On Saturday, we traveled to down to Woodberry Forest School where the boys swam against Woodberry and the girls swam against Madeira. FCS also joined in the competition for both boys and girls. Our primary opponents were two of the top Division I schools in Virginia. We had an excellent showing and may have even beaten Madeira. There are some issues with the girl’s results that are being investigated as we speak.
As of now, the scores for the meet look like this:
SST 144 Madeira 139
SST 214 FCS 46
SST 212 FCS 54
SST 117 WFS 168
If the scores stand, then our girls just beat Madeira by 5 points! Last year, Madiera got 5th in Division I in the state championship meet. Our girls have already beaten Trinity Episcopal (4th in Division I) and 2 big public schools (North Stafford and Brentsville). We also came within 8 points of beating Paul VI, who got 3rd in Division I at States last season. As the Woodberry coach told me afterwards, “I don’t think Madeira was expecting what you had!” So even if the score changes out of our favor, we definitely left an impression.
On the boy’s side, Woodberry Forest won 7 straight state championships between 1996 and 2003, and they’ve had 18 All-America swimmers since 1993. (We’ve had two, which is a very high number). There is no doubt that Woodberry is not the team they used to be, but they still got 9th overall in last year’s state championship. After the meet, the Woodberry coach was very complimentary of the way our boys swam.
One thing that pleases me very much was that the final scores were much closer than they were supposed to be. Prior to the meet, Woodberry published a psych sheet. A psych sheet lists the entries in every event, sorted by their seed time. It was easy enough to calculate the score if everyone swam their seed time. The meet was supposed to be a blow-out for the boys and a definite loss for the girls. As you can see, that is not how it turned out.
A big part of the reason was that we had many swimmers perform at their highest level of the season:
- At the Woodberry Forest pool, on the wall opposite the wall containing the 7 state championship banners, hangs a huge record board that outlines the pool, team, state and national high school records in each event. The pool records displayed have been swum by some of the top swimmers on the east coast – swimmers who came down to Woodberry in the past to face the best. Well, Nevin Cook’s name is on that record board now. In the 200 IM, Nevin swam 1:56.28, which not only broke his own team record, but smashed the Woodberry pool record of 1:57.55 set by a swimmer from Mercersburg in Pennsylvania back in 2003. One amazing thing about this record is that Nevin swam a 5,600 yard practice that morning!
Nevin also came very close to getting on the board a 2nd time in 100 Breaststroke, where he missed the record by only .56 seconds with a 58.81. Congratulations to Nevin and congratulations to Seton Swimming. Of the eight individual pool records at Woodberry, Seton swimmers now have two of them.
- When I saw the seedings for girls 100 Backstroke, I realized that we had a unique opportunity to let Jessica Dunn face-off twice against one of the top 3 female backstrokers in the State. I arranged with the Madiera coach to let me switch Jessie into the 100 backstroke – they were already scheduled to race leading off the medley relay. In the medley, Jessie was behind on the start, but beat the Madeira girl on the turn. In the 100, the result off the start was the same, but in spite of a great swim where Jessie lowered her team record by another .11 seconds, Jessie was not quite able to take her. It was a great swim! Jessie went 1:00.71 – a very fast time for girls 100 backstroke. Jessie and the Madiera girls are now 1-1 facing each other. Next stop: States, where I’m betting on Jessica Dunn.
We had 34 Personal Records on Saturday. That number sounds low compare to prior meets this season until you realize that we only had a subset of our team present. We only had a total of 77 individual swims. That means that 44% of the swims were personal records. That’s pretty good! Here’s who got it done:
- It is so exciting to see Sean Bartnick continue to improve. After last week’s improvement of 1.2 seconds in 50 Free, it seems impossible that he improved another .66 seconds this week. Sean was a beginning swimmer last season. On Saturday, he went 25.19 in 50 Free!
- Kevin Bliss also improved his 50 Free – by 1.31 seconds
- Carolyn Claybrooks had a good weekend with two PRs. She cut 2.86 seconds from her 200 Free and 8.01 seconds from her previous 100 Fly PR. She is now very competitive in both of these events at the high school level.
- Connor Cook continues to get faster. Connor went 1:52.21 (.40 seconds faster) in 200 Free and 5:03.29 (2.58 seconds faster) in 500 Free. Only a sophomore, you don’t have to know a lot about swimming to know that these times are really fast!
- Matt Crowhurst cut another .43 seconds from his 100 Free
- Judith Cummings had a great 100 Free when she cut .59 seconds from her previous PR.
- Alex Doonis is ready to take senior Jessica Dunn’s place in the 100 Back next season. Alex cut another .73 seconds from her 100 Back and broke 1:05 for the first time.
- David Harris saw some payoff for all of his hard work in the pool with 3 PRs. He cut nearly 5 seconds from his 200 Free, .27 seconds from his 100 Fly, and .24 seconds from his 50 Free leading off a 200 Free relay.
- Mary-Kate Kenna cut .22 seconds from her 100 Breast and broke 1:15 for the first time.
