On Saturday, Seton Swimming hosted 269 swimmers from 16 VSIS Division II schools (less than 160 boys or girls in grades 9-12) for our annual Invitational Championship. We started this invitational for two reasons: 1) Give small school teams a meet with a State Championship feel that would include their entire Varsity teams instead of just a few select swimmers, and 2) Foster a since of state-wide competition between the small schools during the run-up to the State Championship meet. I’d say we accomplished both goals.
I’d have to say that, other than the State Championship meets that we’ve hosted, this was the best meet we’ve ever had. We all owe Mr. Cook a big thank you for all of the pomp and circumstance that helped give the event such a great State Championship feel. It was also great sharing the joy of good competition with all of the other small school coaches and swimmers. When we go to States, we’ll all be able to enjoy competing with each other for the Division II State title rather than just watching the big schools have all of the fun.
And based on the meet results, I’m expecting that both our boys and girls should have some fun. Here are the top scoring teams, and as you can see, Seton Swimming won handily. It is great competing with our entire team present and semi-healthy:
Roanoke Catholic 145
John Paul the Great 132
Fredericksburg Christian 132
Fredericksburg Academy 126
John Paul the Great 98.5
Fredericksburg Christian 97
Roanoke Catholic 84
DAC Conference Championship Meet Records
The DAC records that we maintain for swimming are actually DAC Championship meet records, which is the answer to the oft asked question, “Why are the Seton team records so much faster than the conference records”. Because this was a conference championship meet, and even though it wasn’t THE conference championship meet, the coaches and ADs agreed several years ago to count records set in this meet. And we set four of them! At one point, for about 15 minutes, we actually held every single DAC conference record, but more on that shortly. Here are the record breakers:
- The conference record in 50 Free has been a surprisingly elusive record for us, and for two years, it has been the only record that Seton didn’t have. The record was held by a great sprinter from Fredericksburg Christian named Keri Jones who set the record back in 2005 in a race against our great sprinter Katie Planchak. The record was 25.75, a time which three of our current swimmers have beaten in other meets multiple times. So for this meet, I gave Cat Rogers and Alex Doonis the mission to break it, and both of them did. Cat went 25.04 and Alex went 25.22, so at least for now, Cat holds the record. But that may change at DAC champs this coming week when I’m giving the pair a chance to lower it again. I watched Keri Jones’ little 8th grade cousin sprint this past weekend, and I’ve told these girls that they need to get that record as low as possible if they want to keep it past this FCS sprinter’s tenure in the DAC. I expect it will get much lower this weekend – plus, both Cat and Alex are Juniors!
- Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Alex Doonis, Bridget Wunderly, Cat Rogers and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe broke the old record set in 2008 by Seton girls Jessica Dunn, Coach Lea Mazzoccoli, and two fresham named Doonis and Donohoe. Their new record is 3:49.72, more than 8 seconds faster than the old record.
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay, also made up of Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe, broke another 2008 record, set by Jessica Dunn, Mary Kate Kenna, Coach Lea Mazzoccoli (sorry Lea!), and a freshman Lauren Donohoe, by more than a second when they swam 1:57.14. The best split of the team was swum by Bridget Wunderly who had a PR split in 50 Fly of 27.76. If this relay is going to beat St. Catherine’s in 1.5 weeks, we’re going to need to see PR splits from all four of these girls.
- And our Boys 400 Free Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Joe Kenna, Brendan Koehr, and David Basinger handily beat a record close to the hearts of the two men who are most responsible for the operations of our team. That record, set back in 2008, was held by Nevin Cook, Sean Koehr, Connor Cook, and Daniel Koehr. After the race, I told these boys that anytime you beat a Nevin Cook record, you’ve done something! Everyone swam well on this relay, but Brendan Koehr swam particularly well when he duplicated that unbelievable 54 second split from National Catholics.
Now I mentioned that there was a 15 minute period of time when we held EVERY DAC record. The reason that period of time was so short is because of a great young swimmer from Wakefield Country Day named Rachel Dumez. The event right after 50 Free was 100 Butterfly with a record of 1:05.00 that was set by Coach Lea Mazzoccoli in 2008. Rachel’s time was almost exactly the same as Bridget Wunderly’s but I didn’t enter Bridget in this event. Bridget can count on swimming 100 Fly at DAC Champs so we can get this record back. Rachel also took the 100 Back record, previously set by Jessica Dunn in 2006, with a 1:01.89. Alex Doonis has gone 1:00.51 in the past, so I’ve already entered Alex in 100 Back for this Saturday’s meet. It will take some great swimming, but I think we can get these two records back!
