from high to low. To score a five is typically a decent score since most high school divers rarely get over a score of seven. Theresa had two fives on two different dives, quite an accomplishment for someone who a month ago had only two dives in her repertoire. Good job divers I am very proud of you and I look with anticipation for the return of our injured Caroline Holmes!”

Way to go divers!  You will be a great addition to our swim team in Christiansburg, especially if you can score like that.  What a big advantage we’ll have in our quest for the Division II State Championship!

Other Top Three Performers

In a very fast meet and without three of our top swimmers, we had a healthy number of other top 3 finishes:

  • Our girls 200 medley relay is so strong, that even without Alex and Lauren, Bridget Wunderly, Rachel Lambrecht, Lucy Bennett, and Cat Rogers took 2nd overall!  The power I saw in Bridget’s backstroke just blew me away – I’ve already created next week’s meet in my Team Manager software and put Bridget in 100 Back because I’m so anxious to see what she can do.  Rachel, swimming in Cat’s normal breaststroke spot, followed Cat’s lead with a very strong underwater pull-out.  Junior Lucy Bennett did a very fine job stepping into the fly leg of “A” relay in a big meet, and Cat’s anchor leg was amazing.  The split says 23.54, but the CTS was misbehaving at this point in the meet so I’m not sure I believe it.  The way she looked in the water, however, told me that it was at least possible.  Cat hit the water almost two body lengths behind the PVI anchor and caught her by the turn.  More than have of that led was gone before she even surfaced off of the dive.  Amazing, just amazing.
  • I was watching Rachel Lambrecht in practice this past week with Coach Lea Mazzoccoli as we discussed how much Rachel has improved and how well she can swim all four strokes.  I made a mental note to give her a shot at the 200 IM, and she rewarded me with a 3rd place finish and a PR swim.  Her swim was only .46 seconds from the National Catholic cut and only 1.30 seconds from the State cut.  I’ve already put her in 200 IM again this coming Saturday.
  • Bridget Wunderly had a pretty good meet, and at least one college coach was there to check her out.  In 500 Free, she took 2nd place with a solid time just a few seconds off of her PR.  In 100 Fly, she swam within .04 seconds of PR time in 100 Fly from States last year.  That swim was got her 3rd place overall and gave all of reasons get to get excited for States.  When a swimmer of Bridget’s caliber swims a near PR time after a very difficult holiday training period, it is very encouraging.
  • Freshman Jamie Smith took 3rd place in the 500 Free ahead of swimmers from every school in the meet except O’Connell.  I’m very excited about Jamie’s future prospects – freshman boys just aren’t supposed to score that high in a meet like this.
  • Our girls 200 Free relay took 3rd place overall with regulars Bridget Wunderly and Cat Rogers joined by Bernadette Wunderly and Mikey Wittlinger.  It was the strong performances of Bernadette and Mikey that allowed us to score so highly with this relay while substituting for Lauren and Alex, and it is very encouraging since our defending state champion 200 Free relay contains 2 seniors this year.  And once again, Bridget and Cat wer particularly impressive.  Bridget swam a .94 second 50 Free PR (27.73) leading off the relay and Cat split a very fast 25.08.

Current Members of the Post Season Championship Teams

In anticipation of the championship season, we’re already starting to see who is going to be on our State and National Catholic Teams.  Both of these meet required participants to meet a specific qualified times, and there is still plenty of time for our swimmers to reach those times.

Here are the championship teams as they stand right now, not including relays and divers:

National Catholic Team State Team
·       Catfish Dunn

·       David Basinger

·       Joe Kenna

·       Carolyn Claybrooks

·       Lauren Donohoe

·       Alex Doonis

·       Rachel Lambrecht

·       Cat Rogers

·       Bridget Wunderly

·       Girls 200 Medley and 200 Free Relay

·       Boys 200 Free Relay

·       Catfish Dunn

·       David Basinger

·       Michael Hill

·       Jamie Smith

·       Joe Kenna (Relay Anchor)

·       Lauren Donohoe

·       Alex Doonis

·       Cat Rogers

·       Bridget Wunderly

·       Rachel Lambrecht

·       Girls 200 Medley and 200 Free Relay

·       Boys 200 Medley, 200 and 400 Free Relay

Congratulations to these 10 swimmers!  A detailed report detailing the events in which everyone qualified is under Meet & Team Information.  Entries to National Catholics are due January 19th so I’ll figure out how we’re going to do the relays and get info out to everyone shortly.

