One thing that we learn about happiness as we get older is that the things that bring us the greatest joy are the things for which we worked the hardest.  The kind of joy I’m talking about will never be achieved by sleeping-in, watching a movie, hanging out with friends, an expensive bottle of Bordeaux or even a Viking River Cruise.  It’s the kind of joy we all felt last night at the Fitch WARF in Warrenton.

When our alarms were going off all season in the dark and cold of early winter mornings, it was hard for us to imagine that any joy was possible from swimming at Seton at all.  I’ll admit to occasionally feeling that myself, but as I’ve learned in my life so many times, subjecting yourself to suffering, in this case the suffering of early mornings and hard workouts, can lead to great joy.

It continues to amaze me that I continue to be amazed by that, but in my weakness, I’m once again reminded that it is Truth:  the entire basis of our Catholic faith is that suffering can lead to eternal joy.

Last Saturday, we traveled out to the beautiful Fitch WARF in Warrenton, VA for the annual Delaney Athletic Conference Championship meet, and once again, it was a very competitive meet for both our boys and our girls.   For the third year in a row, the meet was especially tight for our Girls, who won the meet this year by only 16 points over Trinity Christian, 310 to 294.

The meet was hosted by Highland School and Wakefield, and they certainly ran one of the best Conference Championship meets that I have been a part of – and I’ve been a part of DAC Swimming since 2001.   Congratulations to Highland Coach Ross Malinow and Wakefield Swim-Dad Dean Burdette for doing such an outstanding job!

It turned out to be a great team effort with Seton for many aspects of the meet.  With the great parent volunteers that we have at Seton, the Highland/Wakefield/Seton team was unbeatable in the meet-running department.  I was so pleased to watch Bill Dealey, Hank Konstanty, Jim Griffin, John Kleb, Therese Griffin, Charles Seltman, and David Wilson step up to help wherever it was necessary.

I knew the meet would come down to the relays for Girls.  Trinity Christian has awesome relays that always seem to give us trouble.  In our meet on January 5th, they won all three of them, and at the VISAA Division II Invitational, they won 2 out of 3.

With that in mind, and while assuming that Seton and TCS would be 1st and 2nd in every relay, I scored the Psych Sheet with different scores depending on how many relays we won:

  • Win 0 Relays – We lose, SST 307, TCS 308
  • Win 1 Relay – We win, SST 313, TCS 302
  • Win 2 Relays – We win, SST 319, TCS 296

After we dropped 1.29 seconds from our season-best 200 Medley Relay time and beat Trinity’s relay by 2.73 seconds during the first event of the meet, all of my pent-up nervousness began to subside.  If we kept swimming like that, I knew good things were going to happen.  More about swims that made the difference below.

One thing I would love to highlight is the great work of our Captains on Saturday, particularly Caroline Griffin.  Prior to the meet, we had a girl’s team meeting to get ready.  Caroline had prepared a gift bag with a personalized note for each girl on the team.  After the meeting, I could clearly see the impact of Caroline’s work.  We were ready.

On the Boy’s side, I wasn’t really worried at all, although in retrospect, I probably should have been.  Trinity Christian and Fredericksburg Academy both had some real superstars.  But even with Liam Kellogg out sick, we still had incredible depth capable of scoring several swimmers in the top 12 in every event.  That was just too many points for TCS and FA to overcome with their top swimmers alone.  An indication of our depth in the individual events comes from our relay performances – our boys only medaled in one of the three relays, and we still won by a fairly wide margin.

Here’s how the final scores looked on Saturday.


Seton                                           310  

Trinity Christian School           294 

Fredericksburg Academy        211

Highland                                     147

Fredericksburg Christian        113

Wakefield                                     67

Randolph-Macon                       10


Seton                                          287 

Trinity Christian School          210

Fredericksburg Academy       203

Fredericksburg Christian       165

Randolph-Macon Academy   144

Wakefield                                    99

Highland                                     19

Medal Winners and All-Conference Swimmers for Seton

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.

One thing that you will notice is that only Mairead Geiran won an individual Gold medal for Seton in the entire meet, yet our Girls still won, and our Boys won handily.  That’s what happens when so many different swimmers can score, even our younger swimmers.   It is very cool to have so many Sophomores on this list – and two 8th graders!

