We’ve only had five (5) days in the water, and we’ve only concentrated on learning freestyle so far, but I was very excited for the progress I’m already seeing. As Coach Lowell told me the other morning at practice, “The team has a pretty good vibe about it this year.” I agree.
For those families new to the team, let me give you a little of the background philosophy behind this blog – a weekly summary of what happened during the weekend’s swim meet. I equate success with excellence – in all we do – because I believe that excellence is not merely compatible with Catholicism – excellence is required by Catholicism. So my working definition of success is this: I am successful when I am maximizing my abilities and helping others to do that same.
That is why you will always see an emphasis from me on improvement. It does not matter where you are today. What matters is that you are working hard to get better tomorrow. Of course, improvement doesn’t really happen on the weekend, it just shows up on the weekend. Improvement happens on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday morning.
One of our primary improvement metrics is Personal Records or “PRs”. Every time you hit the water, I’m looking for a personal best effort. That does not always result in a PR, but, barring extraordinary circumstances, eventually it will. So the purpose of our annual time trials meet is to ensure that we have a baseline on every kid against which to measure progress.
And the purpose of this blog is to highlight those improvements. Unfortunately, I simply cannot highlight the performances of 70 kids every week. I will do my best to highlight all 70 at some point, but one thing I guarantee: If you swim a PR, you will be highlighted.
All of this is not to say that we don’t care about winning. That would be silly, but I have noticed that if everyone on the team is consistently getting better, then the winning seems to take care of itself.
I was very pleased to announce our Captains for this season:
- Julia Irving, Captain
- Alex Sinner, Co-Captain
- Emily Lowell, Co-Captain
- Patrick Koehr, Captain
- Joe Kosten, Co-Captain
- Joe Zapiain, Co-Captain
I typically expect quite a bit from my Captains as leaders of our team, particularly in the way of service to others. It is the Captains that I am looking to in order to help establish the culture on the team, set an example of excellence, and help others on the team at every opportunity.
I heard about a great example of my expectations in action on Friday night, from one of new Captains, Alex Sinner. After 100 Breaststroke last night, Emily Lowell started hyperventilating, something that she’s never experienced before. Alex came over with a big smile, “Oh, that happens to me all the time!” She got into Emily’s face and instructed her very calmly to breathe in through her nose out through her mouth. She asked Emily if her pulse was racing and then checked Emily’s pulse at her neck. Then with a smile, Alex told her that her pulse would come down when she got her breathing under control like it was no big deal. Alex showed great empathy by chattering on about how that has happened to her before and how she had felt the same fear.
I’m quite sure that Alex’s actions helped Emily smile, relax, and get her breathing under control. And before she walked away, she told Emily to come find her if that ever happened again and she would talk her through it. She says, “I know I always need someone to talk me through it since I’m too freaked out to think straight.”
That’s what a Captain does on this team.
Where Did That Come From?
Every year at Time Trials, there always seem to be some kids that make themselves impossible not to notice. Their performances are so far beyond my expectations that it is simply exciting to see. Here are some of the kids who made me turn to another coach as say “who’s that?!”
- Kimberly Rector, part of our core group of sophomore girls, showed that her work swimming with Coach Benner at QDD is really paying off. She placed first in every event on Friday with a PR swim each time. At Kimberly’s level, it is pretty hard to have a PR this early in the season so that makes her performance doubly impressive. Her most impressive PRs were the 4.02 second drop in 100 Back and the 1.58 second drop in 100 Free where she broke 1:00 for the first time (59.62). She also had a very fast 1:16.62 in 100 Breast, which was a .79 second PR. Kimberly is certainly looking like she will be on two “A” relays again this year.
- Matt Fioramonti was super on Friday night, especially with his 10.37 second PR in 100 Breast. Matt also had four (4) other PRs including a 8.24 second PR in 50 Fly, a 7.99 second PR in 100 Free, a 6.23 second PR in 100 Back and a 1.23 second PR in 50 Free. If he keeps improving like this, I think we’ll be seeing Matt on some of our scoring relays this year.
- Patrick Hall, another sophomore, also had some huge PRs. It was amazing to watch him cut 17.14 seconds in 100 Back and 11.81 seconds in 50 Fly! He also had three (3) other PRs in 100 Breast, by 9.17 seconds, 100 Free, by 6.62 seconds, and 50 Free, by 2.11 seconds. Keep it up Patrick and you’re going to be a big part of our next conference championship!