On the boy’s side, so far only our 200 Free relay has qualified for National Catholics.  As of now, that relay is Catfish DunnDavid BasingerJoe Kenna and Patrick Kenna with Brendan Koehr only out by .05 seconds.  Our boysmedley relay is only .85 seconds away from the qualifying time for National Catholics, and this weekend is the last shot for Catfish Dunn, Michael Hill, David Basinger and Joe Kenna to go 1:46.50.  Looking at old splits, I can see that I also need to give Pat Kenna a shot at the breaststroke leg on that relay by putting him in the “B” relay this coming weekend to see what he can do.  Michael Hill’s best split is a pretty fast 32.53, but Patrick Kenna went 35.75 back in 2006 as a freshman (and we saw in the picture I posted what he looked like back then ;-)) so it could get interesting.  For states, we have all three relays qualified.  Recall that last week Jamie Smith, Brendan Koehr, Patrick Kenna and Steven Shawmade the qualifying time for States in the 400 Free Relay.  Who ultimately goes to the states for the boys relays, however, depends on how I decide to line-up David and Catfish, a decision I’m close to making.

On the girls side, Lauren Donohoe, Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers and Bridget Wunderly have qualified for the 200 Medley and 200 Free relays for both Nat’l Catholics and States, but we have yet to qualify for the 400 Free relay.  Looking at our best results so far this season, it looks to me like Sarah Zapiain, Lucy Bennett, Mikey Wittlinger and Rachel Lambrecht have a good shot at qualifying for States in the 400 Free relay – their best time is only 1.54 seconds from the cut of 4:27.73.  If you add up their best 100 Free times, you get 4:26.26, so it looks to me like they should be able to do it, so I’m going to give them another shot at it this weekend.  A good swim will win a trip to Christiansburg.

Personal Records

We had another 53 personal records established this past weekend.  That means that, on a team of 79 swimmers, we’ve had an incredible 411 Personal Records set so far this year!  I generally consider a season with 500 personal records to be very successful – I think we are on track to blow that standard away.  Here are the rest of these PRs:

