Our second annual time trial meet was a great success all the way around.  Swimmers did well, parent volunteers ran an excellent meet, and we won.

The scores:

Boys:                           SST      198      Flint Hill          37

Girls                            SST      182      Flint Hill          91

For those of you who are new to the team, there is one thing that we celebrate more than winning.  We celebrate Personal Records (PRs).  We have a tradition of excellence in Seton Swimming that is based on each individual swimmer striving to get the most from the gifts that God gave them.

The most notable PRs were set by Jessica Dunn who broke two of her own team records.  In 100 backstroke, Jessie met her future competition at States and swam a 1:02.73.  She also broke our girls 50 backstroke record, leading off the relay with a very fast 28.94.  (We have an official 50-back record because it is the lead-off leg of the relay without a rolling start.  There are not records for 50 Fly and 50 Breast).  I think we can expect both of these records to go much lower this season.

In spite of the fact that we’ve only been practicing a few weeks and that many of the times we got last Saturday were first time swims, there were 57 other PRs established:

  • Leslie Zapiain had a great meet, establishing 4 new PRs including 11.5 seconds off her 100 Fly, 4.7 seconds off her 100 Free, 2.29 off 50 back relay lead-off, and a best time in 100 Breaststroke.  Leslie is part of a group of Seton Swimmers who have been working hard with the Makos in the off season.
  • Sarah Zapiain also had a couple of big PRs, lowering her 50 Free by 3.11 seconds and her 100 Breast by 10.33 seconds.
  • Daniel Wheeler is already showing tremendous improvement after a few weeks work with Coach Hoffer.  He lowered his 100 Free time by over 30 seconds!  He also cut time from his 50 Free.
  • Kelsey Kleb started swimming with FAST this season and the results showed with 3 PRs – 1.4 seconds off of her 50 Free, 2.77 seconds off her 100 Free, and 4.26 seconds off of her 100 Back.
  •  Jessica Dunn had two other PRs, lowering her 100 Fly time by 1.27 seconds.  She also cut time off of her 100 Breaststroke
  • Michael O’Donohue ate his Wheaties (your parents know what I’m talking about) before his 4 PR performance.  He lowered his 100 Back time by nearly a minute, his 100 Free time by almost 10 seconds, his 100 Breast time by over 7.5 seconds, and by almost 3 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Connor Cook, while only a freshman, is going to be part of the backbone of the boy’s team this season.  He cut 3.36 seconds from his time last season in 200 IM with a 2:08.08, and he cut 2.49 from his 100 Fly with a 1:02.00.  Those are not times you generally associate with a Freshman!
  • Sam Quinan’s off-season work with Coach Ross resulted in 3 PRs including a 5.4 second improvement in 100 Free, a 3.5 second improvement in 200 Free and a 1.48 second improvement in 100 Breast
  •  Joe Ross similarly benefited with a 48 second improvement in 100 Fly.  He also set a PR in 200 IM.
  • John Ross had an excellent meet dropping nearly 19 seconds in 100 Free and almost 5 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Peter Duran had a great meet with 3 PRs – He cut nearly 7 seconds from his 100 Free, almost 5.5 seconds from his 100 Breaststroke and .5 seconds from his 50 Free.  We really need Peter to continue to step up and score points for us.  This was a great start.
  • David Harris lowered his 200 Free time by over 1 seconds and his 50 Free time by nearly a half a second.  I know David will score a lot of points for us this season.
  • Guppy Higginbottom cut over 3 seconds from his 50 Free and almost 10 seconds from his 100 Fly.
  • Jonah Higginbottom cut .71 seconds from his 50 Free.  His time is starting to get pretty fast now.
  • Patrick Kenna had 3 big PRs in 100 Breast (cutting almost 15 seconds), 100 Free (cutting 5.7 seconds), and 50 Free (cutting 2.25 seconds).  It is very encouraging for our team to see Patrick step up.
  • Alex Cumming is getting very close to breaking :30 in 50 Free
  • Casey Flanagan, a new 7th grader to the team, is going to be a good one.  After saying that she wasn’t feeling well, she cut 2.75 seconds from her previous best 200 Free time
  • Megan Hoffer lowered her 100 Free already.  There’s more improvement to come, I’m sure.
  • Mary-Kate Kenna established two PRs, cutting more than 2.5 seconds from her 200 IM and 1.6 seconds from her 100 Fly
  • Catherine Nuar, a Junior who is new to the team this season, cut 4.38 seconds from her previous best in 100 Fly
  • Krista Shaw is off to another good start with two PRs in 50 Free and 100 Free.  She cut 2.75 seconds from her 100 Free.
  • Danielle Smith’s off season work is paying off.  She dropped over 6 seconds in 500 Free and over 1 second in 100 Fly.
  • Laura Talbott cut time from her 100 Breaststroke.  She’s only a freshman, but she will be one of the strongest swimmers on our team in the years to come.
  • David Basinger lowered his 50 Free to under :28 seconds – pretty fast for an 8th grader.
  • Greg Bliss cut over 1 seconds from his 50 Free.  I’m looking for good things from Greg this season
  • Daniel Koehr cut nearly 6 seconds from his 200 IM and over 3.4 seconds from his 100 Fly.
  • Sean Koehr lowered his previous best 200 Free time by over 20 seconds.  While normally a sprinter, I look forward to watching Sean improve his short distance times with more middle distance work.
  • Christian Vestermark always seems to give it his all.  He set 3 PRs including a 23.5 second improvement in 100 Fly.  He also cut time from his 50 and 100 Free.

