Another 142 Personal Records this week. Last season, we had 867 PRs for the entire year, and this year, we’ve already had 393! On our way to 1,000 PRs, I hope. In the famous words of Vizzini in the cult classic The Princess Bride, “Inconceivable!”
On Saturday, we held our annual Seton December Invitational. This was a continuation of the unique cadence we have for a Seton season for the swimmers and coaches. In December, we concentrate very heavily on stroke technique and getting as many kids as possible to swim as many different events as possible. We are four (4) stroke swimmers at Seton, particularly in December.
It was so much fun watching so many young swimmers show such improvement, particularly in this week’s focus, backstroke. We were also able to showcase our improvement in butterfly with the unique addition of a Time Trial 50 Butterfly. 50 Fly is not an official event in a high school swimming meet, but I really wanted to create a developmental opportunity for our team. It was also fun to watch so much improvement manifest itself in the pool.
In the final week before Christmas break, we’ll wrap up with Breaststroke. Then, over Christmas and in January, we will hit the conditioning much harder until we rest down for the championship meets in February.
Although we lined up our entries with an emphasis on personal swimmer development rather than team scoring, and although we were missing 31 swimmers (no exaggeration), we still faired very well in the scoring. In addition to our regular VCAC competitors, we added the Division I school Woodberry Forest and the Maryland Catholic powerhouse, The Heights.
I was also quite pleased to host Oakcrest School, a Catholic school in Vienna just north of the Dulles Access Road. I was very pleased to hear from their Athletic Director (who is also their swimming coach) that they have applied to join our VCAC Conference. They would be a perfect fit – compatible in their school size, their values, and their level of competitiveness.
Here’s how the scores turned out:
Seton Swimming 176 Trinity Christian 126
Seton Swimming 171 Oakcrest 131
Seton Swimming 222 Fredericksburg Christian 63
Seton Swimming 239 Fresta Valley Christian 46
Seton Swimming 238 Immanuel Christian 38
The Heights 155 Seton Swimming 129
Woodberry Forest 150 Seton Swimming 145
Seton Swimming 162 Trinity Christian 136
Seton Swimming 191 Immanuel Christian 78
Seton Swimming 217 Fredericksburg Christian 40
Seton Swimming 231 Fresta Valley Christian 7
Key Scorers In Seton’s Victories
One big advantage of having 127 swimmers on the team is the depth that it offers us. In a competition where four (4) swimmers score in the top seven (7) places, depth, which has always been a strength for Seton, has proven to be even more of an advantage this season.
This week was as much evidence of this as you need. Out of 16 individual events, we only won two (2) of them outright, yet we still won most of the scoring. I remember a few years ago, we won the DAC Championship Meet handily without taking a single individual gold medal.
Although we were missing some of our top swimmers, we still had swimmers capable of stepping up and scoring for us. Here were the top scorers from Saturday:
- Lucy Garvey (SR) led the way in team scoring with a .15 second PR in 200 IM to take 1st place and a 1.35 second PR in 100 Fly to take 2nd Lucy also dropped 1.84 seconds in 50 Fly and swam on two 1st place relays.
- Angie Testani (FR) was competing at the University of Maryland this weekend with her USA team, but she came back between sessions to swim a few sprints and score a lot of points for us. Not only did she help us win the 200 Medley Relay outright, but she also cut .18 seconds from her 50 Free PR to win that event outright also.
- Joe Wilson (JR) looked very, very good in his 200 IM, an event in which he placed 2nd with a 2.65 second PR. All four (4) of his strokes looked very strong. He also looked good in 100 Fly where here placed 4th.
- Isabelle Luevano (SR) was on fire Saturday. Her very long stroke in the 200 Free yielded a 2nd place finish after a 1.21 second PR. She also took 3rd place in 500 Free and had a 1.15 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Mary O’Malley (SR) took 2nd place in 100 Free and 3rd place in 50 Free. Her 50 Free was a .50 second PR.
- Mary Pennefather (JR) is rapidly returning to post-season form. On Saturday, I had her in two events that did not involve sprint freestyle, and she had two superior swims. In 200 Free, she cut 10.62 seconds to take 3rd Before the race, Coach Mulhern told her to go out 1:05 for the first 100 – and she went out 1:05.20! Mary also cut 4.73 seconds in 100 Fly to take 4th place.
