Each year we kick off our season with a Time Trial Meet at the Fitch Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility (WARF) with a few goals in mind:

  • Ensure that we have good baseline times on every swimmer against which we can measure improvement and with which we can prepare our meet and relay entries
  • Ensure that everyone clearly understands how Seton Swimming operates at a Meet, particularly arriving on time, warming-up efficiently, showing great respect for the national anthem, getting behind the blocks in time for your events without assistance, and starting a race with the whistle rather than voice commands.
  • Ensure that we have all the parent volunteers and supplies that we need to run our meets

If those were the goals for our Time Trial meet on Friday, November 16th, then I would have to say that we were highly successful.  Not only did we accomplish those goals, but several swimmers made their presence known, especially several swimmers who are new to the team.  Watching the swimmers on Friday gave me a lot of faith in the future of Seton Swimming.

The make-up of our team this year is totally unique compared to others over my 17 years coaching Seton.  The Captains did a great job of recruiting this year!  We have 73 kids on the team, 46 of whom are 9th grade and below.  We have 19 7th graders and only 2 seniors!  What an opportunity this is going to be for us to teach kids the life lessons that come with a sport like swimming and to build up our program for another State Championship run in a few years.

A Coming Out Party for Some New Swimmers

One thing that invariably happens at Time Trials is that several new swimmers make their presence known with outstanding early season performances.  This year was no different:

  • David Hudson (7) – I’m not sure anyone claimed more notice from the coaches than young David Hudson. This kid can swim!  How about a 1:11.22 in 100 Free for a 12 or 13-year old boy!  Even some of the older boys on the team took notice.
  • Ava Hudson (7) – Ava also attracted a lot of attention on Friday night. She looks like she can already effectively swim all four (4) strokes, which is unusual for swimmers her age.  Becoming a four (4) stroke swimmer is one of the principles of Seton Swimming, and Ava has a nice head start on that.
  • Catriona Linton (FR) – Cat joined the team during the second week of practice, but it is already very clear that she’s going to become a key scoring swimmer for us this year. As we work more with her strokes, I think the sky’s the limit for Cat Linton.
  • Evan Wilson (SO) – Evan is new to Seton this year, and he has already made his presence known with the older boys on our team. It didn’t take us long to notice him in practice and move him up to Coach Mulhern’s lanes.  Evan really listens in practice, so I am confident we are going to see some significant improvement in his strokes followed by big improvement in his times.
  • Cormac Clune (SO) – the Clune family is new to Seton this year, but what a great addition they are going to be. (and a great addition to my personal family too!)  Cormac is an athlete – you can see that in his level of effort and in the water.  I can’t wait to work more with his strokes – I know this kid can rock!
  • Lily Clune (FR) – one thing I’ve already noticed about Lily is that she is very coachable. If you listen to what we are teaching and do your best to apply the lessons, you are going to get better.  Lily is going to get better.  I particularly like her body position in breaststroke – and we haven’t even gotten to that yet.
  • Mick Fioramonti (7) – Just watching Mick swim, I can tell he’s a Fioramonti. He swims so hard, leaving nothing in the pool.  And for a 7th grader who hasn’t benefited from the stroke work we do at Seton, his times are surprisingly good.  Mick is going to have a great future at Seton Swimming.
  • Nate Remington (JR) – is new to the team, even as a Junior. We have a long history of older boys joining the team as Juniors and Seniors and doing quite well.  Nate’s maturity and coachability are going to see him in the scoring column this season for sure.
  • Maggie Gibbons (7) – I just love that smile! Maggie brought a joy to the meet on Friday night that even had me smiling.  I can’t wait to watch Maggie’s improvement this season.
  • Lily Byers (FR) – New to the team this year, Lily impressed me on Friday, particularly with what I saw in her butterfly. Lily has great potential for Seton.
  • Ryan Beltran (7) – Ryan showed great versatility in all four (4) strokes. I can’t wait to spend more quality time teaching him how to swim even better.