- Patrick Kenna is poised to be one of our top 3 sprinters next season. He cut nearly a half seconds from his 50 Free and went a very fast 25.38.
- Brendan Koehr, who says he doesn’t like backstroke, keeps getting better at it. On Saturday, he cut another 2.85 seconds from his PR.
- Daniel Koehr just rocked in the 200 Free, lowering his PR by 4.24 seconds.
- Sean Koehr swam his best 100 Free in a year when he cut .63 seconds to go 54.68. In addition, he finally beat his mother’s best 100 Free time from her Notre Dame days. I was starting to get worried for the guy. (And some of you thought they get it from me?)
- Kate Kosten continues to improve. This time, she cut 1.44 seconds from her 50 Free.
- Thomas Kosten was just super in the 100 Free. We worked on his stroke some more this past week, and his great work led to a 19.45 second improvement.
- Sarah Locke did a nice job in 100 Back, cutting another .09 seconds.
- I don’t think we’ve had a meet where Andrew Minarik has not had a PR. On Saturday, he cut 1.32 seconds from his 50 Free and 1.16 seconds from his 100 Free.
- Meghan Morch’s already fast 50 Free got faster – by another .05 seconds. She’s getting dangerously close to breaking 26 seconds. In 100 Free, she cut .2 seconds and is getting very close to breaking 1:00. These are two great goals for Meghan during the Championship season.
- Michael O’Donohue had a couple of very fine swims. In the 200 Free, he improved by 7.58 seconds, and in 100 Breast, he improved by 2.79 seconds.
- Sam Quinan won his battle with the 200 IM, improving his best time by .13 seconds
- It was great to see Jonathan Rosato continue to get faster. On Saturday, he cut .57 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
- Joe Ross had a pair of PRs in a nice weekend of work. He had PRs in both the 200 IM (by .40 seconds) and the 100 Breast (by .01 seconds). His 200 IM was going so well for the first 175, that he still got the PR in spite of completely missing the wall on his last turn.
- John Ross is another swimmer that seems to improve every time he touches the water. On Saturday, he cut 4.2 seconds from his 100 Free
- Krista Shaw has a great future with Seton Swimming. She swam the two tough events, 200 IM and 100 Fly, and she set a new PR in the IM by .26 seconds
- Bridget Wunderly has been doing a great job scoring points for us in the 500. She improved by another 1.77 seconds and is getting very close to breaking 6:00.
- Sarah Zapiain cut 12.70 seconds from her 500 Free and had a very nice swim.
Championship Meet Qualifiers
We had some new championship meet qualifiers on Saturday:
- Carolyn Claybrooks’ great performance in 200 Free qualified her for both States and Catholic Nationals
- Sean Koehr got the 100 Free cut for States
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Sean and Daniel Koehr and Nevin and Connor Cook waited until the last minute, but crushed the Catholic National cut.
Our entries for Catholic Nationals at Villanova on January 26th and 27th are due this week, so our team is set. Congratulations to the following swimmers:
- Jessica Dunn – qualified in 8 out of 8 individual events
- Lea Mazzoccoli – qualified in 6 events
- Mary-Kate Kenna – qualified in 6 events
- Kimberley Melnyk – qualified in 5 events
- Laura Talbott – qualified in 5 events
- Lauren “the machine” Donohoe – qualified in 5 events
- Alex Doonis – qualified in 5 events
- Meghan Morch – qualified in 3 events
- Bridget Wunderly – qualified in 2 events
- Carolyn Claybrooks – qualified in 2 events
- Nevin Cook – 3 time defending National Catholic Champion qualified in all 8 events
- Connor Cook – qualified in 6 events
- Sean Koehr – qualified in 2 events
- Daniel Koehr – qualified in 2 relays
Daniel Koehr solidified his spot as the butterflier for our medley relay by virtue of the fact that he’s had the fastest 50 Fly split among the possible swimmers.
I’ll publish loads of information about this meet shortly, but in the meantime, all team members should make sure they have a reservation at the Hampton Inn in Plymouth Meeting for Jan 25th and 26th. Remember that an adult needs to be in every room, and every swimmer needs to be accompanied by a responsible adult other than me. (Assuming you think I’m responsible ;-)) You can get a reservation for our group rate by hitting the following link:
You can also book by calling the contact below.
Hampton Inn Plymouth Meeting
2055 Chemical Road
Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462
It is possible to qualify for States all the way through our final conference championship meet, so there is still plenty of opportunity to get on the State team.
Other Great Performances
As always, you can’t tell the whole story with just PRs and Championship meet qualifications. Saturday’s meet was loaded with other great performances:
- Kate Kosten had a great kick while swimming freestyle on the anchor leg of one of our medley relays. She has made marked improvement since the beginning of the season.
- Jessica Dunn was dominating in the 200 IM.
- Did you see Brendan Koehr’s backstroke start? He somehow got completely out of the water and reentered with a perfect back dive. He apparently learned something from that video of his older brother Kevin. Nice work Brendan.
- I knew that Carolyn Claybrooks’ 200 Free was going to be special by the way she took it out. Her first 50 was very fast, which is just how you should swim a 200.