In addition to all of these PRs, there were several other performances that brought me great joy:

  • –          It’s great to have Betsy Mooney back as our team manager.  Among the things she gets done for us at the meet, I know I can always count on her to sing the National Anthem and adjust relay entries when people surprise us by not showing up.  Thanks Betsy!  This year, Betsy is joined in her responsibilities by Christian Kleb who is learning the ropes.  The other coaches and I really appreciate the help we get from our team managers.
  • –          When you get the chance, watch Jessica Dunn off of the walls in backstroke.  Her second wall last week was particularly good.  We worked on this in practice last Tuesday.  A lot of races are won (and lost) underwater, especially in backstroke.  I think Jessie will be winning them there.
  • –          Where have you been Sean Bartnick?  Sean has not swum much more than the occasional summer season, but he is really listening in practice.  His rapidly improving freestyle stroke technique lead him to a 27.44 in 50 Free!  Because I didn’t have a time on him, I had him listed as an exhibition swimmer, but he swam the 6th fastest time in the race (almost everyone swam 50 Free).  Had I had him as an official swimmer, he would have been the official winner!
  • –          7th grader Alex Doonis is going to be a great addition to our team.  There are only a couple girls on the team that are faster than Alex in 50 and 100 Free.  With some refinement of her stroke, I also think that Alex could become really good at the 200 and 500 Free.  Some of you remember the days when Katie Shipko was winning State Championships in these events.   Watching Alex in the water, reminds me of Katie.
  • –          Watch Daniel Wheeler’s improvement in Freestyle this season.  Next week, we start backstroke, where I also expect big improvement in his stroke technique this season.
  • –          Connor Cook had a great swim in 200 IM.  His backstroke leg, not normally his strongest stroke, was particularly good.
  • –          Laura Talbott and Mary-Kate Kenna had a very close race in the 200 IM.  I suspect we’ll see more of these in the future, to the benefit of both of them.
  • –          It’s hard to have as much fun swimming as Joe Duran.  He’s a 6th grader swimming with us as an exhibition swimmer.  His body is little, but his heart sure isn’t.
  • –          Maggie Murphy was feeling sick at the meet, but that didn’t stop her from doing her best in the meet.  That’s all I can ask – do your best, whatever that is for that given day.  Great work Maggie!
  • –          Jonah Higginbottom lost is goggles at the start of 100 Fly and did exactly what he should have – he kept going.  John Ross did the same thing in the 200 Free relay.
  • –          Mary Duran had a great first 50 in her 100 Free.  With regular practice attendance, I look forward to seeing that 2nd 50 get fast also.
  • –          Megan Hoffer had some good swims.  I’m looking forward to getting to Butterfly in practice so we can see where she can take it.
  • –          Sarah Locke was a pleasant surprise at the meet.  She’s new to the team so none of us knew what to expect.  Now I think we can expect big things from this 8th grader before she graduates.
  • –          We had a very strong performance in the girls 500 Free.  Alex Doonis, Laura Talbott, Danielle Smith and Carolyn Claybrooks all looked very strong.  I was particularly pleased to see all of them swimming “Catch-up” freestyle so that they could stay on their sides as long as possible.  I can see that we will score a lot of points in this event over the course of the season.
  • –          Patrick Kenna had a great 3rd leg in the 200 Free relay, overtaking the FHS swimmer.
  • –          Patrick, together with Peter Duran, also showed a great deal of improvement in 100 Breaststroke.
  • –          Rachel Lambrecht showed the coaches that she can be a good swimmer.  Her Breaststroke was particularly good last week.
  • –          Our girls 400 Free Relay had a very nice performance against Flint Hill’s relay that featured both of Joe Jacoby’s daughters.  Alex Doonis got us off to a lead, Laura Talbott held off the first Jacoby girl, Kimberley Melnyk extended our lead, and not even a Jacoby was going to catch Jessica Dunn.

