Last Saturday, Seton Swimming hosted the 2nd Annual Northern Virginia Catholic High School Championship and took 3rd place overall.  In the end, Bishop O’Connell repeated as both the boys and girls champions with Bishop Ireton taking 2nd.  We scored this meet like a championship meet, meaning the top 12 finishers scored in each event and the team with the highest total score won so it was an exciting opportunity to score points toward a Varsity letter.

The scores for the top 3 schools looked like this:


Bishop O’Connell 362.5

Bishop Ireton                 337

Seton                               273


Bishop O’Connell 446

Bishop Ireton                 315

Seton                               216

Northern Virginia Catholic High School Champions and Medalists

We had six kids finish in the top 3 in at least one event, including one champion in two different events:

  • Congratulations to senior captain Alex Doonis who won two NOVA Catholic championships in 100 Free and 100 Back! In 100 Free, Alex owned the race from the beginning with her strong underwaters, but in backstroke, Alex had a race all the way to final wall.  In the end, thanks once again to her strong underwaters off of each wall and a great reach at the finish, she out-touched one of Ireton’s top seniors by only .12 seconds.   I think we have lots of reason to be optimistic about Alex’s prospects at States this year!
  • Cat Rogers showed a lot of heart, swimming very hard to two Silver medals while being unable to turn her head one direction. A little heat – no a little ice 😉 – and she was in the water for two really close races.  In the 50 Free, Cat got just out-touched by .01 seconds by an Ireton girl and in 100 Breast, she was out-touched by only .10 seconds by an O’Connell girl.  The O’Connell coach told me that they are going to compete at States for the first time in many years this year, so Cat will have ample opportunity to race both of these girls again when it really counts.  I’m betting on a healthy Cat!
  • Vincent “Catfish” Dunn also took home two Silver medals after close races. Other than Cat’s 50 Free, the next closest race of the entire meet with Catfish’s 100 Backstroke, where he swam well, but was just out-touched by an O’Connell backstroker.  And in 100 Fly, Catfish raced another outstanding O’Connell swimmer and just got out-touched.  Now that we know that both of these boys will be back at Freedom in mid-February, I know that Catfish will be ready!
  • Sophomore Joe Duran took a Silver medal in diving against some truly outstanding competition from O’Connell. He was just off his personal record of 177.10 so this was a very good preview of the competition we’ll see in boys diving at States.
  • How about Senior Captain Lucy Bennett breaking into the medals with a Bronze in the 500 Free! It was an awfully good time for her to swim a personal record, because she had a lot of competition for 3rd from a strong Ireton swimmer, but in the end, Lucy showed the heart of a winner!
  • And Freshman Alex Sinner gave us a great preview of the future with her Bronze medal in 200 Free. She doesn’t have much experience in this event, but I really think she can be very special at this distance.  I’m also very excited as I think about the future since Alex is the oldest of this wave of younger girls we have coming up – she’s already scoring in the big meets!
  • Our Girls Relays all medaled:
    • Once again this Seton’s premier relay our Girls 200 Free Relay, and they were the NOVA Catholic Champions in the event. We have combined veterans Alex Doonis and Cat Rogers on the front and back ends with up-and-comers Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna swimming in the middle, and the formula is working.  On Saturday, Alex got us a big lead and no one could get close after that, especially once Cat hit the water.  I expect this to be our highest scoring relay at States this year.
    • At one point, I thought our Girls 200 Medley was going to be able to take O’Connell’s top medley relay, but we ended up with the Silver medal just barely behind them. Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna swam their best time of the season, with solid splits from everyone except Claire – whose split was spectacular!  Claire Kenna’s 50 Free PR from a standing start is 27.27 and she split 26.10!  Her new relay start and a huge effort in the clutch made all of the difference!  I think we’ll be seeing Claire on the back end of our relays for years many years to come – she already show signs of the potential I saw in the early years of Seton’s greatest anchors – swimmers like Lauren Donohoe and Katie Planchak.
    • And our Girls 400 Free Relay not only took a bronze medal, but they qualified for Catholic Nationals and States! The most exciting part is that this relay consists of a freshman and 3 eighth graders: Alex Sinner, Jillian Ceol, Kimberly Rector and Claire Kenna are all going to Philadelphia!
  • And so did our Boys Relays:
    • Our Boys 200 Medley Relay took the Silver medal behind only O’Connell. Catfish Dunn, Michael Hill, Hugh Brien and Joe Kosten swam a personal best for the season with the highlight coming from Joe Kosten who swam the anchor leg in a very fast 24.72!  That more than a whole second faster than his PR from a standing start!
    • Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Vincent “Catfish” Dunn, Tommy Flook, Luke Marrazzo, and Joe Kosten was able to capture the Bronze medal with a season best time and some outstanding splits. Catfish took us out in 24.30, then Tommy split 26.29, Luke split 25.36 and Joe split 24.46.  Tommy and Joe were particularly strong, swimming relay splits substantially faster than their standing start PRs.  That’s what it is going to take to score with this relay at States!  And they will have their chances because this time qualified Seton enter a Boys 200 Free Relay at States.
    • And finally, our Boys 400 Free Relay of Steven Shaw, Luke Marrazzo, Tommy Flook and Hugh Brien took a Bronze medal behind two very strong relays from Ireton and O’ Connell.