- Andrew Quinan was looking so good that Coach Alex Doonis turned to me during his breaststroke and asked me, “Who does he swim for”. His 15.84 second PR in the event led her to believe that he must be swimming for some USA club team! Andrew had an unbelievable six (6) PR evening including 100 Free (by 5.61 seconds), 500 Free (by 4.32), 50 Fly (by 1.62 seconds), 50 Free (by 1.42 seconds), and 100 Back (by .61 seconds).
One thing that is very encouraging about this list is the number or sophomore boys that you see on it. I’m really encouraged watching the future leaders of our team improve so much. It is swimmers like this that will help us to continue our streak of DAC Championships.
The Future Looks Bright with our 8th Grade Class!
As I looked through the results, I was struck by the number of 8th graders that showed incredible improvement from last season. I was happy to see it because a quarter of our team is made up of 8th graders.
I think several of these swimmers might be good candidates from some of the local USA Swimming programs in our area including Central Park-based QDD and Freedom Center-based NCAP. Both clubs are coached by men with Olympic experience and we’ve had a long line of top swimmers who have benefited from their programs.
It’s exciting to think about the possibilities 3 or 4 years from now with this group:
- Bridget O’Malley definitely attracted my attention on Friday night. It’s her first year on the team, but I can already see that Bridget is going to be a key cog in the Seton’s future. Not many 8th grade girls are popping a 32.22 in 50 Free and 1:09.20 in 100 Free. Bridget was also strong in the other strokes, particularly in 100 Back where she went 1:22.43. I know that Coach Benner of QDD has his eye on you Bridget!
- Ashley Cackett, an 8th grader, swam so well, that our long-time team referee, Charles Seltman, sought me out to tell me, “This gal was excellent! You need to move her up!” I think we’ve talked about that, huh Ashley 😉 Ashley has some huge PRs including a 4.55 second PR in 50 Fly, a 4.33 second PR in 100 Breast, a 3.77 second PR in 100 Back and a .37 second PR in 100 Free.
- Alex Ceol, another 8th grader, hit some PRs that have resulted in times that will be pretty competitive this season. In 100 Back, he cut 13.13 seconds and went 1:18.91. That will score this year! He also cut 4.51 seconds in 100 Free, 3.73 seconds in 50 Fly, and .31 seconds in 50 Free.
- Kalli Dalrymple, an 8th grader too, hit 4 PRs with three of them in the double digits. Imagine a day when someone could swim a 12.91 second PR in 50 Fly, a 11.31 second PR in 100 Back, a 10.39 second PR in 100 Free and an 8.46 second PR in 100 Breast. That would be quite a day – and it actually was quite day. Nice work Kalli!
- Ben Ceol had a really big PR in 100 Free where he cut 3.73 seconds. He was also right on some of his end of season times from the last year. I’d say that Ben is poised to have a really good 8th grade season!
- Ben Dealey somehow managed to drop 15.64 seconds in 100 Free, 11.14 seconds in 50 Fly, 8.42 seconds in 100 Breast, and 4.96 seconds in 100 Back. Those are all huge drops for Ben!
- Joe Fioramonti had some incredible drops also. How about a 18.30 second drop in 100 Back, a 10.47 second drop in 50 Fly, a 9.87 second drop in 100 Free, a 5.13 second drop in 100 Breast and a .81 second drop in 50 Free. That’s five (5) PRs!
- Georgine Irving showed us that big smile and then went on to cut 6.47 seconds from her 100 Back and 5.32 seconds from 50 Fly. Keep working Georgine and you’ll be a real player on this team!
- Rosie Hall is a new swimmer on the team so these were the first times that I’ve ever gotten on her. So far, I like what I see.
- Sean Kellogg is also a first year swimmer who did some very good things on Friday night. I’m anxious to see how much he can improve. He’s showing early signs a good work ethic so I’m expecting some pretty good things from Sean this season
- Seamus Koehr, the 8th Koehr to swim for Seton, really surprised even me with some of his great swim. When I saw his backstroke, I actually asked “who’s that?” before I embarrassingly discovered that it was my own kid – boy, did he look good. Seamus also had the 5th fastest 300 time trial on the team. I’m very encouraged by Seamus’ potential.