  • William Arnold has made some great progress this year, including his 21.38 second PR in 100 Breast on Saturday!
  • Stephen Britten, a 7th grader, cut 5.35 seconds from his 100 Free PR.  The kid  just continues to improve.
  • Michael Collins took on 100 Fly and beat it with a 17.47 second PR.  Obviously he’s been listening in practice
  • Kenneth Cuomo had another good week with 2 PRs.  In 100 Back, he lowered his PR by 4.96 seconds and in 100 Free, he lowered his PR by 1.98 seconds.
  • Bryanna Farmer really swam hard leading off that medley relay, and it resulted in a .50 second PR in 50 Back.  And she followed that up with a .35 second PR in 50 Free.  After that race she ran up to me with a big smile on her face and told me it was because she “pulled all the way through and kept my head down”.  Very nice Bryanna.
  • Josepha Gonzalez had a two PR afternoon.  In 100 Free, she dropped 5.25 seconds and in 50 Free she dropped .72 seconds.
  • Therese Gonzalez joined her sister with a PR in 50 Free, by 1.96 seconds.
  • Patrick Hassan had a great swim in 100 Breaststroke swimming 4.60 seconds faster than ever before.  He also swam 50 Free 2.64 seconds faster than ever before.
  • I can’t wait to see how fast 7th grader Emily Heim will get in her career at Seton, especially if she keeps doing things like dropping 1.67 seconds in an already fast 100 Breast and .17 seconds in 50 Free.  Emily is just a hair away from breaking :30 in 50 Free now, and her finish was exactly like we learned in practice.
  • Sarah Heim is taking the challenge from her little sister and continuing to shine.  In the 200 Free, Sarah lowered her PR by 3.14 seconds and in the 100 Breast, Sarah lowered her PR by .41 seconds.
  • Keziah Higginbottom was feeling good after that great diving performance, and she was feeling even better after that 2.46 second in 100 Back.
  • Pat Hilleary was a good as I’ve ever seen him in the 50 Free, so it was no surprise to see that he cut 1.33 seconds from his PR.  Nice work with Coach Smith.
  • Michael Hill’s work with former butterflier and Seton Coach Lea Mazzoccoli must be paying off.  He lowered his 100 Fly PR by 2.85 seconds.
  • Xavier Holl has shown dramatic improvement this season.  On Saturday, he cut 29.49 seconds from his 100 Breast PR
  • Joe Kenna scored 11 points individually on Saturday, including 7 points in the 50 Free and 4 points with his .28 second PR performance in 100 Free.
  • Pat Kenna took another step toward securing his spot on the 200 Free Relay for states when he dropped another .04 seconds in 50 Free.  That swim was good enough for 9th overall and scored 4 points for us.
  • Watch out for freshman Joe Kosten in the future because he is already scoring for us in big meets and just keeps getting faster.  In 100 Breast, he cut another .94 seconds to come within 1.71 seconds of the State qualifying time and place 5th overall.  That scored 10 points.  I’ve got him in 100 Breast this weekend to try for that state cut again.
  • Rachel Lambrecht didn’t just swim well in the 200 IM, she also cut 2.82 seconds from her 100 Free PR which will be very helpful for our 400 Free relay to qualify for States.  That swim was good for 5th place and scored 10 points.
  • Caitlyn Lightner had a good afternoon with two PRs, one in 100 Back by 3.62 seconds and one in 50 Free by 1.21 seconds.
  • Luke Marrazzo came back strong after a tough 200 IM to drop .89 seconds in 100 Back, place 9th overall, and score 4 points for Seton.
  • 8th grader Sally Marrazzo has shown great improvement this season, particularly in middle distance freestyle.  In the 200 Free, Sally lowered her PR by 6.41 seconds.  I can see potential for Sally to become a major contributor to Seton’s future efforts to win State Championships if she decides she really wants it.
  • Fiona Miller dropped 13.25 seconds in 100 Back – very nice Fiona!
  • Tommy Moore broke :40 in 50 Free for the first time with his .97 second PR.
  • I’m looking forward to seeing sophomore James Mosimann become a serious contributor to our Varsity squad next season.  He took a step in that direction with a 22.20 second PR in 200 IM and a 3.25 second PR in 500 Free – and I’m sure he can go even faster in that 500!
  • Maggie Murphy cut .57 seconds from her 200 IM PR.  With more practice, I think she could be pretty good at this event.
  • Ann Pennefather got on track with a .14 second PR in 50 Free
  • Cousin Michaela Pennefather had two PRs, a .21 second PR in 50 Free and a 2.26 second PR in 100 Free.  I enjoyed seeing her smile when she heard her time.  It’s fun to get better, isn’t it Michaela?
  • Nice work Mary Remington.  You cut another .29 seconds from your 50 Free.
  • Senior Jonathan Rosato had a very nice meet on his way to a standout performance in the senior play.  In 200 Free, he lowered his PR by 11.41 seconds and in 100 Fly, he lowered his PR 3.03 seconds.  I know Coach Lea was particularly pleased with that Fly performance.
  • Sophomore Steven “Spartan” Shaw really seems to like the events that require more endurance and it showed with his 8.01 second PR in 200 IM.  That swim was good enough for 10th place in the event and 3 points.
  • In addition to his great swim in the 500 Free, Jamie Smith also took 7th in the 200 Free and scored 7 points.  Between his two individual events, he scored 19 points – pretty good for a freshman!
  • I decided to give Matthew Verry a shot at 100 Breast, an event he’s done well at in the past, and he took full advantage, cutting .64 seconds and scoring 4 points with a 9th place finish.
  • Theresa Verry didn’t just have a good diving meet, she also cut 3.34 seconds from her 100 Breast PR with a great swim.  Her body dolphin was excellent, and that is why she dropped so much time.
  • 7th grader Meggie Vestermark had two PRs on Saturday including a 1.43 second PR in 50 Free and a .22 second PR in 100 Back.
  • How about Bernadette Wunderly’s performance in 500 Free?  She swam in the lane right underneath where I was standing, so I had a front row seat for her 1.37 second PR and 10th place finish.  That was worth 3 points to the team.
  • Vivian Zadnik was so excited after her 1.55 second PR in 100 Breast, and that got me excited also.  Vivian really tries hard in practice and this is the inevitable result.


