Last Saturday was a full day of swimming at the beautiful Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF) as some of our great volunteers like Mr. Cook, Mr. Rogers, Mr. Higginbottom and Mr. Wunderly can attest. The day started with our annual Junior Varsity Invitational. The meet showcased 254 future Varsity swimmers representing 12 teams from all over the State of Virginia. It was easy to see how perennial state powerhouses, like Collegiate and St. Catherine’s, are reloading for the future. It is also easy to see how bright the future is for teams like ours and Flint Hill.
Immediately following the JV Invitational, we had our annual Varsity face-off with Woodberry Forest, Benedictine and St. Gertrude’s. Also joining the meet were John Paul the Great and Flint Hill. The girls defeated all comers and the boys beat every team except Woodberry Forest. In spite of the loss, which was expected, I was very pleased with how competitive we were with Woodberry Forest because they are one of the top Division I teams in the state. The scores for the Varsity competition looked like this:
Seton 181 Flint Hill 96
Seton 191 John Paul the Great 87
Seton 201 St. Gertrude’s 49
Seton 121 Woodberry Forest 163
Seton 150 Flint Hill 126
Seton 189.5 Benedictine 76.5
Seton 209 John Paul the Great 46
Current Members of the Post Season Championship Teams
The State Championship Team got another entry when Senior Captain Rachel Lambrecht swam a 1.05 second PR to beat the qualifying time for the Girls 200 IM – and she placed 2nd overall in the process. Rachel has now qualified in two events, one on each day of the championship meet. Congratulations to Rachel!
There are still two more opportunities to qualify for States: The VSIS Division II Invitational on February 5th at the Freedom Center and the DAC Conference Championship Meet on February 12th at St. Michael the Archangel. And I know that Jonathan Rosato and Joe Kosten and working hard to hit that 100 Breaststroke qualifying time. After some private work with Coach Benner at QDD, Jonathan made a valiant effort on Saturday night, but his coach, who wasn’t thinking very clearly, entered in him the 200 IM prior to his attempt at 100 Breaststroke. I’ll think more clearly in these last two meets. Jonathan did manage to drop 2 seconds from his 200 IM PR though.
I have a block of rooms reserved at two Hampton Inns for both National Catholics and States. The contract and contact info is under Meet & Team Information – so if you are attending one of these meets, now is the time to call and reserve your room out of the Seton Swimming room block.
With two meets on the same day, there were many opportunities for great performances. Here are some of the best performances from the Varsity Meet:
- Cat Rogers won both of her individual events, including a great win over a very good Flint Hill swimmer in 100 Free. Cat also won 100 Breaststroke by a margin of more than 11 seconds.
- Alex Doonis also won both of her individual events. Alex won 100 Back by more than 4.5 seconds and she won 50 Free by more than 1.5 seconds, beating the same Flint Hill girls that Cat faced in the 100 Free.
- David Basinger was awesome, as he has been all season. In the 200 Free, he beat an excellent senior from Woodberry Forest to take 1st place. At the start of the race, his swim cap fell down over his eyes and he couldn’t see. After a brief stop to clear his vision, he still managed to split a 25.11 for the first 50! Then in 100 Free, David swam his all-time best time of 62 to take 2nd place in a very close race with a former state finalist from Flint Hill.
- Vincent “Catfish” Dunn took 1st place in the 500 Free with a 15.63 second PR time of 5:04.30. Catfish was facing a strong Woodberry senior who was taking 5 strokes for every 4 strokes Catfish was taking. I think the efficiency of Catfish’s stroke proved to be the difference – he’s so smooth, “like a Catfish swimming downstream” (Former Coach Pat Mulhern). In the 200 IM, Catfish also had a PR time, dropping 1.11 seconds from his previous best. The competition in this event was the toughest of any single event in the meet and Catfish finished in 3rd place.