Here are Seton’s All-Conference Swimmers for 2018-2019:

  • Mairead Geiran (JR) was a DAC Champion and 2X All-Conference swimmer!  In the 200 Free, Mairead won the Gold medal by nearly 11 seconds!  Then, in the 100 Free, Mairead took the Silver medal behind only the eventual Swimmer of the Meet.  It was a great day for Mairead, and I haven’t even mentioned relays yet.
  • Shane Koehr (JR) had a great swim in 100 Backstroke, cutting 2.60 seconds from his PR to go 1:01.59. Not only did that earn the Silver medal and All-Conference honors, it also got Shane the State cut in the event!  I had a feeling he was going to have a good day in backstroke after his .05 second PR in 50 Back leading off our Silver medal medley relay.  Preceding that swim in 100 Back, Shane had an equally impressive swim in 100 Free where he cut 1.51 seconds to go a very fast 55.61.  In the Koehr Family, it is rite of passage to break 55.75 because that was their mother’s best high school time – in 1979!  Congratulations Shane, you can beat your mother!
  • Jacob Alsup (JR) had his hands full in the 200 Free against a swimmer from Trinity Christian, but after dropping 2.71 seconds from his PR and out-touching the TCS swimmer by .09 seconds, Jacob took home the Silver medal and All-Conference honors. Jacob also popped a great 50 Breaststroke split of 26.30 to help our 200 Medley Relay earn the Silver medal.
  • Caroline Griffin (JR) rocked both of her individual events. In 100 Back, she dropped .90 seconds, going 1:02.86, to take the Bronze medal.  For a while, I thought she was going to beat the Swimmer of the Meet from 2017 for Silver!  Caroline also took 4th place in a fast heat of Girls 100 Fly after dropping 3.08 seconds.
  • Jack Santschi (SO) cemented his position on the Seton team as our fastest sprinter for four tremendous swims that made even him smile. In 100 Free, Jack went a blazing 53.59 after cutting .40 seconds from his PR, and that was good enough for the Bronze medal in a very competitive event.  In 50 Free, Jack had a huge .59 second PR to go 24.17 and take 4th in the most competitive event of the day.  Jack also had a big day anchoring our 200 Medley Relay and our 400 Free Relay.  He was particularly good in the 200 Medley where he split a PR 23.56 to catch and pass the anchor for FCS and secure the Silver medal for Seton!
  • Anne Konstanty (JR) had the meet of her life with two incredibly competitive swims against a girl from Trinity Christian School. In the 200 Free, Anne was behind for most of the race, but at about the 125 mark, she surged ahead for good, finishing with a 3.01 second PR, the Bronze medal, All-Conference honors.  Her 7.43 second PR swim in the 500 Free, against the same TCS girl, didn’t yield a medal, but it did get Anne something she was even more excited about – the State cut in 500 Free!
  • Mary Heim (SR) broke 1:00 in 100 Free for the first time with a very strong 1.51 second PR 59.55. Going into the event, Mary was seeded 4th so that PR made all the difference for her ability to earn the Bronze medal and All-Conference honors.  Mary also took 5th in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Jerry Dalrymple (JR) was seeded 5th in 100 Fly at 1:03.27, but after a tremendous 1.90 second PR, he jumped up to the Bronze medal, just missing the State cut by .35 seconds. Jerry also had an amazing lead-off leg in the Boys 400 Free Relay, cutting .46 seconds from his Personal Record to go a blazing 55.79!  Jerry was also quite good in the 200 Medley, swimming a lifetime-best 26.30 in 50 Fly and a life-time best 55.79 leading off the 400 Free Relay.
  • Mary Pennefather (8) rushed to the meet from a rescheduled basketball game, but that didn’t stop her from taking the Bronze medal in 50 Free and 6th place in 100 Breaststroke. As impressive as that sounds, you will see below that where Mary was even more amazing was anchoring two of our relays.
  • Nathan Luevano (8) was awesome in the 200 IM for the second week in a row. Starting in the 4th seed, Nathan dropped another big 4.26 second and took the Bronze medal by only .13 seconds.  Nathan also took 8th after a strong swim in the 500 Free.  The kid is really going to be something for Seton one day.