The current DAC and Team records are posted under Team Information under Meet & Team Information if you want to check them out, and here’s a summary of the vulnerable conference records that we are targeting this coming Saturday:
- Girls 100 Free, 56.08, held by Katie Planchak – goal to be broken by Cat Rogers or Lauren Donohoe
- Girls 500 Free, 5:25,43, held by Jessica Dunn – goal to be broken by Bridget Wunderly
- Girls 50 Back leading off Medley, 28.73, held by Jessica Dunn – goal to be broken by Alex Doonis
- Girls 100 Back, 1:01.89 , held by Rachel Dumez of WCDS – goal to be broken by Alex Doonis
- Girls 100 Breast, 1:09.99, held by Katie Shipko (from 1999!) – goal to be broken by Cat Rogers
- Girls 100 Fly, 1:01.29 , held by Rachel Dumez of WCDS – goal to be broken by Bridget Wunderly
- Girls 200 Free Relay, 1:44.39 , held by Seton from 2008 – goal to be broken by our Big-4 Girls
- Girls 200 Medley Relay, 1:57.14 , set by our Big-4 Girls last week – goal to be broken by our Big-4 Girls
- Boys 100 Free, 49.55, held by Kevin Koehr from 2006 – goal to be broken by David Basinger
- Boys 200 IM, 1:59.78, held by Nevin Cook from 2006 – goal to be broken by David Basinger
- Boys 200 Free Relay, 1:33.74, held by N. Cook, D. Koehr, C. Cook, S. Koehr from 2008 – goal to be broken by David Basinger, Catfish Dunn, Joe Kenna and Brendan Koehr
Keep your eyes on these races!
VSIS Division II Champions
There were several swimmers in this meet who will score highly at the State Championships in Christiansburg, including one who will probably be the girls Swimmer of the Meet, but that didn’t keep us from generating a healthy haul of Gold medals. Individually, the following swimmers brought home gold medals:
- David Basinger took gold in the 200 Free by nearly 5 seconds. The race was his from the beginning, especially after his first 50 split of 24.95!
- Lauren “The Machine” Donohoe decided that it might be good to swim something other than her normal 50 and 100 Free this past weekend, and showed that, even with a sore wrist and time out of the water, she could beat an excellent Nansemond-Suffolk swimmer in the 200 Free. I probably should have made sure she stuck with the shorter races since, after the race, her wrist really seemed to be bothering her.
- Bridget Wunderly had a great race in the 200 IM, taking gold by only .04 seconds over two excellent swimmers from Roanoke Catholic and Nansemond-Suffolk. It is not often that you see Bridget Wunderly gain the advantage on Breaststroke, but she was clearly much improved on that leg of the race and probably explained her 2.52 second personal record.
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn will most likely swim 100 Fly and 100 Back at States, but at Saturday’s invitational he swam a 3.65 second PR to go 5:00.65 in the 500 Free – and he did it after practicing that morning. That swim was good enough for Gold by 8 seconds over the same poor Steward School and Roanoke Catholic School swimmers that lost to David in the 200 Free. I hoping to see Catfish break 5:00 minutes at DAC Champs before we return to his signature events for Christiansburg.
A top finishing relay at States could score up to 40 points, so let’s not forget to discuss these:
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren Donohoe totally dominated the competition, set a new conference record, and defeated the 2nd place team from Nansemond-Suffolk by 7 seconds. Bridget Wunderly’s PR 50 Fly split of 27.76 should fair very well at States in 1.5 weeks.
- Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Michael Hill, David Basinger and Joseph Kenna, also beat Nansemond-Suffolk in a much closer race. Fortunately, Michael Hill swam a PR breaststroke split of 31.79 and freshman Joe Kenna split a blazing PR 23.63 Freestyle split on the anchor to help ensure the victory.
- And we’ve already discussed the record setting performance of our Boys 400 Free Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Joseph Kenna, Brendan Koehr and David Basinger.