If you are still reading, then we’re ready to discuss some things that we need to improve.  Every meet, I expect to see improvement, both in and out of the water.  Here are some areas where we must get better:

  • We had a few swimmers miss events without discussing it with me in advance.  If I put you in an event, it means that I couldn’t put someone else there.  There’s no reason for high school aged kids to need a reminder about where they should be and when.
  • Even worse, we had swimmers miss the meet all together without notifying me in advance via e-mail.  If you cannot make a meet, I would appreciate an e-mail by Saturday night, the week before the meet.  There are a lot of dependencies in a meet sheet, especially for the relays.  Once it is done, it is not a pleasant experience to follow a change that ripples through several events.  It is even harder to do during the meet itself.
  • When I establish an order for the relay, it is not a suggestion.
  • We are a team and should act that way all the way until the last event.  That means:
    • We should be in the team area, cheering for our teammates
    • When we are on the deck, we should always be in uniform including the team shirt and shorts
    • We should never leave the meet until after the team handshake.  Not even a Notre Dame game should keep us from cheering for every swimmer down to the last heat of the girls 400 Free Relay
  • It is impossible to cheer for your teammates when you are sitting alone listening to your IPOD or Walkman.  We don’t need any of these on the pool deck
  • I know we haven’t gotten to this in practice yet, but remember that, on Breaststoke and Butterfly, you have to touch every wall with both hands simultaneously.  We had a lot of DQs for one-hand touches.
  • For starts, we use the whistle start system that you will experience in a championship meet situation.  Here’s how it works:
    • The referee blows three whistles, you step up behind the blocks
    • The starter announces the event
    • The referee blows one long whistle.  That’s when you step up on the block and getting ready go.  Do not get on the block prior to the long whistle.
    • The starter will say “Take your mark”
    • When every competitor is perfectly still, the starter will sound the horn to start the race.
    • If you false start, the starter will not recall the heat.  You will be notified by the referee at the end of the race that you have been disqualified.  This is very different from what most of you are used to in summer swimming so be careful.  There are no second chances in high school swimming.

One final thought about the execution of the meet itself.  The Flint Hill coach was extremely complimentary of the way our parent volunteers, lead by Chris Cook, ran the meet.  Very few teams run a dual meet using Colorado touch-pad timing and Meet Manager Computer scoring.  That’s because very few teams are capable of it.  Thank you to the parent volunteers who participated in the running of the meet.

Swimming isn’t like soccer where you can show up with a lawn chair and complain about the officials.  In swimming, you are the officials.  The best view is from the pool deck, and that is where we need every parent to pitch in.  Even if you know very little about swimming, you can relieve a lane timer.  If everyone pitches in, then no one has to stand on the deck for the entire meet except the key officials.  No school is better than Seton at getting the participation of parents.  Please find a way to help and jump in.

So now we are ready to jump into our regular season schedule, starting with a double header next Saturday.  In the early afternoon, we are participating in a relay carnival.  I will let you know who is swimming in that meet.  Later that evening, the whole team will be swimming against North Stafford and Word of Life.  The North Stafford folks are great people, and we always have a great meet with them.  More information will follow shortly.

Have a great break – I’ll see you all Monday morning ready to go,

Coach Koehr

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