How Did Our Girls Win?

I already told you that I thought the key to victory was going to be our relays.  I figured we had to win at least one (1), and if we could win two (2), it would be very hard to beat us.  We won two, and we won them by margins that I never would have predicted prior to the meet:

  • Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Caroline Griffin, Mary Heim, Mairead Geiran and Mary Pennefather started the meet off right, swimming 1.29 seconds faster than their very fast time at National Catholics. I think their 1:56.09 should be good enough to get us to the “B” Final at States.
    • The relay started off with Caroline’s lifetime best 29.22 followed by Mary’s near best 34.09. Mary’s relay start was amazing, and by the time she touched, we were an almost unbelievable 2.92 seconds ahead.
    • Which I’m sure made Mairead feel better because I had told the girls that Mairead needed a 2 second lead to make sure that Mary Pennefather entered the water even with the TCS anchor. Even with the eventual Swimmer of the Meet handling the fly leg for TCS, Mairead still managed to leave Mary P. with a 1.43 second lead.
    • Mary didn’t need that much. In fact, after I saw Mary P. split her lifetime best 25.18, I calculated that she could have been behind by 1.43 seconds and still won.
    • After the race, Mary Pennefather was holding her arm and crying. I was thinking, “Uh-oh, Mary P. is not the crying type – Mr. P. going to kill me!”
      • Of course, the meet was only one event old, so I was also thinking about what to do it we didn’t have our best sprinter for the rest of the meet!
      • Either because she’s a very fast healer or because she’s got a lot of heart, it didn’t seem to affect her performance the rest of the meet – thank you Lord.
        • Now, for my sake, let’s hope it doesn’t affect her 3-point shot either 😉
      • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Mairead Geiran, Mary Heim, Caroline Griffin and Mary Pennefather also won the Gold medal handily. Their PR 1:45.55 beat Trinity by a whopping 2.57 seconds.
        • Mairead kicked things off at 25.97, a PR by .32 seconds, giving us an early 1.44 second lead.
        • Then Mary Heim left the blocks. I was standing next to my son, former 2006 Seton All-America Kevin Koehr, and he turned to me, “Did you see that relay start!”.  Yes I did, and that start helped her swim a lifetime best split by .50 seconds.   Just like in the medley relay, Mary left our third swimmer with a huge lead, this time an even bigger 3.19 seconds.
        • Even though Trinity had backloaded their relay, it almost didn’t matter at this point, and it definitely didn’t matter after Caroline popped a 26.74, her second fastest split ever and far ahead of her 3rd
        • All that was left to do was for Mary to break :26 again, and even Annalise Cornett wouldn’t be able to catch her.
      • By the time we got to our Girls 400 Free Relay of Isabelle Luevano, Katharine Rowzie, Gemma Flook, and Anne Konstanty, we had a 24-point lead. The only way we could lose was a disqualification.  “Did you tell them?”, asked Coach Mulhern.
        • So, I scampered over to the blocks and said, “Ladies, I know you want that medal, but be a little slow off of every exchange. The only way we can lose is an early take-off.”  Somehow, even with those instructions, they swam 2.46 seconds faster than the sum of their fastest splits for the season.
        • Isabelle led-off from a flat start, and popped a huge 1.30 second PR. Her 1:00.43 actually gave us an unexpected lead!
        • Then Katharine Rowzie jumped in and swam .35 seconds faster than her lifetime best split, even with the careful start.
        • Katharine was followed by Gemma who also swam a PR split on a careful exchange, hers by .21 seconds.
        • The anchor was Anne Konstanty who’s 1.39 second PR anchor split came within .07 seconds of putting her on the “A” 400 Free Relay at States!
        • Unfortunately, the girls ended up with the Bronze medal when I know they could have gotten Silver, but the caution was worth it. We lost the battle, but we had won the war.

Individually, we also did well, basically holding their seeds in aggregate.  I had scored the individual events on the Psych Sheet as SST-229, TCS 212, and the actual score of just the individual events turned out to be SST-222, TCS 212.  That included a Seton DQ on a bronze medal finish in the 200 IM that cost us a net 9 points, so overall, we held our seeds in aggregate almost exactly.