And There Were Several Others Who Stood on the Medal Stand
During the meet, we had two breaks to hand out medals to the sounds of John Williams Atlanta Olympic Theme music. Here are the other swimmers who found their way to medal stand:
- David Basinger took the Silver medal, by only .03 seconds, after swimming a PR 50.33 in 100 Free. He swam that PR after a hard swimming practice earlier in the day.
- Cat Rogers had the good fortune to race against the best female swimmer in the State, Gabby Bishop of Nansemond-Suffolk – twice. But no one else could beat her, so she took home 2 Silver medals in the 50 and 100 Free, setting a new conference record in the 50.
- How many of us ever thought of Rachel Lambrecht as a butterflier? Well we’re going to have to start because she swam a 1.22 second PR of 1:10.56 in 100 Fly to take her first Silver medal of the afternoon. Then, in 100 Breaststroke, she took another Silver medal in a very close race with a great young Richmond Christian swimmer. This has really been a great season for Rachel, and I suspect there’s more to come.
- I was so excited to see Lucy Bennett take advantage of the opportunity to score for us in the 500 Free. Her 4.08 second PR swim of 6:21.99 was good enough to take the Bronze I can still see her smile on the stand.
- Alex Doonis, who also practiced hard the morning of the meet, took home a Silver medal in 100 Back and a Bronze medal in 50 Free. The Gold medalist in the 50 Free event will probably be the Swimmer of the Meet at the State Championship so there are worse things than finishing behind her.
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn added a Bronze medal in the 200 IM to his Gold in the 500 Free. One of the swimmers from Roanoke Catholic that finished ahead of Catfish was the Swimmer of the Meet. His time of 2:08.92 was surprisingly close to his PR given that he had practiced that morning.
And her are the other Relays that made it to the Medal stand:
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Patrick Kenna, Brendan Koehr, Steven Shaw and Jamie Smith swam a PR, hit the state qualifying time, and took the Bronze All four of these swimmers had PR splits: Patrick led off with a 25.04, Brendan had the fastest split with a 23.88, Steven Shaw swam a 26.05 and Jamie Smith anchored with a very fast 24.35. No relay on Saturday duplicated their feat of 4 PR splits in a single relay.
- Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Alex Doonis, Bridget Wunderly, Cat Rogers and Lauren Donohoe took the Silver medal by only .04 seconds after Nansemond-Suffolk’s Gabby Bishop split 50.60 for a 100 Free at the end. Hey, that’s an incredible swim for a female – no shame there. And three out of 4 of these girls practiced that morning, so I was pleased with the result that we got. I guess one of the downsides for these girls of the incredible success they’ve had in the relays is that expectations are very high. And I know they can achieve they will find more incredible success at States in the 200 Medley and Free Relays.
New Member of the State Championship Team
- It was very exciting watching Jonathan Rosato go for the State cut in 100 Breaststroke. With nearly the entire team at the end of his lane or cheering from the side, Jonathan cut his PR by 1.22 seconds, swam a 1:11.88 and just missed the cut by only .47 seconds. I already have him entered in 100 Breast for DAC Champs this weekend for one final shot at it.
But one thing I discovered as I analyzed the results from Saturday was that Jonathan swam on a 200 Medley “B” Relay with Steven Shaw, Jamie Smith and Patrick Kenna that hit the State cut. By the eligibility rules for the State Championship, swimming on a relay the hits the cut qualifies you to swim a relay at the State Championship. If you check out the State Meet entries under Meet & Team Information, you’ll see that I’ve already entered Jonathan in the 200 Medley “B” Relay for States – get your room reservation Jonathan!
- Freshman Joe Kenna has had a break-out season this year, and I really think he’s enjoying it. In the 200 Free, Joe lowered his PR by 10.65 seconds and came very close to breaking 2:00. His 2:02.03 was good enough to beat the State meet qualifying time so I’ve got him entered into the event! At the beginning of this season, who would have guessed that Joe Kenna’s best event would be the 200 Free? The reason? Because his stroke is so long. The next time you see Joe swim, watch how he flips his wrist on every pull. He has very long arms, and he takes full advantage of them while he’s swimming. In the 100 Free, Joe broke :54.00 for the first time from a standing start. Both Joe’s 100 and 200 Free times are very impressive times for a freshman, especially a freshman who is only swimming with his high school team.