Experienced Swimmers To Watch This Season

Every year, we have experienced swimmers who worked hard over the summer or joined a USA Swimming Club – or both – and start the season with a bang.  Here are some swimmers to watch this year:

  • Mairead Geiran (SO) spent last year at John Paul the Great, but we are so pleased to have her back! Anyone watching the pool on Friday night couldn’t help but notice her.  She was the fastest on the team in every event except backstroke.  Her 100 Breaststroke was particularly impressive.  I’d expect Mairead to qualify for States and National Catholics in multiple events this year.  In fact, had this meet counted, Mairead would have hit four (4) National Catholic cuts and two (2) State cuts!
  • Jack Santschi (SO) rocked the sprint freestyle events Friday, swimming the fastest times on the team in both 50 and 100 Free. Jack’s finish in 100 Free was text book.  Jack also swam a very quick 50 Fly and a 1.29 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.  Only a sophomore, I really expecting great things for Jack this season.
  • Caroline Griffin (JR) is another one who’s going to be a force for Seton this year. She cemented her spot as our team’s top backstroker with a time that beat the State cut.  She was also our 2nd fastest 100 Free, our 3rd fastest 50 Fly, and our 4th fastest 50 Free.  Her leadership as a Captain has been very strong also.
  • Jerry Dalrymple (SO) is quickly emerging as one of this year’s stars in the pool. Not only did he have PRs in 100 Free and 50 Fly, he had the fastest time on the team in 50 Fly and the 2nd fastest times on the team in 50 and 100 Free.  I think we may be seeing Jerry on a lot of “A” relays this season.
  • Anne Konstanty (JR) is killing it already this year, emerging on Friday night as one of Seton’s top female swimmers. Her improvement trajectory continues unabated over the past few years.  On Friday, she had a PR in every event, and many of them for very significant.  She cut 4.25 seconds in 100 Back, 4.15 seconds in 50 Fly, 3.24 seconds in 100 Breaststroke, 1.79 seconds in 100 Free and .86 seconds in 50 Free.  Her Breaststroke time was the 2nd fastest swum on the team at Time Trials.  Well done Anne!
  • Mary Heim (SR) is one of only two (2) seniors on the team, and we are so pleased to her leadership on our team. Coming off a very successful tennis season for Seton, she already hit a PR in 100 Free, by .36 seconds.  She’s only been in the water for four (4) practices since summer, so I’m sure it is just a matter of time before she’s back shining in her signature event, 100 Breaststroke.
  • David Flook (JR) has already shown that he a rare swimmer. I can’t recall a time when our fastest backstroker and our fastest breaststroker are the same guy.  With a .46 second PR in 50 Fly and a .40 second PR in 100 Free, he is also the 3rd and 4th fastest on the team in those events also.
  • Jacob Alsup (JR) is already off to a great start with four (4) PRs even before the season gets underway. He cut 1.32 seconds in 50 Fly, 1.27 seconds in 100 back, .30 seconds in 100 Breast and .15 seconds in 100 Free.  This is only Jacob’s second year on the team, but he had a big impact last year and I anticipate he’s going to have an even bigger impact this year.  Jacob had the 2nd fastest times on the team Friday night in 100 Breast and 50 Fly and the 3rd fastest times in 50 and 100 Free.
  • Isabelle Luevano (FR) sure does pack a lot of speed in that small frame, and that speed is going to play a key role in our relays this coming season. She had the 2nd fastest 50 Fly time on Friday, which is saying something given some of the names above.  She also swam the 4th fastest times on the team in 100 Free and 100 Breaststroke and the 5th fastest time in 50 Free.  Even her 100 Backstroke with strong after a 1.38 second PR.  It was definitely a good night for Isabelle.
