Last Saturday, we traveled down to St. Michael the Archangel for the annual Delaney Athletic Conference championship meet, and once again, we took the championship meet title for both boys and girls. The actual conference champion is determined by the regular season records, and by virtue of the fact that we were undefeated against conference teams for the entire season, Seton secured our 19th straight conference championship in swimming.
During that 19 year run, we have actually lost the conference championship meet at least once before. The first season I was the head coach, our boys won the regular season title, but lost in the conference championship meet to Fredericksburg Academy. The FA coach, Sheila Wimble, taught me the importance of relays in championship meets – they beat us by loading up all three relays with their top boys and having them swim only one individual event (We won our first girls State championship with that same strategy). Looking back at the results, our boy’s medley went 2:03.16 and took 2nd. Three (3) years later, two of those same boys would return to the pool at UVa to go 1:39.82, take 2nd overall in the State for the medley relay, and win Seton’s first Division II State Championship in swimming.
So here’s how the final scores looked on Saturday. At the beginning of the season, I knew that our girls were going to be pretty strong, but I don’t think I would have predicted that boys score – our boys have really over achieved this season, and I could not be more pleased about it:
St. Michael the Archangel 185
Fredericksburg Christian 162
Fredericksburg Academy 140
Randolph-Macon Academy 99
Wakefield Country Day 52
St. Michael the Archangel 221
Fredericksburg Christian 189
Randolph-Macon Academy 151
Fredericksburg Academy 99
Wakefield Country Day 69
Medal Winners and All-Conference Swimmers for Seton
I was really sorry that I was unable to attend the meet personally – I was in class at the Darden Graduate School of Business at UVa – but I was getting loads of text messages describing a lot of great swimming – and the messages were coming with a lot of capital letters and exclamation points! Looking at the meet results, I could definitely see why.
One unique form of recognition available to our swimmers at this meet was the possibility of being designated “All-Conference”. All-Conference recognition goes to any swimmer that gets a gold, silver or bronze medal in an individual event. Here are Seton’s All-Conference Swimmers for 2012-2013:
- Joe Kosten was our only 2 time DAC Conference Champion with gold medals in both the 200 Free and 100 Breaststroke. In the 200 Free, Joe was challenged only by other Seton swimmers, but in 100 Breast, Joe had a real race on his hands. He was down by 1.49 seconds at the 50 (that’s a huge amount), but started to claw his way back. By the 3rd turn, he had taken control of the race and through sheer force of will, he powered through the last 25 yards to take the title by more than 2 seconds. Great job Joe!
- Luke Marrazzo just continues to amaze me. I don’t think I ever would have predicted 4 or 5 years ago that Luke would ever be a DAC Conference Champion, but that’s exactly what he did with his 52.30 in the 100 Free. Looking back at Seton history, that time makes Luke the 7th fastest all-time Seton 100 freestyler, and the fastest ever among high-school only swimmers! Luke also had a PR swim in the 50 Free, dropping another .11 seconds to go 23.86 – good enough for the silver medal and the honor of being the 10th fastest Seton sprinter of all-time.
- Kimberly Rector, only a freshman, generated a text message to me from Coach Lowell that described her silver medal in 500 Free as the “race of the year!” Kimberly cut 4.62 seconds to go a very fast 5:48.98 and just get out-touched by .41 seconds. From the looks of splits, it must have been quite a final 50 yards! I’ll bet “three fly kicks, flutter kick, pull with the bottom hand” was running through her head off of each wall and that helped her cut nearly a half a second per 50 yards – that’s quite a bit of time from just your walls. Looking back at our team history, Kimberly now has the 7th fastest 500 Free time in Seton history – and she’s only a freshman. Katie Shipko’s record of 5:06.98 could be in jeopardy before Kimberly graduates. Kimberly also had a 2nd silver medal in the 200 Free.
- Claire Kenna, another freshman, also took two silver medals in the sprints. I the 50 Free, Claire swam 26.92 to finish behind last year’s State champion in the 100 Free and just .06 seconds ahead of a Fredericksburg Academy senior – must have been a great race! Then, in the 100 Free, Claire finished behind another state finalist, senior Rachel Dumez. The closest girl Claire’s own age finished nearly 5 seconds behind her! It looks like Claire has quite a future as the queen of the sprints in the DAC for the next three years.
- Alex Sinner bested a very fine swimmer from RMA in the 200 IM to take the silver medal. Then in 100 Back, Alex took the bronze medal behind two near certain locks for the State finals this coming weekend. Girls 100 Backstroke may have been the most competitive event in the meet, so Alex’s bronze medal was quite an accomplishment.
- Peter Quinan had the meet of his life on Saturday. In the 200 Free, he took the silver medal, behind only teammate Joe Kosten with a 6.19 second PR! That huge drop had him on Joe’s hip nearly the entire race. And then in the 500 Free, Peter dropped 8.94 seconds to go 6:00.59 and take the bronze medal. That was some very fine swimming.