As impressive as the above list of medalists is, I had to wonder during my analysis about how we won by such a wide margin without an even longer list. Well the answer was how well our high-school only swimmers swam this past weekend. We had another 46 personal records established this past weekend, and that brings our season PR total to an incredible 587! Here are the rest of these PRs:
- In the fast heat of 100 Fly, we had all four of our entries hit their PR and score more points than any other team, even though our highest overall finish was 6th. When you are scoring 12 places, our 6th, 7th, 9th and 11th scored more points than any other team, including Nansemond-Suffolk’s 3rd and 4th. As well as anything, this is an example of how we win by such large margins in our dual meets. And with all of the graduations we had on the boys side last season and will have on the boys side this season, this heat was also a great showcase for the boys that will be leading our team into the future:
- Steven “Spartan” Shaw, sophomore, cut 2.26 seconds from his 100 Fly PR to go 1:06.09. Steven also had two other PRs including a 50 second PR in 500 Free and a .49 second PR in 50 Back leading off the medley relay. Both Steven’s 100 Fly and his 500 Free were good enough for 6th place or a total of 18 individual points.
- Hugh Brien, a Junior, cut nearly 1 second to go 1:08.44 – a very good time for a first year swimmer. And in his 50 Free, Hugh’s start from lane 1 had him in 1st place for his heat on the breakout. I cannot wait to get Hugh back next season!
- Joe Kosten, a Freshman, cut .79 seconds from his 100 Fly PR to go 1:11.63 and take 9th In what we generally consider his best event, 100 Breast, Joe cut another .25 seconds to go 1:12.87 and take 5th place overall.
- Michael Hill, a Junior who will be swimming 100 Breaststroke at DAC Champs and States, cut .51 seconds from his 100 Fly PR. He also lowered his 200 IM PR by .57 seconds. I’m looking forward to seeing Michael perform over the next two weeks.
- For the second week in a row, Brendan Koehr showed a level of confidence in the water that I haven’t seen before now. His times are now comparing favorably with some of his older brothers who are now regularly checking with me to see if Brendan is faster than they were. On Saturday, Brendan cut 2.94 seconds from his 100 Free PR to go 48 and beat brother Daniel Koehr’s best time of 55.84. At DAC champs, Brendan could go faster than his brother Sean, who’s best time was 54.30 – I’ve already let Sean know his standing in the family is in danger. In the 50 Free, Brendan also had a tremendous performance when he lowered his PR by .77 seconds to go 24.38, a time that could win at DAC Champs this coming Saturday. Beating Sean’s 23.55 and Daniel’s 23.82 might be a bit tougher, but it is still possible for Brendan. I for one will be cheering for Brendan to leap up on the Koehr family sprint freestyle standings. Brother Kevin’s 22.57 in the 50 and 48.69 in the 100 are probably safe 😉
- Senior Patrick Kenna had a three PR performance. In the 50 Free, Patrick lowered his PR by .06 seconds leading off the 200 Free relay and by .25 seconds in the individual event. In the process, he broke :25 seconds for the first time going 24.85. Even more impressive was his performance in 100 Back where he lowered his PR by an incredible 2.94 seconds. Looking back at all of our meet results, there are no high school-only swimmers in the DAC that are going that fast. In fact, only USA swimmers from Seton are going faster than Patrick Kenna. Before his backstroke race, I was giving Patrick grief for pounding a box of Cheez-Its. After that swim, I think I’ll have to show up at DAC Champs with a box just for him.
- Freshman Joe Kenna has had a break-out season this year, and I really think he’s enjoying it. In the 200 Free, Joe lowered his PR by 10.65 seconds and came very close to breaking 2:00. In the 100 Free, Joe broket :54.00 for the first time from a standing start. Those are very impressive times for a freshman, especially a freshman who is only swimming with his high school team.
- Junior Monica Byers has shown that she can score in nearly any event in the meet. On Saturday, she cut 5.45 seconds from her 500 Free PR to take 10th Monica also took 8th in 100 Fly.
- Junior Michael Collins had a two PR weekend. In 100 Breast, Michael lowered his PR by another .55 seconds and in 50 Free, he lowered his PR by .03 seconds.
- Junior Judith Cummings made the most of her opportunity to swim in Saturday’s meet with a 1.81 second PR in 100 Back. It has been great to see Judith at practice this past week.