- Collette Kosten was smiling big after several very good swims. She had to be particularly happy with her 10.41 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Martin Quinan had a four (4) PR night. Most impressively was his 10.48 second PR in 100 Back. Martin also cut 7.33 seconds in 50 Fly, 3.99 seconds in 100 Free and 2.62 seconds in 100 Breast. Those are all very big drops Martin! Keep it up!
- Julia Rowzie showed some really fine improvement, particularly in 100 Breast where she cut 10.96 seconds from her PR. She also cut 5.75 seconds from her 50 Fly PR and 3.17 seconds from her 100 Back PR.
- Brendan Santschi swam a PR in five (5) events with his biggest being in 100 Breast where he cut 1:43.07 from his previous best. Brendan also had big drops in 50 Fly (7.43 seconds), 100 Back (5.52 seconds), 100 Free (3.65 seconds) and 50 Free (.55 seconds). That’s a pretty good night Brendan!
- Dominic Wittlinger had some very nice swims, particularly his .87 second PR in 100 Free.
A Surprising Number of Personal Records (PRs)
We’ve been in the water a total of 5 days with some cross country runners having swum even less, but somehow we managed a surprisingly high 108 personal records. If you didn’t get a PR, there’s absolutely no reason to be concerned. The way I look at it, if you were anywhere near you be previous best time, you had an amazing performance – wait until you get back into shape!
But here were some more kids who managed to swim personal records in spite of their limited time in the water:
- Andrew Bishop is off to a great start with a 1.43 second PR in 50 Fly and a .49 second PR in 100 Free
- Mary Camarca is wrapping up a strong travel soccer season so she’s only been in the water a very few times, but she still managed to cut 1.63 seconds in 50 Fly and 1.27 seconds in 100 Free – and she didn’t “die” in that 500 time trial!
- David Catabui, an 8th grader, really showed some good results from his work with Coach Adam Irving. He lowered his 50 Fly PR by a whopping 10.96 seconds and he lowered his 100 Free PR by 5.40 seconds. Great work David!
- Jillian Ceol is back with a 1.97 second PR in 100 Breast. Her 1:19.92 is going to be pretty competitive in the DAC this season, and was the 3rd fastest time swum on her team behind only Kimberly Rector and Alex Sinner. Very nice work Jillian.
- Tim Costello has really improved in fly after last year’s late season practice. He showed that by lowering his 50 Fly PR by a whopping 5.01 seconds!
- Patrick Dealey lowered his 50 Fly PR by 3.71 seconds and his 100 Breast PR by .54 seconds. I really like the way Patrick is practicing. I think this sophomore is going to score some points for us this season.
- Bryanna Farmer is back! She cut .49 seconds from her 100 Free PR and was right near her previous best times in the other events.
- Dani Flook, a freshman, has come back very strong. Her 3.50 second PR in 100 Free got her time down to 1:07.69. That’s going to score some points for sure. She also cut 1.84 seconds in 50 Fly, .97 seconds in 50 Free and .77 seconds in 100 Breast. Keep it up Dani!
- Ali Given showed some improvement already. She cut 3.89 seconds in 100 Breast and 1.00 seconds in 100 Back. Keep working with Coach Irving and Captain Joe Zapiain and you’ll get even better Ali!
- Brian Koehr, only a sophomore, showed that he is going to be one of very top swimmers this season. He placed 1st or 2nd in all but 50 Fly, an event where he lowered his PR by 1.50 seconds. Brian also cut .69 seconds from his 100 Free, which is quite encouraging given how early we are in the season.
- James Kosten is off to a very good start with his 3.19 second PR in 100 Free, his 1.07 second PR in 100 Breast, and his .14 second PR in 50 Free. I can see already that James, only a freshman, is going to score some serious points for us this season.
- Joe Kosten, had a surprisingly good meet considering that he is no long swimming for NCAP. At this early point in the season, Joe finished 1st in all but one of the boys time trial events and even swam PRs in 100 Back (by 3.42 seconds) and 50 Fly (by .54 seconds). I’m excited about Joe’s prospects for his senior season.
- Emily Lowell is back in the water after a year hiatus as the team manager, and I was very excited to see her swim four (4) personal records including a 5.60 second PR in 100 Breast, a 3.58 second PR in 100 Back, a 1.49 second PR in 100 Free and a .65 second PR in 50 Fly. Looks like Emily is teed up for a great senior season too!
