Last weekend (Feb 15-16, 2013), we took 19 swimmers down to Richmond from the VISAA State Swimming and Diving Championship.  For the first time in five (5) years, we were not the primary host so I really had a better chance to enjoy the great swims we saw from both our outgoing seniors and our up-and-coming underclassmen.  I was really pleased with the results, even though we weren’t in the hunt for another State title – but just wait!

The meet just seems to get more competitive every year.  For instance, in the Girls 200 IM, four (4) girls all broke the State record!  Or imagine a lead-off leg of the Men’s 400 Freestyle relay at where they guy takes out the first 50 in 21.77 to his feet!  Or imagine a freshman girl breaking two (2) state records?  I could tell countless stories of incredible feats of athletic prowess, but the theme is all the same:  Virginia is becoming one of the premier swimming hotbeds in the country, and it sure is fun to watch.

Here’s an excerpt from the scoring of a very exciting meet – particularly on the men’s side:

Boys

  1. Fork Union Military Academy 275
  2. Bishop O’Connell                        242.55
  3. Woodberry Forest                      217
  4. Christopher’s School                 211
  5. Collegiate School                       202
  6. Hampton Roads Academy      194 – Division II Champ

13. Bishop Ireton                              48

19.  Paul VI                                        23

21. Seton School                             21

Girls

  1. Collegiate School                  383
  2. Catherine’s School               281.5
  3. Trinity Episcopal                   262
  4. Hampton Roads Academy  218 – Division II Champ
  5. Norfolk Academy                  167

8. Bishop Ireton                          97

9. Bishop O’Connell                    82.5

11. Paul VI                                     72

16. Seton School                         18

So you can see from the scores that our young team has a ways to go to get back to the form that won both the boys and girls four (4) state championships each.  But from what I saw this past weekend, we have a shot to return to that level, particularly on the girl’s side.

Joe Duran takes Bronze and Sets New Team Records

Joe Duran was outstanding on Friday afternoon, scoring 351.15 points for 11 dives to take the bronze medal and establish a new team records.  He broke his own 2011 records for 11 dives by 29.85 points!

Joining Joe in the diving competition was Keziah Higginbottom who smashed her previous personal best for 11 dives by 63.40 points after scoring 208.50 points.  Keziah had the meet of her life, nailing 10 of her 11 dives under great pressure.  That great diving earned her 13th place and 4 points for Seton.  Keziah showed her versatility by also having a very fine swim in the 100 Fly.

Freshman Claire Kenna Races in the Finals!

As I noted above, this meet is getting so fast that it is no small feat to make the finals, but freshman Claire Kenna pulled it off.  In the preliminary heats of the 100 Free, Claire cut her PR by .49 seconds and jumped into the consolation finals as the 15th seed.  Then, later than night in the excitement of the State Championship finals, Claire cut another .44 seconds to hold her 15th spot and earn 2 points for Seton.  Her final time was a very fast 57.33.

Some Relays Also Got a Second Swim!

The relays in this meet were simply incredible, so I was so pleased to have two of our relays emerge from preliminaries in the top 16 and earn a spot to compete in the finals later that night:

  • Our Girls 200 Medley Relay of Alex Sinner, Emily Heim, Keziah Higginbottom and Claire Kenna came scored the most points with their 10th place finish. Alex lead off with a .30 second PR in 50 Back, Emily and Keziah swam strong splits, and Claire knocked it out of the park with a 25.52 anchor leg to preserve our 10th seed out of prelims by holding off the Potomac School.
  • Our Girls 200 Free Relay of Claire Kenna, Kimberly Rector, Emily Heim and Alex Sinner held their 12th seed in the preliminaries and advanced to finals at least partly on the strength of Alex Sinner’s anchor split. In the finals, they were just a little off their preliminary time, but still placed 13th and scored 8 points for Seton.  It was Claire Kenna’s third swim in the finals.
  • Our Boys 200 Medley Relay of Brian Koehr, Joe Kosten, Tommy Flook and Luke Marrazzo accomplished the unexpected by jumping into the 16th spot after prelims and earning the right to swim at night. Tommy Flook’s Fly split was particularly strong at 27.27 and Luke amazed me once again with a 22.44 anchor leg.

The fact that we also had a “B” relay in the same event made up of Patrick Koehr, Peter Quinan, Stephen Shaw and Joe Zapiain made it even more interesting because it created an opportunity for a swimmer to win a spot on the “A” relay that night.

And that’s exactly what Patrick Koehr did.  His 1.14 second PR in 50 Back (28.47) beat his brother Brian’s best so I had no choice but to let Patrick swim the backstroke leg in the Finals.  I realize that this direct competition can be a tough on swimmers sometimes, but it’s a microcosm of how the real world works – whether we like it or not.  Plus, it is the only fair way to determine who swims and who doesn’t – fastest time swims.