- Senior Captain Bridget Wunderly totally dominated the 200 Free taking 1st place by over 10 seconds. After a practice that morning and a USA meet that afternoon, Bridget still managed to swim a near PR time. And in 100 Fly, Bridget also swam very close to her PR time to take 2nd place to an All-America butterflier from Flint Hill. After watching Bridget swim these last few weeks, I’m more excited than ever for her prospects during the championship season, particularly at States.
- With some big senior graduations coming up at the end of this season, I was very pleased to see swimmers like Junior Lucy Bennett step up, swim well and score big. In two the most difficult events in the meet, Lucy swam two big PRs. In the 500 Free, she cut 13.61 seconds and placed 2nd, and in the 200 IM, Lucy cut 5.48 seconds and placed 3rd.
- Another Junior that I’ll be looking at for leadership next year is Monica Byers who placed 3rd in 100 Back and 4th in 200 IM, scoring nicely for Seton in both events.
- And senior captain Leslie Zapiain got it done for us on Saturday with a 3rd place in 500 Free and a 4th place in 200 Free.
- As we’ve been seeing all year, our girls relays scored big, even without Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe:
- The girls 200 Medley Relay of Alex Doonis, Rachel Lambrecht, Bridget Wunderly and Cat Rogers took 1st place by 13 seconds!
- And the girls 200 Free Relay of Cat Rogers, Rachel Lambrecht, Bridget Wunderly and Alex Doonis won by almost 17 seconds!
- Our boys relays also swam very well, particularly our boys 200 Free Relay of David Basinger, Catfish Dunn, Pat Kenna and Joe Kenna who took 2nd to a very strong Woodberry Forest team. Pat Kenna swam particularly well, splitting a very fast 34 thanks to an excellent relay start.
I’ve been talking all year about how bright the future looks for Seton Swimming, and my thoughts were again confirmed with some great swims on at Saturday at the Junior Varsity Invitational. There were some very fast kids in this meet, some of whom definitely belonged, such as the middle schoolers from Flint Hill, St. Catherine’s and Collegiate, and some who didn’t, like some Sophomores and Juniors who regularly score in Varsity meets, but that didn’t keep our kids from scoring highly in this meet. Here are some of the best performances I saw:
- The highest scoring Seton finish of the day came, not surprisingly, in the Girls 200 Breaststroke Relay when Emily Heim, Claire Kenna, Kimberly Rector and Jillian Ceol took 2nd place to a very fast Flint Hill relay. The fastest split was swum by a Flint Hill girl, but the next two fastest splits were swum by Claire Kenna (35.93) and Emily Heim (36.80). We swim Flint Hill every year, so I’m really looking forward to a lot of fun races between their middle school girls and ours.
- Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Jillian Ceol, Claire Kenna, Emily Heim and Nicolette Smith also scored well placing 4th with a PR time of 2:00.37. Claire Kenna again had a standout split, swimming 50 Free in 28.14.
- The top placing individual finisher for us in the meet was 7th Grader Emily Heim in a very fast 50 Breaststroke The event was won by a Highland swimmer who was entered in the first heat – no idea how old she was, but I’m confident that she wasn’t a 7th grader. The real race was in the final heat between Emily and two girls from St. Catherine’s and Collegiate. Remember the names Emily Heim, Tatum Timmerman and Campbell Brewer because those are going to be the State finalists in 2016. This time, the 3 of them finished within .12 seconds of each other with Emily taking 2nd (3rd overall) by .04 seconds at a time of 35.83. I can hardly wait for next year’s Invitational. Emily also PR’d in 50 Free, breaking :30 for the first time.
- Claire Kenna was another standout 7th grader for us placing 4th, 6th and 8th in her three individual events. Her fastest swim of the afternoon was in 50 Free where she dropped an amazing .76 seconds to take 4th place with a very fast 28.20. Right now, that makes Claire the 5th fastest 50 Freestyler on the team behind only Lauren, Alex, Cat and Bridget, and with a time like that, Claire is likely to be on our “A” Varsity relays next year as an 8th Claire also placed 6th in 100 IM with a 1:12.11 and 8th in 50 Fly with a 33.00.