- Geni Lucas is coming off of Seton record-setting cross country season and swam a 6.23 second PR in 100 Back.
- Tommy Moore was looking much better in 100 Breast with that 4.67 second PR.
- John O’ Donohue swam three (3) PRs on Friday including a really big 9.51 second PR in 100 Back. John also cut 6.14 second from his 50 Fly PR and .90 seconds from his 100 Free PR.
- Mark O’Donohue showed some good improvement in 50 Fly, cutting 1.97 seconds from his personal record.
- Meghan O’Malley brings so much joy to swim – it is really a pleasure to watch. It was also a pleasure to watch her 2.95 second PR in 50 Free, her 2.63 second PR in 100 Breast and her 1.43 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Paul Pechie popped pair of PRs including 1.24 second drop in 50 Fly and a .24 second drop in 50 Free. Paul will be a key contributor to Seton’s point total’s this year.
- Alex Sinner is showing early signs of a good season ahead. Clearly one of our top swimmers, she managed to have two early season PRs in 50 Fly and 100 Breast. But the swim that was most impressive to me was her performance in the 500 time trial where she set a great example of “a personal best effort every time you hit the water”.
- Jude Van de Voorde is off to a good start with PRs in 50 Fly (by 1.11 seconds) and 100 Free (by .84 seconds)
- Vivian Zadnik scored a lot of points for us in 100 Breaststroke last season. I was very pleased to see her PR in 100 Free (by 1.71 seconds) on Friday night. I think she can score in this event this year also.
- Joe Zapiain is another swimmer seeing the results of his work with Coach Benner at QDD. Joe swam four (4) PRs including a 3.89 second PR in 100 Breast, a 2.28 second PR in 50 Fly, a 2.03 second PR in 100 Back and a .46 second PR in 100 Free. I’m looking forward to seeing Joe grow into his new leadership position this season.
Some New Faces to Watch
We have fifteen (15) new kids on the team this year. That’s a very high number, but not unusual for Seton Swimming. Personally I enjoy seeing such a high percentage of the school population experience Seton Swimming and our philosophy of excellence in all things. It is also exciting to see new faces emerge as promising performers for this season or future seasons.
While it would be impractical to list everyone, here are a couple swimmers, in addition to Bridget O’Malley, who have already struck me so far this season:
- Mary Heim, only a 7th grader, was also a real headturner on Friday night. Not many 7th graders swim a 1:14.17 in 100 Free or a 1:30.97 in 100 Breast or a 34.20 in 50 Free. I was really impressed with what I saw from Mary already!
- Madeline Snider has joined us a sophomore, and I can already see that she is going to be a real player for us. Keep listening in practice Madeline and you are going to drop some serious time this season. We are very excited to have you on the team!
The Spirit of Seton Volunteerism
Another underlying purpose of time trials is to shake out the kinks in the process we use to run meets. It always takes us some time to establish who’s going to do what, so it serves as a great dry run.
We won’t normally need 24 timers for just our team for a meet, but the steep requirement showed the importance of the Head Timer Recruiter volunteer position, which is currently open. We could really use a willing volunteer to simply facilitate the sign-up process for timers at each meet so that we know we have enough before we even show up. Ideally, I’d like to see someone figure out how to use SignUpGenius so that we can just do it on-line. If you are looking for a non-time intensive way to help out the team, this would be a great way.
Fortunately for us, a group of parents was very willing to step up and volunteer – in a few cases, I saw both Mom and Dad on deck timing (e.g. Kelloggs and O’Donohues). As I’ve often said, “Swimming ain’t soccer – you don’t come to a meet with your lawn chair”. Everyone involved with the Seton Swim from Team President Carole Pechie on down is a volunteer – that’s how things work at Seton and Seton Swimming. We use the novel approach at Seton that parents are the best teachers.
This coming week, we’ll start backstroke. By Christmas, the other coaches and I hope to build every stroke and every wall with every swimmer from scratch. The fastest way to get faster is to do the strokes right, so try not to miss practice and try not to just “swim through” the sets we are doing. If you treat each practice like a priceless opportunity to get better, you will get better.
See you Monday morning,
Coach Jim Koehr