- Emily Heim took the silver medal in 100 Breast behind a leading contender for the state championship in this event and the same girl that beat Claire in the 100 Free. It was a strong swim that has Emily set to move on to States and try to get into the finals next Saturday night. Emily also had a great swim in 200 IM, taking 4th
- Keziah Higginbottom did it! Her 1:09.62 in 100 Fly not only earned her the bronze medal, but it also qualified her for States in the event! “Light hands” Keziah – it worked! Keziah also took 5th place in 100 Back.
- David Lambrecht is another one who simply amazed me this season. I was so pleased to see senior David jump into the All-Conference ranks with his bronze medal in the 200 Free, beating all other competitors except for two of his own teammates – and he did it with another .65 second PR. David also took 5th place in the 500 Free.
- Stephen Shaw earned All-Conference honors with his bronze medal in 100 Fly. Stephen definitely found himself in a very fast heat as both the gold and silver medalists swam times that approached Nevin Cook’s conference record. Looking back at old results, it looks like Stephen has been knocking on the All-Conference door for a few years now with two 5th place finishes 2 years ago and two 4th place finishes last year. Congratulations Stephen for breaking through!
- Vivian Zadnik, only a freshman, finished .05 seconds ahead of a swimmer from St. Michael to claim the bronze medal and her first ever all-conference recognition. It took a 1.01 second PR to do it, but she pulled it off!
Championship Meets are won with relays
There are 48 possible individual medals, and as you see from above, we only won 17 of them. That’s not bad, but the big points in this meet were scored by our relays. In a high school championship meet, relays typically score double the points of an individual events. The traditional depth that we’ve always had at Seton has long been the foundation of many great relays, and that depth was on display again Saturday when we took home four of the six gold medals plus two bronze medals:
- Our Boys 200 Medley relays were hot with both the “A” and “B” relays qualifying for States. The “A” relay of Brian Koehr, Joe Kosten, Stephen Shaw and Luke Marrazzo took the gold medal with a PR time of 1:51.44. There were some very good splits including a lifetime best 50 Fly split for Stephen at 28.08 and an almost unbelievable 22.72 split for Luke Marrazzo!
- Our “B” Relay of Patrick Koehr, Peter Quinan, Tommy Flook and Joe Zapiain swam so well that they hit the state cut also. A look at the underlying splits explains why. Patrick swam a PR 29.78, Peter Quinan hit a lifetime best 34.73, Tommy Flook was just slightly off his lifetime best with a 27.57 and Joe Zapiain anchored with a lifetime best 25.07.
- All of this great swimming has set up some very interesting competition for the “A” relay at States. Based on Brian Koehr’s 28.99 backstroke split at NoVa Catholics and the fact that Tommy Flook has broken :28 seconds six times this year in 50 Fly, including a 26.65 split in December, they will join Joe Kosten and Luke Marrazzo as our “A” Relay for preliminaries at States.
- But because we have also qualified a “B” relay, if either Patrick Koehr or Stephen Shaw can beat Brian or Tommy’s times during prelims on Friday, and if we qualify for finals, I will have the opportunity to update the line-up for Friday night based on the fastest times available to me. Should be fun!
- Our Girls 200 Medley Relay took the gold medal by nearly 10 seconds! Alex Sinner, Emily Heim, Keziah Higginbottom and Claire Kenna just rocked the pool. I’m hoping that this relay can swim well enough to come back for finals on Friday night at States – it’s going to be close, but I think they can do it! It is very exciting to remember that, with the exception of Keziah, this relay is very young, and will continue to score big points for us even after Keziah graduates – Anna Kenna will be eligible for varsity meets next season and has an outstanding 50 Fly.
- Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Luke Marrazzo, Patrick Koehr, Joe Zapiain and Joe Kosten beat the field handily and took the gold medal with some great splits, particularly Patrick Koehr’s 25.52 (with an injured shoulder) and Joe Kosten’s anchor split of 23.82
- This relay was Joe Kosten’s 4th gold medal of the meet!
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Jillian Ceol, Kimberly Rector, Alex Sinner and Claire Kenna went back and forth with an outstanding St. Michael the Archangel relay, but they managed to prevail, taking the gold medal by .72 seconds.
- Our Boys 400 Free Relay of David Lambrecht, Stephen Shaw, Brian Koehr and Tommy Flook took the bronze medal behind some strong swimming, particularly David Lambrecht’s PR lead-off split of 58.24 and Stephen Shaw’s PR relay split of 57.71.
- Our Girls 400 Free Relay of Jillian Ceol, Kimberly Rector, Sally Marrazzo, and Keziah Higginbottom took the bronze medal behind two outstanding squads from FCS and St. Michael the Archangel.
We had 31 personal records on Saturday which means that 65% of our individual swims resulted in a lifetime best – not a bad way to end the conference season! And remember as you are looking through these notes that finishes up through 12th place scored points in this meet. Here are the personal records that I have not already mentioned:
- Will Arnold must have been an animal in 200 IM. How do you drop 9.26 seconds at this point in the season? Because of that drop, Will jumped up to 9th place and scored extra points for our team. Will also took 5th place in 100 Fly and scored 10 points.