Post-Season Championship Qualifiers

Two of our biggest meets of the year are the National Catholic High School Championships at Villanova in Philly and the Virginia State Championship at Freedom.  Both of those meets require participants to hit qualifying times to be eligible for participation.  Here’s where our championship swim teams stand as of this weekend:

States National Catholics
·       Cat Rogers

·       Alex Doonis

·       Alex Sinner

·       Claire Kenna

·       Kimberly Rector

·       Emily Heim

·       Vincent “Catfish” Dunn

·       Michael Hill

·       Girls 200 Medley Relay

·       Girls 200 Free Relay

·       Girls 400 Free Relay

·       Boys 200 Medley Relay

·       Boys 200 Free Relay

·       Boys 400 Free Relay

·       Cat Rogers

·       Alex Doonis

·       Alex Sinner

·       Claire Kenna

·       Kimberly Rector

·       Jillian Ceol

·       Vincent “Catfish” Dunn

·       Girls 200 Medley Relay (Doonis, Rogers, Sinner and Kenna)

·       Girls 200 Free Relay (Doonis, Kenna, Sinner, and Rogers)

·       Girls 400 Free Relay (Sinner, Ceol, Rector, and Kenna)

To be eligible to swim in a relay at States or National Catholics, you either have to have swum in the relay when it hit the qualifying time or you need to have qualified individually.  The relay line-ups that I ultimately use will depend a lot on who ends up swimming the fastest times prior to the events and where I think we can score the most points, but I’m already fairly confident in the line-ups we’ll use at Catholic Nationals (draft line-ups listed above).

In addition to our Girls 400 Free Relay that hit a cut for the first time, Claire Kenna got another individual cut for both State and Catholic Nationals.  Her 100 Breaststroke was fantastic – she cut 2.19 seconds and went 1:17.42, a very fast time for an 8th grader.  I wish there was such a thing as a breaststroke relay!

One other omission from my last report, I think I left Jillian Ceol off the list of individual qualifiers in my report after the Homecoming Invitational, but Jillian has qualified for National Catholics individually in the 50 Free.  Congratulations Jillian!  And Emily Heim is just .20 seconds away from a National Catholic cut in 100 Breaststroke.  Cat Rogers was working with Emily this morning – we’ll all be cheering for her to get it this weekend!

As for the divers, Coach Duran will determine that based on who she believes can compete with 11 dives.  As of now, I suspect that group includes Joe Duran, Michael Manley, Sarah Zapiain, Keziah Higginbottom, and Mary Duran.  I know that Joe Kosten recently started working toward that goal.  Joe is also close in 100 Breaststroke.

Personal Records

There were some really big PRs on Saturday – some of the biggest included:

  • I wouldn’t have believed this unless I saw it with my own eyes – can you believe that 1st year swimmer and freshman Patrick Pennefather cut 5.17 from his 100 Breast PR and came within 1.09 seconds of qualifying for States? It was amazing!  He took 4th place overall and beat swimmers for every school except O’Connell.  This kid’s gonna be a good one!
  • Did you see Luke Marrazzo’s 100 Free? He didn’t just break 1:00 for the first time, he crushed it!  His 2.29 second PR got him all the way down to :58.58.
  • 8th grader Andrew Quinan is really starting to get the hang of things. I couldn’t believe it when I looked up at the board and saw that he had lowered his 100 Free PR by 20.63 seconds!  He also had two other PRs, a 3.32 second PR in 50 Free and a 2.80 second PR in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.  Those are all big drops!
  • On my report, I saw Will Arnold’s 500 Free, followed by a -107.74 – was it possible that Will cut 1:47.74 seconds from 500 Free PR? Yep!
  • It must have been the picture of her on the home page – a sort of reverse Sports Illustrated curse – because Rose Remington was just super on Saturday. A 12.43 second PR in 100 Back is huge!  Rose also cut .28 seconds from her 50 Free.
  • Therese Gonzalez cut an amazing 16.88 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke PR – and that was after she PR’d in 50 Free earlier in the meet by .45 seconds
  • Emily Lowell is just so smooth, and that stroke efficiency really paid off in the last 100 yards of her 500 Free. In the end, she cut 15.06 seconds from her PR in the event with some remarkably consistent splits throughout the race.
  • Ryan Pugh, whatever you had for breakfast, tell your Mom that you want it again. How did you drop 11.54 seconds in 100 Free?  You also cut .58 seconds in 50 Free.  That was not a bad days work.
  • Carly Byers must have found some inspiration or motivation or something because she pulled off 3 PRs on Saturday, including a 1.75 second PR in 100 Free, a .54 second PR in 50 Free and a .29 PR in 50 back leading off a medley relay. Nice work Carly!
  • Mark O’Donohue had a 3 PR afternoon too. Not only did he cut a huge 2.29 seconds from his 100 Free PR, he also cut .80 seconds from his 50 Free PR and .14 seconds from his 50 Back PR while leading off a relay.

More on the 2nd Annual NOVA Catholics

And here were some other great Personal Record swims from Saturday:

  • Senior Hugh Brien cut 6.41 seconds from his 200 IM PR. Man, I wish we had him in the water since he was a middle-schooler.  Hugh has really accomplished an unbelievable amount in the last two seasons.
  • Sarah Brien is also doing very well. She lowered her 100 Back PR by another 1.77 seconds.
  • Mary Camarca had a big day with two PRs over 3 seconds. She cut 3.40 seconds from her 100 Breast PR and 3.39 seconds from her 100 Free PR
  • It was good to see Michael Collins hit a PR in his 200 Free – he lowered his previous best by 1.05 seconds.
  • Jack Corkery swam hard and got the payoff – a 1.64 second PR in 100 Free and a 1.53 second PR in 100 Back.
  • Judith Cummings had a great swim in the 200 Free, lowering her PR by 2.84 seconds. She did it swimming right next to ……
  • Maggie Murphy, who also 8.22 seconds from her 200 Free. It was fun to watch these two seniors have so much fun improving in this event.
  • Patrick Dealey had 2 PRs including a 2.88 second drop in 100 Free and a 1.40 second drop in 50 Free.
  • Elizabeth Earls was all smiles on the deck during the meet. I would be smiling too if I had just cut 2.67 seconds in 100 Free and .27 seconds in 50 Free!
  • Bryanna Farmer continues to show improvement. This time, she hit a 5.77 second PR in 100 Back.
  • Dani Flook, only in 7th grade, is going to be a good swimmer for Seton. She cut another 2.95 seconds in 100 Free and another 1.01 seconds in 50 Back leading off a medley relay.
  • Cecilia Garvey had a nice swim in 50 Free, lowering her PR by another .17 seconds. Hard not to like that smile.
  • I was so happy to see Allison Given do so well on Saturday. She lowered her 50 Free PR by another 2.07 seconds!
  • Emily Heim just continues to get faster, cutting another .72 seconds from her 100 Free.
  • Nice work Noelle Hickey! Two PRs including a 1.37 second PR in 50 Free and a 1.19 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Keziah Higginbottom looked awfully good in 100 Fly, and the time showed it – a 1.90 second PR. Keziah also lowered her 50 Free PR by .89 seconds.
  • Pat Hilleary did a nice job in 100 Breast when he cut .56 seconds from his PR.
  • Tyler Hoffman had a PR in 100 Free, by .97 seconds, and another PR in 50 Free by .41 seconds.
  • Geni Lucas had a great time in the 500 Free swimming a 2.02 second PR in an effort that was well below 7:00 minutes.
  • Sally Marrazzo continues to look good in backstroke, and she continues to improve too – on Saturday, she lowered her PR by another 1.85 seconds.
  • Tommy Moore was strong in 50 Free, cutting .58 seconds from his PR.
  • It was great to see James Mosimann back in the water. After his .74 second PR in 50 Free, I’ll bet he was glad to be back also.  Nice swim James.
  • And Paul Mosimann swam two PRs, one in 100 Back (by 1:57 seconds) and the other in 50 Free (by 1.39 seconds)
  • John O’Donohue dropped again, this time by .26 seconds in 50 Free
  • Meghan O’Malley managed to lower her 100 Free PR by another .94 seconds.
  • Paul Pechie showed good technique in all 4 strokes in his 200 IM and the result was a .71 second personal record.
  • Nice work Meridyth Rosato! Two PRs including a 1.95 second PR in 50 Free and a .24 second in 100 Back are really great.
  • I enjoyed watching Ali Salas hit 2 PRs on Saturday. In 100 Free, she cut 1.26 seconds and in 50 Back leading off a medley, she cut .94 seconds.
  • Meggie Vestermark was all smiles after two great swims. In 100 Free, Meggie lowered her PR by 4.28 seconds and in 50 Free, she lowered her PR by 1.53 seconds.
  • Mikey Wittlinger was strong in 50 Back leading off a medley. She lowered her PR by 3.28 seconds.  I think almost all of the improvement came from her strong underwaters.
  • Bernadette Wunderly improved her PR in 50 Back by .04 seconds leading off a medley
  • John Wunderly had a two PR meet: He had a 1.43 second PR in 100 Free and a .53 second PR in 50 Free.  Nice work John!
  • Lizzy Zadnik lowered her 50 Free PR by another .38 seconds
  • Vivian Zadnik also hit a PR. Her PR was a 2.25 second drop in 100 Free.