Patrick wasn’t the only one to shine on the “B” Relay.  Their nearly two (2) second drop was the result of a great breaststroke split by Peter Quinan, a PR Fly split by Stephen Shaw and a strong anchor by Joe Zapiain.

There Were Plenty of Other Great Swims

Just because we didn’t always make the finals doesn’t mean that we didn’t have some great swims:

  • Bernadette Wunderly came to play! Leading off our “B” 400 Free relay, she finally got that elusive PR with a huge 1.00 second drop in 100 Free!  Her previous PR was set back in 2010 – it is a great story of perseverance for Bernadette!  She just kept at it and overcame!
  • Luke Marrazzo finished his career at Seton is very fine fashion with PRs in both the 50 and 100 Free. In the 50, he cut another .19 seconds to end his season at 23.67, one of the fastest times ever posted by a boy at Seton who did not swim with a USA club.  And in the 100 Free, Luke cut .78 to go an incredible 51.35.  That is easily the fastest time ever for a high-school only swimmer at Seton and the sixth fastest 100 Free time in Seton history.
  • Kimberly Rector sure had to be pleased with that 200 IM – how about a 4.15 second PR? Then, on Saturday, she had a excellent 20th place swim in the 500 with her 2nd best time of the year – hard to top last week’s swim at DAC Champs!  As if all that hard swimming wasn’t enough, how about Kimberly’s 1.00 second PR in 100 Free leading off our 400 Free Relay?
  • Alex Sinner had a pair of outstanding individual swims. In the 100 Fly, she somehow managed to drop 2.57 seconds to take 21st with a 1:05.54.  Another 1.5 second drop next year, and she’ll be swimming in the finals!  Then in 100 Back, she cut .58 seconds to go 1:05.88.  It was a great way for Alex to wrap up the season.
  • Joe Kosten had a pair of strong individual swims including a lifetime best 1:07.12 in 100 Breast, beating his previous PR by a whopping 1.49 seconds. Joe also would have dropped nearly 5 seconds in the 200 IM, but a friendly official took offense to the way he separates his feet while kicking in butterfly.  Oh well – we now know that Joe is capable of a  2:12.70!
  • Our Boys 200 Free Relay of Luke Marrazzo, Joe Kosten, Joe Zapiain and Patrick Koehr took 23rd place overall on the strength of Luke’s 23.89 lead-off split and Patrick’s PR split of 24.61. I was very also very happy to see Joe Zapiain make it to States with these other fast boys this year.
  • Our Girls 400 Free Relays both had good swims.
    • The “A” relay of Kimberly Rector, Jillian Ceol, Sally Marrazzo and Emily Heim took 21st overall with four very fine swims. Kimberly led off with a PR (already mentioned).  She was followed by Jillian who, in spite of not feeling well swam a split that was faster than her standing start PR.  Jillian was followed by Sally and Emily, both of whom crushed their standing start PRs.  Their final time was nearly four (4) seconds faster than the sum of the 100 Free PRs – outstanding!
    • I was even more pleased with the “B” relay of Bernadette Wunderly, Mikey Wittlinger, Dani Flook and Keziah Higginbottom – three seniors and an 8th I already told you about Bernadette, but how about Mikey?  She told me before the heat that her goal was to not be able to get out of the water, and she certainly achieved that goal!  With that level of effort, Mikey swam a split that was nearly four (4) seconds faster than her season best 100 Free time.  Keziah had a similar swim with a split that was nearly 3 seconds faster than her season best time, but don’t forget 8th grader Dani Flook.  In her first state championship, she swam a split that was an incredible five (5) seconds faster than her lifetime best 100 Free.  I’m looking forward to bringing Dani to future State Championship meets!
  • Our Boys 400 Free Relay of Tommy Flook, Stephen Shaw, Brian Koehr and David Lambrecht made the most of their opportunity to swim at States, especially Stephen and David who swam splits that were .55 and .56 seconds, respectively, faster than their lifetime best times in 100 Free.

Awards are All That Remain

I’m still working on a date and venue for our annual swimming awards.  If you are interested in helping me put it together, I’m dying to hear from you 😉

Final Thoughts

It certainly has been another great season for Seton, even if it was different from some past years.  I’ve written in past blogs of the great joy that comes from achieving things that you never thought possible by working hard, believing in yourself and taking a risk.  I saw countless examples of that this season, and I’ll tell you true – you swimmers are not the only one who get great joy out of it.

Coach Jim Koehr

Seton Swimming’s G.E.M.S.

What makes Seton Swimming special?

N

Gratitude

“Who has it better than us? Nobody!”

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Excellence

We focus on better. Good takes care of itself.

N

Meekness

We help our opponents over the bar that we raised by winning

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Sacrifice

We offer it up. We love all of our teammates.

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