- Mary Camarca had a wonderful season-ending meet with two big personal records. In 100 Breast, she lowered her PR by 4.22 seconds (6th place) and in 50 Free, she lowered her PR by an amazing 1.37 seconds (9th place). Mary has improved so much this season that I’m sure we will be taking her to future State Championship meets with the rest of that great crop of freshman girls we have on the team.
- Jillian Ceol had a great swim in the 500 Free, lowering her personal best by 8.05 seconds to take 4th She also cut .99 seconds from her 100 Breast PR which jumper her up to 7th place in the meet.
- Tim Costello jumped into the meet when a couple of the scheduled swimmers couldn’t make it and took full advantage of the opportunity. He lowered in 100 Breast PR by 2.00 seconds and took 14th
- Elizabeth Earls had two huge PRs. In 50 Free, she somehow managed to drop 1.45 seconds, and in 100 Free, she managed to drop 1.23 seconds.
- Dani Flook will be joining us at States for a relay, but she ended her conference season with a lifetime best swim in the 500 Free, cutting 3.90 seconds, to take 5th Dani also took 6th place in 100 Back with a .66 second PR.
- Tyler Hoffman showed why I felt the need to promote him to Varsity – how do you drop 11.78 seconds in 100 Free? Wow! It just shows how much pent up potential this kid has. Tyler also swam a .26 second PR in 100 Back. It is exciting to realize that Tyler is only in 8th grade!
- Brian Koehr wrapped up conference competition for what was truly a breakthrough season for the kid. He took 4th in 100 Breast after a .26 second PR. He missed the bronze medal and All-Conference status by only .48 seconds, but I suspect Brian will be seeing plenty of medals in his future. Brian also cut another .08 seconds off of his 100 Free time to finish with a PR of 57.52.
- Patrick Koehr has been fighting through injury for a slot on that “A” medley relay. On Saturday, he came another .31 seconds closer with a PR in 50 Back. He’ll still have a shot to beat brother Brian out for the spot during prelims at States this coming weekend.
- Meghan O’Malley concluded her freshman season in style with a 6.64 second PR in 200 IM (9th place) and an 8.93 second PR in 500 Free (7th place). That was some great swimming Meghan!
- Cat Pechie took maximum advantage of her opportunity to swim on the Varsity by lowering her PR in 100 Free by 1.58 seconds to take 9th place and score 3.5 points in the conference championship meet. I can’t wait to get her back next season – she’s only in 8th grade!
- Paul Pechie’s picture perfect strokes were on display Saturday and resulted in a 3.92 second PR in 100 Fly – good enough for 6th place and 9 points! Paul also scored in 100 Back with a 4 point, 9th place finish.
- Cris Salas was excellent in that 200 IM, lowering his PR by another 2.86 seconds. Cris also cut .31 seconds from his 50 Free PR.
- Joe Zapiain really wanted me to put him into 500 Free so he promised he would swim PR. Well I’m happy to report that Joe delivered on his promise by 11.10 seconds, good enough for 6th place and 9 points.
They Have Been Great Examples to All of Us
It is not at all unusual for a senior girl swimmer to not be as fast as she was as a freshman or sophomore. As much as their parents want to remember their little girl’s as “little”, sometimes they just grow up. What is more unusual is for senior girls who are experiencing this to keep joyfully bringing their best efforts to the pool and giving their personal best effort every time they hit the water. Bernadette Wunderly and Mikey Wittlinger are two such seniors. I normally don’t coach a specific set of lanes personally, but over the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of concentrating on the varsity practice lanes that contain the older swimmers, including Bernadette and Mikey. It has been a joy watching them respond to everything I can throw at them, and it makes me very happy to have them leading our team as two of the captains.
The State Championship Meet is Friday and Saturday, February 15-16th
I have a near final draft of our State Meet entries now posted – they are due on Monday, February 11th. I hope to bring 20 swimmers and divers to Richmond this year. Here is the roster I anticipate submitting for our State Championship Team:
Alex Sinner Joe Kosten
Kimberly Rector Luke Marrazzo
Claire Kenna David Lambrecht
Emily Heim Stephen Shaw
Keziah Higginbottom Peter Quinan
Jillian Ceol Patrick Koehr
Mikey Wittlinger Brian Koehr
Bernadette Wunderly Joe Zapiain
Sally Marrazzo Tommy Flook
Dani Flook Joe Duran
Details of the logistical arrangements for our trip are now posted. The immediate action for everyone attending the meet is to claim a hotel room for your family out of our block and put it on your credit card. Hopefully, you’ve all done that already. One other thing to note is that our Thursday night warm-up time has changed by 30 minutes to 5:30 p.m. Plan to be on deck around 5:10 p.m. for a relaxed session of stretching, swimming and relay starts.
And finally, I’ll announce plans for our traditional pre-States Thursday breakfast as soon as I figure it out.
Two more practices – let’s get ready to race!
Coach Jim Koehr