- Jacqueline Oswald (JR) had two strong scoring swims. In 100 Breaststroke she took 3rd place, and in 100 Free she took 5th Jacqueline also cut 1.18 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Nathan Luevano (JR) had a great swim in 100 Breaststroke, lowering his PR by .87 seconds to finish 3rd. He also took 4th in 100 Free at 56.36 and swam a very fast lead-off 50 Free at 24.66, a PR by .12 seconds.
- Anastasia Garvey (8), swimming for SFH, took 4th place in 100 Back and 7th place in 100 Free. For some reason, I don’t have any prior times on her so we can’t claim they are PRs. We can claim however, that they were excellent times for a girl her age – 1:10.37 in 100 Free and 1:20.48 in 100 Back.
- Elodie Brox (FR) continues to impress me. Her previous work with Coach DD Ross really paid off. Her 6.72 second PR in 100 Breaststroke took 4th place, and her first-ever attempt at 100 Fly took 8th
- Michael Brox (FR) swam a PR every time he hit the water. His biggest PR was in his shortest race. In 50 Backstroke leading off a medley relay, he cut 11.74 seconds to go 30.47, the fastest time on the team so far this season. In 200 IM, Michael dropped 8.22 seconds to take 4th place, and in 100 Back, he dropped 6.19 seconds to take 9th He also dropped .33 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Lily Byers (SR) scored in 5th place twice swimming in events that are basically the opposites – 50 and 500 Free. In the 500, she lowered her PR by 4.81 seconds, an excellent sign for Lily this early in the season.
- Max Wilson (FR) took 5th place in 500 Free with a .39 second PR and 8th place in 100 Breaststroke with a 1.49 second PR. His 6:55.67 in the 500 is an excellent time for a swimmer his age.
- Teresa Bingham (SR) just swims quietly, and scores points for Seton. Her 200 Free was right on her PR and scored in 6th She also scored in 7th place in 100 Backstroke.
- Jed Albin (SO) scored in 6th place in 500 Free with a huge 18.88 second PR. His PR in the 500 Free was even bigger – an incredible 61.66 seconds! With some other divers participating as exhibition so they could still swim two (2) events, Jed’s 25.55-point PR in diving jumped him up to a 2nd place finish.
- Shannon O’Malley (FR) had two incredible swims. In the 200 IM, she dropped 1.13 seconds to take 6th, but the really impressive swim was in the 500 Free. Somehow, Shannon dropped 82.37 seconds – nearly a minute and a half! Had I known she was going to do that, I would not have marked her as exhibition!
- Lucia Bingham (FR) broke through with a superior performance in 100 Backstroke, cutting 4.17 seconds from her PR to take 6th place overall.
- Drew Nguyen (FR) rocked his sprint freestyle events, lowering his PR in 100 Free by 2.50 seconds and his PR in 50 Free by 3.56 seconds! That scored in 7th place and 10th place respectively. In that 100 Free, Drew broke 1:00 for the first time. Drew also cut 1.40 seconds from his 50 Fly PR.
- Connor Koehr (FR) had four (4) PRs on Saturday. He dropped 1.63 seconds in 100 Back on the strength of his underwaters which resulted in a 7th place finish. Connor cut 8.40 seconds in 100 Fly and a whopping 2.53 seconds in 100 Free to go 1:05.17 leading off a relay. He also set a new PR for 6-dives by 12.57 points to score 161.32. The team record is 207.40 set by Joe Duran in 2013. Had he not been diving as exhibition; he would have finished in 2nd
- Mary Clare Waldron (SR) scored with two (2) 7th place finishes in 200 IM and 100 Fly. Here 100 Fly was a 5.95 second PR. In Diving, for which she was exhibition, she improved her PR score by 7.92 points, a score that would have placed second.
- Greg Bauer (8) looked very strong in the 500 Free so I wasn’t surprised to see him score in 7th place overall. Before that swim, Greg warmed-up with a 7.47 second PR in 200 Free. Smart young swimmers who want to make the post-season championship teams will focus on events like the 500 Free, 200 Free, 200 IM and 100 Fly because those are the easiest paths to being in our top 4 entries.