- Kenneth Cuomo, a freshman, is learning a lot about the work ethic required to become a good swimmer. And he’s also learning about the results that come from that work. On Saturday, he lowered his 100 Back PR by 1.03 seconds.
- Sarah Heim is rapidly approaching that :30 second barrier in 50 Free after she cut another .16 seconds to go 30.75.
- I mentioned before how much I love the way Keziah Higginbottom works in practice. It really paid off last Saturday with her .60 second PR in 100 Fly. Her swim was good enough for 6th place and 9 points. Keziah also placed 9th in 100 Back.
- It has been great to have freshman Patrick Koehr on the team, not just because he’s my kid, but because he can swim all four strokes and I have the flexibility to literally enter him in any event. He’s swum the 200 IM, 500 Free, 200 Free and 100 Fly. On Saturday, he showed that he can swim 100 Breaststroke and cut 1.15 seconds from his PR in the process. Patrick also lowered his 50 Free PR by another .15 seconds and went 27.49, a time that will get him into our scoring relays next year.
- Sophomore David Lambrecht is another swimmer who I enjoy watching at practice because he works so hard. The results seem to follow naturally for David. He had a 2.21 second PR in 100 Free and a .35 second PR in 50 Free.
- Few swimmers had as big a meet a Luke Marrazzo. Luke lowered his 200 Free PR by 7.23 seconds and his 100 Back PR by 3.38 seconds. Those are very big drops for this sophomore.
- 8th grader Sally Marrazzo also had a big meet. In 200 Free, Sally lowered her PR by 6.74 seconds and in 100 Free, she lowered her PR by 1.19 seconds. Her times are excellent for an 8th grade girl – I think Sally has quite a future in Seton Swimming.
- Just when Peter Quinan was thinking he’d reached his limit in the 500 Free, he was able to cut another 3.37 seconds from his PR to take 10th And that time was fast enough to jump ahead of a swimmer from the next heat. Peter, no matter how well you do, you can always keep working to do better. Nice job.
- We’ve already talked about Jonathan Rosato’s great PR swim in 100 Breaststroke, but we haven’t mentioned his PR in 50 Free where he dropped another .15 seconds.
- Freshman Jamie Smith is already one of our top swimmers. His 2:19.10 is one of the fastest 200 IM times on our team, and his 1:06.94 in 100 Back, after a .87 second PR swim, is also among the top times on our team. I particularly enjoyed Jamie’s 200 IM swim where he held off a junior from Nansemond-Suffolk.
- Senior Matthew Verry will wrap up his career at Seton this coming week in his signature event, 100 Fly. But last week, he showed that he can also swim 100 Breast when he cut 1.04 seconds from his PR to score in 12th place overall.
- Theresa Verry was all smiles with her two PRs in 50 Free, by .52 seconds, and in 100 Breast, also by .52 seconds.
- Sophomore Mikey Wittlinger showed that she will be an important part of our team in the future. In 200 Free, she lowered her PR by 2.03 seconds and in 100 Free, she lowered her PR by another .57 seconds.
Other Great Performances
There were a lot of other great swims this past weekend also, but I wanted to highlight:
- Bernadette Wunderly had took a very close race in her heat of the 500 Free. It got so exciting, Coach Smith was standing at the end of her lane cheering! And in the 200 Free Relay, Bernadette showed that she was listening in practice when we learned how to do good relay starts.
- Sarah Zapiain also had a great relay start in the 200 Free Relay.
Notes on the Remainder of the Season
We have two meets remaining in the regular season:
- The DAC Conference Championships at St. Michael the Archangel on February 12th
- The State Championship in Christiansburg on February 18th and 19th
We’ll have one more Varsity practice tomorrow morning (Thursday) prior to DAC Champs. DAC Champs is always a fun meet when our kids have a chance to earn All-Conference recognitions. I expect a lot of kids to get medals and be named All-Conference. Then next week, the State Championship Team will practice on Monday and Tuesday mornings before heading down to Christiansburg for a 5:00 p.m. Thursday night warm-up. Everyone on the State Championship Team should have a hotel reservation with their parents and should let their teachers know that they will be out of class.
And finally, I would like to thank Connie Zapiain for handling hospitality for the coaches and officials after a last minute request from me. I would also like to thank Art Bennett for the great job he did announcing. Mr. Bennett really helped give the meet a championship feel, which I know was greatly appreciated by parents and swimmers alike.
See you at practice,