  • Katharine Rowzie (JR) showed big improvement in 100 Breaststroke and 50 Fly with a 5.03 second PR and a .67 second PR, respectively. Her 100 Free time was the 5th fastest swum on Friday night so depending on how I line up the relays, she could very well end up on our “A” 400 Free Relay.  Naturally, I’ll be expecting great things from Katharine in the middle distance events also.
  • Mary Pennefather (8) is going to be one of our key sprinters again this year. Her 50 Free was the 2nd fastest on the team Friday night.  She’s also playing basketball, of course, but I’m looking forward to getting the time with her to develop her other events, particularly 100 Free and 100 Breaststroke.
  • Gemma Flook (8) is only in 8th grade, but I can tell she’s going to be a real presence on our team this year after I watched her Friday night. After a 6.08 second PR in 100 Back, she went 1:15.66 to finish with the 3rd fastest time on the team.  Gemma also had a 22.21 second PR in 200 Free, a 4.51 second PR in 50 Fly, and a 5.30 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.  What a great start for Gemma!
  • Elizabeth Caron (SO) already hit two (2) PRs. She cut 2.98 seconds in 100 Breast and 1.33 seconds in 50 Fly.  It’s great to see her practicing more with the Seton team.  She’s an important part of our future.
  • Christian Ceol (JR) had a four (4) PR night. The most impressive PR was that 50 Fly where he cut 7.52 seconds in an inspired effort.  Christian also cut a huge 4.52 seconds in 100 Back, 2.20 seconds in 50 Free and .01 seconds in 100 Breaststroke.  Christian was also within .23 seconds of his 100 Free PR – and he’s only been in the water for four (4) practices.
  • Shane Koehr (JR) is a returning All-Conference backstroker who I expect will play a key role in our relays this coming year. On Friday night, his most impressive swim though was his 2.58 second PR in 50 Fly after some vastly improved stroke technique.
  • Liam Kellogg (SO) is back to the team after his key role in Seton’s DAC Soccer Championship and Final Four State Tournament appearance, but that didn’t stop him from already showing how he can impact the swim team also. Liam had some big PRs, including a 3.56 second drop in 100 Free, a 2.89 second drop in 50 Fly and a 1.15 second drop in 100 Breaststroke.  Liam posted the 4th fastest times on the team in both 50 Free and 100 Breaststroke, so I’d expect to see him on our scoring relays this year.
  • Emily Flynn (FR) was a National Catholics qualifier and a key feature of our relays last year. She looks like she’ll be a key player for us this also.  Now that she’s now swimming USA, it will take a little time in the water for her to get back to where she was, but from what I saw Friday night, this is just a matter of time.
  • Nathan Luevano (8) was our energizer bunny last year, so I am so happy that he can score this year. It was impossible not to notice him in the water on Friday – he swam a big PR every time he hit the water.  Nathan lowered his 100 Back PR by 8.84 seconds, his 100 Breaststroke PR by 7.90 seconds, his  100 Free PR by 5.34 seconds, his 50 Fly PR by 2.03 seconds and his 50 Free PR by .31 seconds.  That was an amazing night of swimming for young Nathan!
  • Peter Konstanty (7) is only in 7th grade so he can’t score, but he’s going to be one to watch anyway. He had a huge PR in every single event, and when I say “huge”, I mean huge.  How about a 26.62 second drop in 200 Free, a 19.00 second drop in 100 Breast, a 13.44 second drop in 100 Back, a 6.17 second drop in 50 Fly and a 1.76 second drop in 50 Free!?