- JJ Brox (JR) had three PRs that led to an 8th place finish in 200 Free (PR by 1.15 seconds) and an 11th place finish in 50 Free (PR by .51 seconds). JJ also cut .42 seconds from his 50 Fly PR.
- Julia Atkinson (SO) got to swim her favorite breaststroke this week, and she repaid me with an 8th place finish overall.
- Rosie Waldron (FR) is really improving rapidly in both swimming and diving. In Diving she took 2nd place, and in swimming she dropped 2.15 seconds in 100 Back and 1.76 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Emma Catabui (SR) scored in 3rd place in Diving with a score very close to her Personal Record.
More Massive Personal Records
We have already heard about some of the swimmers who had massive Personal Records (PRs) in their scoring swims, but here are some other swimmers who had PRs that were fantastic:
- Evan Rodriguez (FR) caused me to go back to the recording of the live stream because I simply could not believe the time I saw in the results. The result said that, in 50 Free, Evan dropped from 1:24.36 to 35.85 – a 48.51 second PR that literally cut his time by more than half! I went back to the tape, and I’m not sure how I missed it during the meet – it was unbelievable! This wasn’t the largest PR in absolute terms but given that it was only a 50 yard race, I’d say it was easily the biggest PR of the meet. Coach Pretz had to be proud!
- Nora Blanchette (8) swam the largest PR on the team in absolute terms this week when she dropped 87.87 seconds in 200 Free. Wow!
- Daniel Hurley (8) had two huge PRs. In 100 Back, Daniel dropped 26.60 seconds, nearly half a minute. And in 50 Free, he dropped more than a whole second (1.15 seconds).
- Mary Catherine Hurley (FR) was right behind her brother with a huge 26.31 second PR in 200 Free and a .71 second PR in 100 Back. Not a bad way to celebrate her 15th birthday!
- Cora Kramer (7) made some great progress with Coach Madelyn Zadnik this past week, and it showed with her 19.81 second PR in 100 Back and her 3.95 second PR in 50 Free.
- Max Gonzalez (FR) keeps showing up on my PR list. This time he somehow managed to improve his 50 Fly PR by 13.38 seconds! He also cut 1.31 seconds in 50 Free leaving him just .55 seconds from breaking the :30 second barrier.
- Seth Kellogg (FR) continued his streak of huge PRs with a 13.47 second PR in 100 Back and a 6.21 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Maria Miller (8) really caught my eye during her 13.33 second PR in 100 Back. I’ve been watching her Fly in practice, so it didn’t surprise me when she dropped .71 seconds.
- Chris Lynch (SO) lowered his 100 Back PR by a whopping 12.80 seconds.
- Joey Lynch (6), swimming for SFH, dropped an incredible 11.75 seconds in 100 Back. Nice work!
- Gus Kohlhaas (FR) had a great meet with three (3) PRs. In 50 Fly he dropped 8.00 seconds, in 50 Free he dropped .68 seconds, and in 100 Back he dropped .11 seconds.
- Sophia Zadnik (SR) had a tremendous swim in the 500 Free, lowering her PR by 12.71 seconds. This is very unusual for a senior girl this early in the season. Way to go Sophia!
- Allison Quispe (8) showed that she was listening in practice by swimming 100 Back 11.96 seconds faster than ever before.
- Rebekah DeWolf (SR) swam three (3) PRs on Saturday. She cut 2.37 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay, .25 seconds in 50 Free, and most impressively, 8.02 seconds in 100 Back.
- Maggie Kleb (SR) was better than ever in 50 Fly – by 7.85 seconds.
- Mick Fioramonti (SO) swam 50 Fly 7.16 seconds faster than ever before. That is a huge drop considering the race was only 50 yards. Mick also improved his PR Diving score by 6.70 points.
- Michael McGrath (SO) looked great this weekend, particularly during his 10.42 second PR in 100 Back and his .32 second PR in 50 Fly.
So Many Other PRs!