Other Great Performances

There were a lot of other great swims this past weekend also:

  • Lucy Bennett had another very nice swim in the 500 Free, finishing 7th overall and scoring 7 points for our team.  This is the 2nd meet in a row when I’ve been able to count on Lucy to score in this event.
  • Hugh Brien, a junior first year swimmer, scored with two 12th place finishes in 100 Fly and 500 Free.  Very cool being able to use a first year swimmer in events like these.
  • Monica Byers placed 10th in 200 IM and 12th in 100 Back to score a total of 4 points for our team.
  • Michael Hill’s breaststroke was good enough for 4th place and 11 points for Seton.
  • Coach Lowell was commenting to me during one of Hadley Huff’s swims about the fantastic improvement that she has made since he first watched her at Time Trials
  • Brendan Koehr took 12th to score for Seton in the 50 Free.
  • Joe Kosten had a good swim in the 200 Free, placing 9th overall and scoring 4 points.
  • Steven Shaw had a nice swim in the 500 where he took 6th overall and scored another 9 points.  With his points in the 200 IM, he individually scored a total of 12 points.  When our current crop of seniors graduate, I’m really going to be looking to swimmers like Steven to step up.
  • I can tell that Meghan O’Malley and Michaela Pennefather are listening in practice after I watched them swim backstroke in the medley relays.  They both had a very nice shoulder roll.
  • This season, I’ve generally tried to put up a all-7th grade relay to see how they will fair.  Well, on Saturday, a medley relay of Kimberly Rector, Emily Heim, Jillian Ceol and Claire Kenna were seeded in the championship final heat and, had they been official, would have placed 8th!  Kimberly wasn’t even feeling well, but she powered through and still performed very well.
  • This week, I challenged 7th graders Claire Kenna and Jillian Ceol to try to the 200 Free, and they both did very well.  I know Jillian was feeling the effects of some quad pain, but I pleased to see her give it her best effort.  You can’t always do your best time, but you can always do your best.
  • And I let 7th grader Nicolette Smith try the 200 IM since I’ve noticed how well she swims all four strokes.  She did a really nice job in an event that I’d expect to see her swim more of in the next 5 years.  At her age, it is really important that we don’t start specializing in one particular stroke – we need to learn to be great swimmers 1st, and specialists 2nd.
  • Claire Kenna and Nicolette Smith also challenged the 100 Fly for the first time and did so well that Nicolette’s time would have placed 14th and Claire’s time would have placed 16th – pretty good for 7th graders!
  • I’ll bet that Leslie Zapiain slept well after swimming the medley relay, 200 Free and 200 IM all in a row so she could go help with hair and make-up at the senior play.  Gotta love Leslie Zapiain.
  • I don’t think that Brendan Koehr had as much fun as I did watching him and Patrick Kenna race it off for relay spots in the 50 and 100 Free.  One advantage of hosting the meet is that I can arrange to have them in lanes right next to each other.  (For the record, Patrick got Brendan in the 50 and Brendan got Patrick in the 100.)

Notes on the Remainder of the Season

We have two meets remaining in the regular season:

  • A DAC conference meet on January 15th at St. Michael the Archangel in Fredericksburg
  • A Varsity meet on January 22nd with Woodberry Forest, St. Gertrude’s and a few others at the WARF in Warrenton

All of the meets after that are championship meets where no exhibition swims are allowed.  So to conclude the season for the Junior Varsity swimmers (swimmers that have only swum exhibition this season), we’re hosting our annual state-wide Junior Varsity Invitational at the WARF on January 22nd right before the Varsity meet.  It is always a fun meet that is growing in popularity with teams from all over the State.

For the Varsity kids, we have four championship meets lined up:

  • Catholic Nationals at Villanova University in Philadelphia on Jan 29 and 30
  • Our annual VSIS Division II Invitational at the Freedom Center on Feb 5th
  • The DAC Conference Championships at Fredericksburg Academy on February 12th
  • The State Championship in Christiansburg on February 18th and 19th

Catholic Nationals and States are for swimmers and relays that have achieved a specified qualifying time and the other two meets allow me to enter up to 4 swimmers per event.  I’ll do my best to make it clear prior to January 22nd the swimmers who will be entered in any of the championship meets.

We’ll practice on the normal schedule this coming week.  In the past, most kids plan on spending the time between practice and the start of each day’s mid-term studying, sometimes in the lobby at Freedom.  Time management is the key, so don’t waste time doing silly things like watching TV or spending too much time on Facebook when you have bigger fish to fry.

See you at practice,

Coach Koehr

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