93 Personal Records Already!

Our team’s core values, or GEMs, are Gratitude, Excellence, Meekness and Sacrifice.   The second GEM is Excellence, which has nothing to do with how good you are – it has everything to do with how much better you are.  Over the years, I have noticed that, if we all get better, the winning seems to take care of itself.

From our first practice until Christmas, we will use large chunks of our practice time to build every stroke and every wall from scratch.  With the delay in when we have our time trials, we’ve gotten to the point we have largely covered freestyle already – and boy did we see the results of our work!

As you will see throughout the season, I will meticulously track Personal Records or “PRs” (i.e. Best Times) for each swimmer.  That is why seeing new swimmers at Time Trials is so important – to get a PR, you have to have a time from which to improve.

It is nearly impossible to write a blog each week that mentions 73 swimmers, but one thing I will commit to – if you swim a PR, you are going to get highlighted.  So here are the swimmers not previously mentioned who swam at least one PR:

  • Maddie Given (FR) PR’d in five (5) of her six (6) events. Her huge PRs included a whopping 25.83 second drop in 200 Free, a 8.10 second drop in 100 Breast, a 6.32 second drop in 50 Fly, a 6.25 second drop in 100 Free, and a 3.99 second drop in 100 Back.  What a great night for Maddie!
  • Joey Dealey (8) swam PRs in five (5) of his six (6) events also. He dropped 7.08 seconds in 100 Breast, 5.86 seconds in 200 Free, 5.13 seconds in 100 Free, 3.41 seconds in 100 Back and .71 seconds in 50 Free.
  • Amelie Halisky (8) had four (4) big PRs on Friday. In 200 Free she cut 14.20 seconds, in 50 Fly she cut 7.10 seconds, in 100 Breast she cut 4.16 seconds, and in 100 Back she cut 3.30 seconds.
  • Mary O’Malley (FR) had four (4) big PRs on Friday. Her most impressive was her 5.45 second PR in 100 Free, but she also had an impressive 6.31 second PR in 100 Back, a 3.12 second PR in 100 Breast and a .91 second PR in 50 Fly.
  • Collette Waldron (SR) also had four (4) PRs including her 33.77 second drop in 200 Free, her 10.66 drop in 100 Back, her 6.55 second PR in 50 Fly and her .34 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Madelyn Zadnik (7) can’t score yet, but the time she spent with us in the water last season paid off with a 35.90 second PR in 200 Free, a 13.45 second PR in 100 Free, a 12.37 second PR in 100 Breast and a 3.62 second PR in 50 Fly.
  • Ceili Koehr (FR) parlayed her beautiful strokes into a 3.70 second PR in 100 Free, a 2.58 second PR in 50 Fly and a 1.13 second PR in 100 Back. It is so great having Ceili at practice to demonstrate the stroke drills for the team – she does them perfectly!
  • Joseph Rowzie (8) demonstrated how much he learned last year about swimming butterfly with his big 5.38 second PR in the 50. Joseph also cut his 100 Breast PR by .84 seconds.
  • Moira Haggerty (8) won Most Improved Swimmer last year, and she’s continuing to improve already this year too. I was very impressed with her 8.41 second PR in 100 Back and her 6.19 second PR in 100 Breaststroke.
  • Patrick Hartung (8) swam four (4) Personal Records including a 17.42 second PR in 100 Breast, an 11.98 second PR in 100 Back, a 7.13 second PR in 200 Free, and a .69 second PR in 100 Free.
  • Addie-Quinn Kammerdeiner (8) has come so far over the past twelve (12) months, so I was so pleased to see her cut another 4.22 seconds in 100 Back and another .20 seconds in 100 Free.
  • Timothy Kelly (SO) cut .90 seconds from his 100 Free, a very good sign this early in the season of good things to come
  • Katie Dealey (JR) showed improvement already at this early point in the season, lowering her 50 Fly PR by .96 seconds.
  • Theresa Dwane (JR) had some very nice swims, particularly that 2.61 second PR in 50 Fly.