- In that heat of girls 200 Free, we took 2nd, 3rd and 4th behind a past State finalist from Madiera. Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe did a great job hanging with her for the first half of the race, and Kimberley Melnyk did a great job holding off Madeira’s 2nd girl. This race could have been the difference in the meet.
- When Daniel Koehr was swimming the 200 Free, Coach Lowell said that “he’s as tall in the water as I’ve ever seen him”. That could explain the big PR he had in the event.
- Connor Cook’s 200 Free was great. The Woodberry swimmer he faced was about 6’3” and used his height to get off to a great start. Many other swimmers would have thrown in the towel at that point. Connor gradually walked him down the entire race, but there just wasn’t enough time to catch him. In spite of the loss, Connor did a great time and showed a lot of heart.
- Krista Shaw just owned her heat in the 200 IM.
- Keeley Cook’s sprint freestyle is very good, especially the way she pulls all the way through with each pull.
- In our last conference meet, Sean Koehr had some trouble with the top sprinter from FCS, but not on Saturday. Sean beat him handily in both the 50 and 100 Free this time. His 100 Free was particularly good. I didn’t get a split on his first 50, but I’m sure that it was quite good – he was a body length ahead of the entire field at the 50, and he ultimately took first place overall in the event. All of us swimming 100s should take a note from Sean’s swim – the entire race is an all-out sprint, including the first 50.
- Recently, Sean Bartnick challenged himself to move up to the fastest lanes in practice. After a year and a half of hard work and concentration on stroke technique, he’s shown that he’s ready to swim with the far more experienced swimmers. Can there be any doubt that his genuine commitment to excellence is why he is seeing so much improvement?
- In 100 Fly, both Alex Cummings and Mary-Kate Kenna had very good starts.
- David Basinger made 100 Fly quite a good race with an older WFS swimmer. Good job David.
- In the final heat of the day, Jessica Dunn anchored our 400 Free relay. She hit the water 3 body lengths behind and did a tremendous job making it a race.
- In girls 100 Backstroke, there were two other closely seeded races in the face heat besides Jessie’s. The other two races within that heat of 100 Backstroke featured Alex Doonis and Kimberley Melnyk who were matched up against Madiera girls within .5 seconds of their seed times. In Alex’s case, their seed times were exactly the same. Both Alex and Kimberley prevailed, giving us a 1 point win in that event.
- To make the shuffle in girls 100 Back work, Laura Talbott had to step up to the 500 Free, which she did with enthusiasm. She swam very well and took 2nd place overall. Great job Laura.
- Those of you who have been reading these for a few years know what a great girls sprinter that FCS has in a senior named Keri Jones. Keri used to go back and forth with Seton’s Katie Planchak until Katie finally got the better of her for good. Well I’m pleased to report that freshman Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe has picked up where Katie left off by handily defeating Keri in 100 Free.
- When Thomas Kosten got his huge PR in 100 Free, he did it in spite of the fact that his goggles fell off on the start. Nice work Thomas. You did exactly what you should do when something like that happens – you keep going as hard as you can.
- Matt Crowhurst has a nice streamline on his starts.
- Connor Cook’s 500 this week looked a lot like Nevin’s last week. Like Nevin, Connor made his move on the field on the turn after 9 lengths. There would be no catching Connor after that – he just blew away the field.
- Mary-Kate Kenna’s 100 Breast race was very exciting to watch. The girl for Madiera got out to a very fast start, but MK would not let her go. MK almost caught her by the last turn, but just couldn’t quite get her in the end. In spite of the loss, Mary-Kate had a great swim and broke 1:15 for the first time ever. That should have her swimming at night at States.
The rest of the season looks like this:
- Friday, Jan 18th – NVSC Conference meet at Fredericksburg Academy
- I’m still negotiating the details on exhibition swims, but I’d expect nearly everyone to swim
- Saturday, Jan 19th – JV Invitational at the WARF in Warrenton
- I’ll publish a meet sheet of swimmers entered. The meet has a lot of fun events, and it will include nearly everyone that does not normally score in our meets
- We’re hosting this one so we’ll need all of our normal officials, timers and scorers please
- Jan 26th-27th – National Catholics at Villanova
- Qualifiers only
- Feb 2nd – VSIS Division II Invitational at Freedom hosted by Seton
- 4 entries per individual event and 2 entries per relay event with no exhibition
- We’re running the show on this one
- Feb 9th – NVSC Conference Championship at Fredericksburg Academy
- Top 16 fastest conference swimmers, no more than 4 per event per school, with no exhibition
- Feb 15th-16th – VSIS State Championship at Freedom hosted by Seton
- Qualifiers plus Seniors only
- This is the last year non-qualifying seniors may participate
- Mr. Cook and I are running the show, but the VSIS has assigned a head referee to handle all of the scorers and officials.
- Our big job will be concessions, and we can keep the profits, so this should be a great opportunity for us
It’s been a great season so far, but for many of us, the excitement is just about to begin. I expect the championship season to be very fruitful for Seton this year. See you at practice tomorrow morning to make sure that is exactly what happens.