I was very pleased with the performances of the following swimmers who tried some of the more difficult events in the meet for the very first time:

200 IM

  • Brian Koehr – he really had an excellent effort, and showed that he can swim all 4 strokes. His starts look very strong, reminding me a bit of his oldest brother.

500 Free

  • Brian Koehr – he was even better in the 500, swimming a full 40 seconds faster than I predicted he would. His splits were pretty steady.  I think Brian can score a lot of points for Seton in this event.

100 Fly

  • Seth Catalano – he just looks so natural in the water, and it showed in his first attempt at 100 Fly. A 1:16 is a really great time for a 1st year swimmer.  Too bad he’s a junior because I’d love to have him around for more than just another year after all of the improvement he’s shown this season.
  • Catie Zadnik – she’s a dancer who had made the transition to the water for the first time, even though she’s a senior. It’s been fun to watch Catie learn to swim faster.
  • Cecilia Garvey – she smiled her way all the way through this one, and did a great job. Most 7th graders are afraid of 100 Fly, but Cecilia just got in there and did her best – and it turned out to be pretty good!

There are a lot of points to be scored in these three events because so many teams can’t find 4 swimmers who can do them.  I’m very happy to say that we have a few more swimmers capable of competing in these events now.

Being Late for Events

We continue to have problems with kids who can’t seem to get to the blocks for their events on time.  Technically, you should be disqualified if you don’t get on the block when the referee blows the whistle.  We talked about it after the last meet, and I thought we’d get better – but we didn’t.  Mr. Seltman and Mr. Rogers showed a great deal of patience on Saturday, but I’ve told them that their patience is no longer required.  Kids your age should be able to get to the right place at the right time without adult supervision.

Christmas Practices

The captains did a great job with Captain’s practices over Christmas break.  Nice work!


This weekend’s meet is at St. Michael the Archangel in Fredericksburg.  As soon as I get our warm-up assignments, I’ll let you all know.  Entries for National Catholics are due on January 18th, so this is the last weekend to hit a qualifying time.  If you think you are close, please send me an e-mail.  I think I know who all of you are, but a reminder is always helpful.  Then, on the following weekend, we’ll have two meets:  We host our annual state-wide Junior Varsity Invitational and we head down to Woodberry Forest for a Varsity only meet.  (Can’t wait to see if our two Seton pool records are still on their record board!).

After the Junior Varsity Invitational, then we will have no more meets that allow exhibition entries.  That means that I can enter 4 swimmers in each event and that’s it – that’s what I call “Varsity”.  With so many kids on the bubble, there’s quite a bit of work involved in figuring that all out – I’ll try to tell you who that is a soon as I can after the Woodberry meet.

Do well at mid-terms – see you at practice!

Coach Koehr

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