That doesn’t mean that we did not have some tremendous individual swims to counteract some tremendous swims by the Trinity girls:

  • Emily Flynn (FR) may have had the best single meet of anyone on the team. Every time she hit the water, she was doing something that amazed me.  It started in the “B” Medley Relay where her Fly split of 29.15 crushed her previous best of 30.28.  Then in 200 IM, she was in lane 1 with the lead at the 100!  She ended up 4th, on a 7th place seed, after a huge 6.48 second PR.  Not done yet, she cut 4.42 seconds from her 100 Fly to score in 5th on another 7th place seed.  And finally, in the 200 Free Relay, she split 27.15 from a previous best of 29.51 – a 2.36 second drop!  A drop that big reeked a lot of havoc with our State Relay line-ups.  Emily went from not being on the 200 Free Relay at all to missing the “A” Relay by only .30 seconds!
  • Lily Byers (FR) really made me proud! When I put her in the 200 IM, I just knew she could go faster than 3:06.  And she did.  Her 2:55.00 (11.22 second PR) jumped her up from the 12th seed to 10th.   And even more exciting was her 500 Free – she broke 7:00!
  • Teresa Bingham (FR) was a definite over-achiever with two huge PRs. In the 200 IM, where she was seeded 8th, she cut 2.06 seconds and jumped up to 6th!  Then in 100 Fly, she cut 3.88 seconds to take 9th.  With that huge PR, she should have easily held or even improved upon her 8th place seed, but an FA girl dropped an amazing 5.3 seconds.  Can’t help that.
  • Gemma Flook (8) was swimming out of her mind on Saturday night. Starting with 50 Back leading off a medley relay, Gemma rocked a 1.24 second PR, which turned out to be a harbinger for her 1.85 second 100 Back PR which scored in 9th  The big disappointment of the night though, unfortunately belonged to Gemma.  After swimming the 200 IM in 2:33.01 – a great time for an 8th grader and a 7.79 second PR – she finished 3rd!  I was jumping for joy!  Until I was handed a DQ slip for a one-hand touch in breaststroke.  We’ll get over this one Gemma – it will make us stronger.  You have a really bright future at Seton Swimming!
  • Isabelle Luevano (FR) is getting really fast, particularly in 100 Free where she had two (2) PRs, one in the 100 Free event where she dropped 1.30 seconds and the other leading off a 400 Free Relay where she dropped another .38 beyond that. Her great individual swim scored in 5th  She also scored in 6th place for 50 Free.
  • Katharine Rowzie (JR) scored big for us in both the 200 and 500 Free, earning the 6th place points in both. Her swim in the 500 Free jumped her up from the 7th
  • Catriona Linton (FR) was all smiles on Saturday night, as she should have been. In the 500 Free, I was very pleased to see her reaching out on each stroke and pulling all the way through.  That resulted in a 2.91 second PR and a 7th place scoring finish.  Cat also dropped .81 seconds in 100 Back.
  • Mary O’Malley (FR) was fabulous on Saturday, scoring in 9th and 10th place in 200 Free and 100 Fly, respectively. Mary also had a huge 1.45 second PR in 100 Free leading off a 400 Free Relay.
  • Colette Waldron (SR) jumped from the 11th place seed to 9th with her .24 second PR in 50 Free. She also had a very fast swim in 100 Breast but unfortunately got DQ’d for an alternating kick off of the wall.  That 1:26.64 she swam would have been a big PR.  It’s OK Colette – it was still a very fast swim!
  • Theresa Dwane (JR) was packed in a group of 1:08 100 Freestylers on the Psych Sheet, so I knew she’d have to go at least 1:07 – which she did. Her 1:07.90 put a big smile on her face – and mine.
  • Ceili Koehr (FR) swam beautifully in 100 Backstroke, dropping .59 seconds and scoring in 11th It was very grateful that her older brother Kevin was able to come and cheer her on.
  • Katie Dealey (JR) has been fighting shoulder pain all season, so this may have been the last swim of her career – and she made the most of it. How about a .41 second PR in 50 Free!
  • Lily Clune (FR) was seeded 16th in 100 Breaststroke and moved up to 14th with a strong swim. Lily has really improved a lot this season.  Unfortunately, she was sick during the entire time I was teaching her favorite stroke, breaststroke.  Next year Lily, I can’t wait!