Here are the rest of the PRs from our swimmers that I have not previously mentioned:
- Michael Zahorchak (7) had two big PRs. In 100 Back he dropped 7.53 seconds and in 50 Fly he dropped 5.36 seconds.
- Jonas Wilson (6) had two (2) PRs for SFH. He cut 1.35 seconds in 50 Free and .69 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Tom Waldron (6) was diving in his first competition for the SFH team and did incredibly well, scoring 115.95.
- Cate Waldron (SO) looked very strong in the water, and it showed in her times. I was pleased to see her cut .36 seconds in 50 Free and .14 seconds in 50 Fly.
- William Sokban (FR) is already proving that he’s going to be a good one for us in the future. I loved watching his 3.18 second PR in 50 Fly and his first-ever attempts at 100 Fly and 200 IM. Both times in those later events for excellent for a freshman!
- Daniel Sokban (7) had three (3) PRs. He cut .91 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay, .68 seconds in 50 Free, and 1.53 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Gabriella Russo (7) swam very well on Saturday, lowering her 50 Free PR by 1.62 seconds and her 100 Back PR by .59 seconds.
- Joseph Rowzie (SR) celebrated his 18th birthday on Saturday with a 5.25 second PR in 50 Fly.
- Lizzie Rohan (FR) had a super swim in 50 Free (a 5.04 second PR) and in 100 Back (a 7.73 second PR). Her finishes were particularly good.
- Emma Reynolds (JR) was fun to watch in 50 Free where she improved by 1.25 seconds.
- Maria Pennefather (SR) came back from a sore shoulder to power through to her first PR of the season. It was great to see Maria drop a huge 2.16 seconds in 50 Free.
- Jacob Oswald (FR) continues to improve in diving. This week, he improved his score by a very significant 38.22 points.
- Mary Clare Osilka (8) looked really good in 50 Back leading off the medley relay. I picked her out of the crowd on the livestream, and she rewarded me with a .64 second PR.
- Justin Orr (SR) had a great swim in 100 Back where he dropped 6.55 seconds and in 50 Free where he dropped .55 seconds. I loved watching his finish in 100 Back.
- Gabriel Orellana (FR) dropped 2.64 seconds in 100 Back and 1.40 seconds in 50 Free.
- Helena O’Keefe (8) had a big drop in 100 Back, lowering her PR by 1.40 seconds.
- Anthony Morales (8) looked great in 50 Back leading off a medley relay. His time was a 2.02 second PR. He also completed her first-ever attempt at 50 Fly.
- Joseph Minarik (SO) looked great in 50 Free during his 4.71 second PR. He also had a great first-ever attempt at 100 Backstroke.
- Dominic Miller (SO) improved his diving PR by 3.35 seconds.
- Anna McGrath (FR) had a nice swim in 50 Free, cutting 2.32 seconds from her previous best.
- Elizabeth Maranian (SR) dropped in both 50 Free and 100 Back, by 1.55 seconds and .52 seconds, respectively.
- Penny Kramer (7) had two more PRs this week. In 50 Free she cut 2.63 seconds and in 100 Back she cut 7.99 seconds.
- Colette Kramer (8) lowered her 100 Back PR by 1.80 seconds.
- Céilí Koehr (SR) made her 50 Butterfly look easy, and it showed with her 4.39 second PR.
- Sofia Kohlhaas (6) cut 1.28 seconds from her 50 Free PR, making her SFH teammates proud.
- Monica Irving (6) gave the SFH team two (2) more PRs including a 2.30 second cut in 50 Free and a 1.07 second cut in 100 Back.
- Elizabeth Hurley (6) had a great swim for SFH in the 50 Free, dropping 1.44 seconds.
- Maddie “Major” Heiny (8) made a strong assault on the pool that resulted in a .77 second PR in 50 Free.
- Clare “Lieutenant” Heiny (6), swimming 100 Backstroke for SFH, lowered her PR by 5.16 seconds.
- John Henry Hawley (8) looked great in his one individual swim when he cut 2.55 seconds in 100 Back. I would have loved to have seen his 100 Free 😉
- Patrick Hartung (JR) finished strong in 50 Free to garner a .08 second PR.
- Gabe Hambleton (8) cut .31 seconds in 50 Free.