- One final 7th grader managed to break into the top 8 and that was Jillian Ceol, whose 50 Free was good enough for 8th. Jillian now has the 6th fastest 50 Free time on the team and will almost certainly join Claire on some of our “A” relays next season as an 8th
- 8th grader Paul Pechie was the only swimmer to swim in both JV Invitational and the Varsity meet – and he is the first swimmer that I can recall ever get 5 PRs in a single day. In the JV Invitational, Paul PR’d in 50 Back (by 1.13 seconds), 100 IM (by 1.19 seconds, and 50 Fly (by 1.57 seconds). And then in the varsity meet, after a full day of swimming, he still managed to cut 21.46 seconds from his 200 Free PR and .38 seconds from his 50 Back PR leading off a relay. That was quite a day for young Paul. I can’t wait to see how he progresses as he gets older!
- I was having a great time serving the announcer and trying to highlight kids who were performing particularly well while they were actually swimming. As I was announcing, I noticed that two names on the boys JV team kept coming out of my mouth:
- 8th grader Joe Irving consistently finished ahead of the other kids in his heats, and looking at the results, it is easy to see why. Joe had 3 big PRs including a 4.25 second PR in 50 Fly (12th place), a 2.63 second PR in 50 Free (16th place) and a 2.68 second PR in 100 Free (17th place). In the 50 Free, Coach Kosten was particularly pleased to let me know that Joe broke :30 for the first time.
- Freshman Michael Manley also consistently placed highly in his heats as the result of 3 big PRs in 100 Free (by 5.87 seconds), in 50 Back (by 3.82 seconds) and in 50 Free (by .73 seconds). You’d of thought that I could figure it out after the first two swims, but even during his third swim, I was still asking “who is that?!”. I was very excited about Michael’s performance on Saturday.
Other Personal Records
There were another 70 PRs last Saturday, 42 in the JV Invitational and 28 in the Varsity meet, which brings our season total to 527 PRs – an outstanding total considering that we haven’t yet hit the championship season. Here are the PRs from the Varsity meet not yet mentioned:
- Hugh Brien continues to show me that he can be a real player for us next season. On Saturday night, he cut 9.86 seconds from his PR in 200 IM.
- Michael Collins had a nice 50 Free, lowering his PR by .13 seconds.
- Judith Cummins scored for us in 200 Free and cut 3.39 seconds from her PR in the process.
- Sarah Heim continues to improve. She had 2 PRs on Saturday night including a .48 second PR in 100 Breaststroke and .11 second PR in 50 Free.
- I was glad to see Julia Irving hit a pair of PRs. In the 500 Free, she placed 7th overall after a 4.44 second PR swim and in the 50 Free, she cut another .12 seconds.
- Senior Captain Rocky Kleb had a double PR night. In 100 Breast, he dropped 1.17 seconds and in 50 Free, he dropped .50 seconds.
- Luke Marrazzo showed that he can score big for us next season. On Saturday, he took 7th place overall in the 500 Free and cut 12.33 seconds from his PR.
- I gave James Mosimann a break from his 500 Free duties and rewarded me with a PR in 100 Fly (5.38 seconds) and in 100 Back (by .66 seconds).\
- Peter Quinan has definitely had a good few weeks of swimming. Last week, he broke 7:00 in the 500 for the first time, and then on Saturday, he PR’s in the 200 Free also where he dropped 3.92 seconds.
- Steven “Spartan” Shaw cut another .11 seconds from his PR in 100 Fly.
- One thing we’ll be able to say about senior Matthew Verry’s time in Seton Swimming is that he learned to swim butterfly – and on Saturday, he swam it .11 seconds fast than ever before. We will also be able to say that he swam the hard events well, a statement he evidenced with a 19.69 second PR in the 500 Free.
- Theresa Verry had a good meet with two PRs including a 3.21 second PR in 100 Back and a .40 second PR in 100 Free.