Congratulations to the Seton Girls!

Other Great Swims from our Boys

Out of 64 total scoring flat start swims, including “A” Relay lead-offs, Seton had 40 new Personal Records on Saturday.  That meant that an amazing 62.5% of our swims were Personal Records.

I’ve spoken of many of those PRs already, but here were the rest, plus some other great swims, that I have not already mentioned:

  • Christian Ceol (JR) never looked better in 100 Free than he did on Saturday night. How about a 2.41 second PR 58.19 from a flat start.  Christian also cut .12 seconds from his 50 Back PR leading off the 200 Medley Relay, .46 seconds from his PR relay split in the 200 Free relay, and he scored in 4th place for 100 Backstroke.
  • Evan Wilson (SO) is on the team for the first time, and boy was he a great addition. Evan can swim all four (4) strokes and showed it with another .41 second PR in the 200 IM, good enough for 4th  Evan also swam a strong anchor on our 200 Free Relay, splitting 26.22, .37 seconds faster than his previous best.
  • Cormac Clune (SO) has learned how to get long in freestyle, and the result was a 4.56 second PR in 200 Free and a 5th place finish. Cormac also cut another .01 seconds from his 50 Free to score in 11th
  • Timothy Kelly (SO) impressed me a great deal on Saturday with his two PRs. I was particularly pleased with how he shot into his glide during every stroke of 100 Breaststroke – the result was a 2.17 second PR.  Timmy also had a big 1.50 second PR in 200 IM where that improved breaststroke was also a factor.
  • Jeremy Kleb (JR) scored individually in 6th and 7th place for the 200 IM and 100 Fly, respectively. His Fly continues to improve, this time by .09 seconds.
  • Joey Dealey (8) was really great in 100 Fly, cutting 3.85 seconds from his PR to score in 8th Joey also scored in 7th place for the 200 Free.  You want to contribute to the team as an 8th grader?  Jump into the 100 Fly and 200 Free and give it your all – like Joey!
  • Joseph Rowzie (8) is getting a down to a very competitive time in the 500 Free. His quest was helped a great deal by his 41.41 second PR in the event where he jumped into the top 12 scoring in 11th
  • Justin Fioramonti (JR) has heart like no one on the team. I just love the way he approaches swimming.  Even though he was sick on Saturday night, he was able to score in 6th and 8th place in 200 Free and 100 Free, respectively.
  • Nate Remington (JR) gave me a joy during his first year on the team. He has improved so much!  On Saturday, he had good swims in the 500 Free and 100 Breaststroke.  At the beginning of the season, I’m not sure I could have fully pictured Nate competing at DAC Champs in the 500 Free, but he has learned to use his length for a stroke that has gotten “long and strong”.

The State Championship Meet is Friday and Saturday, February 15-16th at Jeff Rouse Swim and Sport in Stafford, VA.

I have our final entries for the State Championship team under Meet & Team Information, and I will post some detailed logistical information shortly.  There were several changes to my most recent draft thanks to some amazing swimming by Mary Heim, Anne Konstanty, Jack Santschi, Shane Koehr, and especially Emily Flynn!

Here are the individual State Meet qualifiers after this weekend:

  • Mairead Geiran –50, 100, 200 and 500 Free, 100 Fly, 100 Breast, 200 IM
    • Mairead will swim the 100 and 200 Free plus two (2) Relays at States
  • Caroline Griffin – 200 IM, 100 Back and 100 Fly
    • Caroline will swim 100 Back plus three (3) Relays at States
  • Mary Pennefather –50 Free
  • Mary Heim – 100 Free
  • Anne Konstanty – 500 Free
  • Jack Santschi – 50 and 100 Free
    • Jack will swim 50 Free plus three (3) Relays at States
  • Shane Koehr – 100 Back
    • Shane will swim 100 Back plus three (3) Relays at States

As for the Relays, we’ve qualified an “A” and “B” Relay for every event except the Boys 200 Medley Relay and the Boys 200 Free Relay.  The competition on both the Boy’s and Girl’s side for Relay spots has been keen, so I’ve been tracking it more closely.  There was some movement on Saturday after Emily Flynn swam so well.