- Orla Haggerty (FR) lowered her 50 Free PR by .51 seconds.
- Aoife Haggerty (7) earned her 2nd PR of the season with a bit 3.50 second drop in 50 Free.
- Veronica Gonzalez (6), swimming for SFH, had no previous time in 100 Back so she couldn’t get a PR, but I guarantee you that her first-ever attempt at the event was a big improvement over a couple of weeks ago.
- Cate Gillson (7) had a huge drop in 50 Free, beating her previous best by 6.50 seconds.
- Amelia Geary (SO) dropped 5.95 seconds in 50 Back leading off a relay, .25 seconds in 50 Free, and .35 seconds in 50 Fly.
- Elizabeth Francis (FR) looked the best I’ve ever seen her during her 4.45 second PR swim in 100 Back.
- Josh Fioramonti (8) is going to be an excellent Diver. On Saturday, he took another step toward that with a 1.58-point PR.
- Lucy Cunningham (FR) proved to herself what I already knew – that she could do more than she thought she could. After big swims in 100 Fly and 500 Free, she entered the final 400 Free Relay still nervous. I put her in the lead-off spot because I suspected she could get a PR in 100 Free. She did, by 2.90 seconds. Nice work Lucy. Now both of us know you can do it.
- Theresa Byers (SR) didn’t get a PR, but she did manage to improve the number and quality of the dives she did. She is SOOO close to getting 6 dives, at which point she will definitely score.
- Aaron “A-Ron” Bishop (SO) had a fabulous meet. Not only did he swim a 5.65 second PR in 50 Back and a 3.99 second PR in 100 Back, he tried the 200 IM for the first time and swam an excellent time.
- Mariana Bingham (7) had two (2) more big drops including a 2.41 second PR in 50 Free and a 2.15 second PR in 100 Back.
- Ryan Baughman (8) had to leave early for a hockey game, but he was able to stay long enough to drop 4.10 seconds in 50 Free.
- Julia Atkinson (SO) showed huge improvement in 100 Fly, cutting 9.58 seconds from her previous PR. She also cut .84 seconds from her 50 Fly PR.
A Shining Example from Mary Pennefather
I was so pleased with the example of servant leadership we saw from Mary Pennefather on deck Saturday. As Coach Dalrymple pointed out to me while I was busy with the live stream, “Mary was paying attention to other swimmers throughout the meet, seeing to their needs, and offering help and encouragement.”
I personally watched her encouraging nervous swimmers and helping younger swimmers when they were upset about a swim. I even saw her working with a Fresta Valley 400 Free Relay when a swimmer went early after the previous swimmer had only swum 50 yards rather than the full 100 yards.
Mary set a great example of the “S” in our GEMS – Sacrifice. “We offer it up. We love all our teammates.” In Mary’s case, she even showed love for her competitors.
Great job Mary!
Try Diving on Saturday: Invite a Friend or Younger Sibling
How wonderful it has been to see two volunteers with no kids at Seton School, Ashley Keapproth and Seamus Koehr, get a diving team off the ground to provide opportunity for twelve (12) kids to compete in this great sport. And they are looking to expand these opportunities in the future.
This Saturday Coach Keapproth and Coach Koehr are opening their 10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. practice block to anyone who would like to try diving. This includes anyone currently at Seton, as well as any younger siblings aged 8 and older. We will be focusing on a few basics for beginners to see how they like the sport and begin to develop a pipeline for years to come.
Coach Keapproth encourages all our current divers to also come as she will be spending the hour on fundamentals — entries, line-ups, as well as font and back dives.
Please arrive by 10:10 to stretch and be ready to get in the water at 10:30. It should be super fun for everyone!
Opportunities for Improvement
Overall, I was extremely pleased with how we performed at the meet, but I still see a few more things that we need to clean up:
- Missing the Meet
- With all the unpredictability of the sickness that so many kids have been experiencing, I was very grateful that the vast majority of you have been so diligent in keeping me informed.
- Incredibly though, I still had people who didn’t show up and didn’t tell me. I beg you, please don’t do that to me.