Things That Worked Quite Well

  • Volunteers – In the spirit of gratitude, I was pondering this morning how many high school swim teams could hold a Time Trials event like we did on Friday night. We had 6 coaches, a trained Starter and Referee, 4 other Stroke and Turn Judges, two Scorers running Meet Manager software, a Colorado Timing System Operator, an Announcer, a Nurse, a Physical Therapist, a Team Mom, a Pizza Mom, a Head Timer, and 24 lane timers – all volunteers and all from our parent base.  I think we can count the high school teams in the State of Virginia that are capable of delivering that sort of volunteer base on one finger.
  • National Anthem – As you heard, I take how our team demonstrates respect for the National Anthem very seriously. So I was very pleased about how seriously you all took the rehearsal of how we show that respect.   Thank you.
  • Almost No Events Missed – Unlike summer swimming, there is no mother running a clerk of course to make sure that you are all in the proper lane at the proper time. You are swimming on a high school swim team now, so we make the assumptions that you can get yourself to where you are supposed to be.  Our Starter waited for swimmers to get to the blocks every once in a while, that is true, but overall, I was pretty impressed with how well our young team was able to get themselves to where they were supposed to be, on time.
  • Notification by Missing Swimmers – We only had one swimmer miss the meet without telling me. That was really quite good compared to past years.  We didn’t have relays on Friday night, but if you were ever the one who had to rearrange the relays on deck right before the meet is about to start while 70 kids are floating around and asking questions, then I promise you, you would never fail to e-mail me if you or your kid cannot make it to a meet.  And please use e-mail – don’t just tell me.  Thank you for keeping me fully informed.

Opportunity to Improve

There were only two areas I saw on Friday night where I’d like to see improvement:

  • Cheering for Teammates – As you heard, I take how our team demonstrates respect for the National Anthem very seriously. cheering for our fellow teammates.

Seton Swimming is not an individual sport, so when you see someone fighting through their event to win, or even just to finish, then I’d like to see a mass of blue shirts at the end of their lane screaming like wild banshees.  We had a couple opportunities for that on Friday night, and I was a little disappointed to see our swimmers just talking to their friends in, and out of, the team area.

One of our GEMS is “Sacrifice”, and that encompasses loving our teammates.

And please don’t leave the deck and take a shower before all of your teammates are done swimming.   We didn’t practice it on Friday, but at the first meet on December 1st, the Captains will teach you how we do our post meet handshake.

  • Starting our Warm-up – When we start our warm-up with the five-minute continues swim, the goal is to have 8 or 10 simultaneous feet first splashes with each heat, including the last heats. Not only did we not jump in at the same time, we had three extra kids the same lane at the end while there were other lanes sitting empty.  Warming up with discipline will carrying on to the how we swim in the meet.

The First GEM, “Grateful”

With Thanksgiving approaching, I thought it might be appropriate to share some words from Deacon Don Libera of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Warrenton:

This week offers us our first opportunity to put this into practice as we prepare for our Thanksgiving celebration on Thursday. In light of Thursday’s theme, maybe our focus, our theme during the coming weeks should be to have an attitude of gratitude. For indeed, when we are truly thankful, we are humbled because of the many blessings the Lord has bestowed on us.

When the spirit of gratitude is rooted in humility, it produces in us the fruit of authentic love, and becomes contagious. When we think about how gratitude works in our own lives, we know that when someone is sincerely grateful toward us for something that we did for them or gave to them, we are much more open to doing more for them.

When we see a spirit of generosity in our children, even when it is not directed toward us, we are more inclined to be more generous toward them. A spirit of gratitude and generosity in one person often causes the recipient to respond with gratitude and generosity. We bear God’s image in this. We imitate His unbounded generosity, His unbounded love for us. So how better to prepare?

In our Gospel Antiphon for today’s Mass, we heard, “Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to stand before the Son of Man.”

I really like how Deacon Libera talks about the chain reaction that occurs when we should gratitude.  Gratitude is contagious.  Let’s start an epidemic!

Final Notes

  • It’s been really great to have Noah around our team so much this year. Gotta love that!
  • For this coming week, we’ll finish our work on freestyle and hopefully start working on backstroke – so don’t miss practice!
  • On New Year’s Eve, December 31st, we’ll have our annual Cystic-Fibrosis swim-a-thon. Thanks again to the Given family for running it again.  I’ll pass on more information shortly, but I can tell you now that I’m looking forward to doing a better job of raising money for this great cause than I did last year.

I have been so pleased to see so many of you on deck with me and the other coaches for morning practice.  Your smiles, your laughter and your desire to get better make it fun for me also.

See you Monday morning,

Coach Jim Koehr

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