Remember, that I am doing it all by time.  Specifically, I will use the fastest relay splits or flat start times swum this season.  (And remember that Liam is not going to States.)  I have posted my records for relay splits under Meet & Team Information so you can see the same thing I am.

There is still one more chance to move up to an “A” Relay during Preliminaries of the State Championship Meet:

  • If we have a relay make the Finals, then to be fair, I will factor in the splits swum during Prelims.
  • I will still use the best splits for the entire season though.

A Final Message to Our Friends at Trinity Christian School

On April 6, 1862, General Ulysses S. Grant was camped at Pittsburgh Landing on the Tennessee River in southwestern Tennessee.  The Confederate Army, led by PGT Beauregard and Albert Sydney Johnston, left Corinth, MS, just below the Tennessee line, and launched a surprise attack on Grant’s army. 

Furious fighting ensued around Shiloh Church (hence the common name of the battle), and the day ended with the most casualties, by far, of any Civil War battle up to that point.  Grant was pinned against the river as survivors wrote of how you could walk across the battle field on dead bodies without ever touching the ground.

Under a tree sat General Grant, smoking his 20th cigar of the day, when his chief lieutenant, William Tecumseh Sherman, came up and said, “Well, we’ve had the devil’s own day today haven’t we Grant”.

Grant took another puff on his cigar, looked up, and said simply, “Lick ‘em tomorrow.”

And he did.

To all the swimmers, coaches and parents at Trinity Christian School:  I understand why you were disappointed yesterday, but here are a few reasons for some satisfaction:

  • Your girls all swam really well. Out of 31 individual swims, including relay lead-offs, you had 16 Personal Records – more than half of your swims were best times.  That is even more amazing when you consider last week’s performance where 75% of your swims were PRs.  That is really, really hard to do.  (I’ve posted your results by name showing your PRs)
  • Brooke Williams broke Anna Kenna’s Meet Record for 50 Free. That’s no small feat – Anna was an All-America in 100 Backstroke.
  • Your top swimmers are your top swimmers for a reason – Brooke, Annalise, Becca, Haley, Teresa all swam lifetime or season-best times – but several of your other girls also swam incredibly.
    • I was so impressed by the performances so many of your girls, particularly Lucy Sicks, Jenna Phillips, Lilliana Glancy, Teressa Klanderman, Anna Deatherage, Ella Moon, Kayla Shelkey
    • And for the life of me, I cannot figure out how Caroline Sykes dropped time again after dropping so much last week!

When I said to some of you that I think you can win the VISAA Division II Girls State Championship next week, I meant it.  Hampton Roads Academy has won it the last six (6) years in a row, but you proved them vulnerable last week at the VISAA Division II Invitational.

All of us at Seton will be cheering for you next week!  Lick ‘em tomorrow.

Some Final Notes on States

Shortly, I hope to post a document called “Everything You Need to Know About States” in the hopes that it literally tells you that.  I’m continually updating it as plans firm up.  A lot of what you need to know is in the Meet Announcement which is already posted.

Once again, we have a Team House this year for team meals and as a hang-out between sessions.  I’ve enlisted some of the Mom’s of State swimmers to take charge of the team meals.  By now, you should have your lodging set up, and I should know about it.

A few other things I’d like to highlight that will be in the document:

  • Our team uniform at States is an embroidered Rugby shirt. If you got one last year, don’t forget to bring it.  If you are new to the State team this year, you can thank my daughter Kelly Mooney for making the arrangements to get one for you.
    • The Chief is allowing the State Team to wear them to school on Thursday – over your uniforms.
  • Thursday morning practice is breakfast, tentatively at IHOP in Manassas Mall. Practice starts at 6:45 a.m.                   
  • The admission fees set by VISAA are pretty stout: $10/person/day with a $30/day family maximum. I fought it all the way to the top of VISAA, but I lost.
    • Any team member in a team uniform will be admitted for free, so wear. your Seton Swimming Rugby shirt!
  • Several of the State Team members are swimming on only one of the two days. I will leave it up to the parents, but they are encouraged to participate in everything with us even on the days that they are not swimming.  Seniors are also welcomed to join us.

Two more practices – let’s get ready to race!

Coach Jim Koehr

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