- Missed Events
- I guess I spoke too soon in last week’s blog when I complimented everyone on not missing any events. The week, we had several swimmers who were late to the blocks, reported to the wrong lane, or missed their event completely.
- You are on a high school swim team, and you all should be capable of getting to where you are supposed to be, on time, without adult intervention.
- No excuses.
- I mentioned this last week, but I guess I’m going to need to repeat it: “Remember in practice when I said “Never, never, never, never ….. never finish the race by grabbing the top of the gutter”?”
- When you finish a race, you should reach for the touchpad, with your head down, and touch the pad below the surface of the water.
- Not only will that ensure that your time is recorded properly, it is also the fastest way to finish.
- If you watch the livestream recording and see that the touchpad did not record your time, you know you did not finish with proper technique.
- Backstroke Turns, Not Too Bad
- We still had some of DQs for people rolling over on their stomachs during backstroke (“past vertical toward the breast” as the rule states), but not nearly as many as in past seasons.
- If you do a flip turn EVERY time, you are allowed to roll over on your stomach and take one arm pull going into the turn.
- If you don’t do a flip turn, you can’t roll over.
- You also must finish the race on your back, as I know we practiced last week.
- You need to touch each wall at the end of the pool.
- Believe it or not, we had three (3) DQs for missing the wall. If you miss the wall, go back and touch it with your feet – but remember not to roll over on your stomach!
- Handshake at the End of the Meet
- At the conclusion of the meet, we line up to circle the pool and congratulate the other teams.
- We do the handshake in uniform!
- Clean-up After the Meet
- From now on, I’d like to see the Boys Captains organize a police line in the bleachers and on the decks to make sure that we leave the place better than we found it.
- The Freedom Center staff can provide brooms and dustpans.
Our Annual Homecoming Meet
Next Saturday December 18th, is our annual Homecoming Meet at the Freedom Center. 1st warm-up starts at 1:00 p.m. and the first event goes off at 2:10 p.m.
As we have in the past, we’ll be running some alumni relays along with our own scoring relays. I know a several of the adult Koehr Brothers will be there, and I’ve also heard that Liam Kellogg will be gunning for the relay that Coach Mulhern puts together. We should also have Seton Relay record holder Bridget Wunderly joining us.
If you know of other alumni, please make sure they know they are welcome. If they show up with a suit and goggles, I’ll try to get them in a relay and an exhibition heat of 50 Free.
Christmas Break Practices
Traditionally, every Christmas Break, we have practices at the Freedom Center for the Varsity swimmers who will be competing in the key Conference and Championship meets starting in January.
There will not be a clear delineation of who is and who is not on the Varsity team, so for the purposes of Christmas practices, if you are entered as a scoring swimmer in one of the December meets, then I expect that you will attend as many of the Christmas practices as possible. In general, that means that all the swimmers who practice with Coach Mulhern, Coach Palazzo, or Coach Ross should plan on attending.
Everyone else can take the holiday off. I know that some of you want to swim, but we won’t have enough lanes or enough coaches to accommodate any more kids. So, if you are not Varsity, relax and enjoy Christmas –come back ready for the push yourself at the Cystic Fibrosis Swim-a-thon on New Year’s Eve!
I’ve finalized the Christmas break Varsity swim practice schedule with the Freedom Center for the following days:
- Monday, December 20th, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
- Tuesday, December 21st, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
- Monday, December 27th, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
- Tuesday, December 28th, 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
On all those days, Varsity Divers will also practice from 10:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. (ask Coach Keapproth of you should practice over Christmas).
Remember that we have the New Year’s Eve Cystic Fibrosis Swim-a-thon on Friday, January 31st from 10:00 to 1:00 p.m. at the Freedom. I will have more information posted on that shortly.
If you are in town, please plan on being at these practices and the Swim-a-thon. I’m sure that Trinity Christian will be working hard.
We’re off to a great start this season – great job! One more December meet on the next Saturday. Expect to once again swim something different in that meet.
We’re learning Breaststroke this coming week, so don’t miss if you can possibly help it. Even though we will not be in school on Thursday and Friday, practice is at the normal time, 6:04 a.m. Sorry, but the adult world does not have those two days off.
See you at practice,
Coach Jim Koehr