- Sophomore Mike Wittlinger took 4th place overall with her .61 second PR in the 500 Free. She also took 5th in the 200 Free.
Here are the PRs from the Junior Varsity Invitational not yet mentioned:
- William Arnold cut 1.99 seconds in 100 Free and .27 seconds in 50 Free
- Steven Britten had 3 PRs, lowering his 50 Fly by 7.65 seconds, his 50 Free by .45 seconds and his 50 Back by .33 seconds.
- Bryanna Farmer cut 2.40 seconds from her 50 Fly PR
- Fiona Geiran lowered her 50 Breast PR by .27 seconds
- Freshman Josefa Gonzalez PR’s in both 50 Back, by 3.88 seconds, and in 50 Free, by .13 seconds.
- 7th grader Therese Gonzalez lowered her 50 Free PR by .35 seconds.
- Xavier Holl cut 18.32 seconds from his 50 Fly PR – that’s a big improvement!
- 7th grader Caitlyn Lightner lowered her 50 Back PR by another 1.85 seconds
- 7th grader Geni Lucas had a great meet cutting 2.18 seconds from her 100 Free PR and 1.82 seconds from her 50 Fly PR. We now know that Geni can be a very good butterflier in the future.
- Fiona Miller lowered her 50 Free PR by .12 seconds
- 8th grader Paul Mosimann had two big PRs in 50 Breast, by 5.61 seconds, and in 50 Fly, by 5.08 seconds.
- Meghan O’Malley had a very nice swim in t0 Free when she cut 1.40 seconds from her PR.
- Michaela Pennefather had two PRs in the same event in the same meet. In 50 Back leading off the medley relay, she lowered her PR by .54 seconds, and then in the 50 Back individual event, she PR’d again, this time by 1.41 seconds!
- Nice work Rose Remington. You cut 2.27 seconds from your 50 Back PR leading off the medley relay and then you cut another .23 seconds from your 50 Free PR.
- Fiona Seoh used her graceful style to cut 2.15 seconds from her 50 Fly PR.
- Tommy Shaw was awesome in 100 IM – he dropped 6.72 seconds from his PR and looked very strong in the water. He also dropped .44 seconds in 50 Free.
- Nicolette Smith, whose butterfly was featured in the Arlington Catholic Herald two weeks ago, lowered her PR in the event by another 2.14 seconds.
- Jude Van de Voorde had three PRs on the day. In 50 Fly he cut 2.08 seconds, in 50 Back leading off the medley relay he cut 3.69 seconds and in 50 Breast he cut 4.83 seconds!
- Meggie Vestermark also showed that she can swim butterfly when she cut 1.36 seconds from her PR in 50 Fly.
It’s Time for the Championship Season
Now is the time when the hard work pays off with team championship opportunities. We have four championship meets on the schedule:
- This weekend, January 29-30th – National Catholics at Villanova University and LaSalle University in Philadelphia. Detailed information on logistics will be available shortly under Meet & Team Information if it is not already there.
- February 5th – our annual VSIS Division II Invitational where we host Division II swimming schools from all over the State of Virginia at the Freedom Center and get a preview of the Division II State Championship. Nansemond-Suffolk will be there so we’ll get an early chance to see where our girls stand.
- February 12th – DAC Conference Champs at Michael the Archangel in Fredericksburg. There is one DAC record left to get – in girls 50 Free – and we have three girls who have all swum substantially faster than the time of 25.75. Once we get this one, Seton will hold every DAC record. Times at the VSIS Division II Invitational will also count toward DAC records, so I hope to give Lauren, Alex and Cat all a shot at it in at least one of those meets.
- February 18-19th – VSIS State Championship in Christiansburg. Seton is once again the host – Mr. Cook and I have been working hard to put together another great meet. But no matter how well it goes, I know I’ll only be happy if our girls win their 4th straight State Championship and boys with their 3rd straight (4th total). For those of you not able to attend the meet, you can watch the finals live on tv
The Varsity team practiced very hard this morning – I think we’re going to be ready!