Last Saturday, we hosted our 11th annual VISAA Division II Invitational. It was great to see “The Chief” (aka Mrs. Carroll) and Athletic Director Dan Vander Woude in attendance. We all appreciate their support for Seton Swimming.
We created this meet 11 years ago so that all of the Division II schools could have a chance to come together before States for a fun competition where we could all get the chance to know each other better. Then we could all go down to States have a great competition for our kids also, not just the kids at the big schools.
One data point to show how well it has worked is that this year, the meet had the highest level of participation ever: 23 schools brought 349 swimmers – that is nearly 2/3rd the size of the State Championship meet.
And the goal of getting to know each other better before States was definitely accomplished – certainly for Hampton Roads Academy and Trinity Christian School anyway. For the first eight (8) years of this meet, the Seton girls won handily, but things really changed when HRA starting coming to the meet three (3) years ago and when TCS starting coming two (2) years ago.
In the eleven years we’ve been hosting this meet, I don’t recall one that came down to the last event, but this one did. Our perennial State Division-II Girls Champion, Hampton Roads Academy, got their money’s worth this afternoon from a relative new-comer, Trinity Christian School.
HRA entered the last event with only a 4 point lead after Breaststroke. TCS was actually ahead by 10 points after the event just prior to that, 100 Backstroke. In the end HRA was able to hold off Trinity Christian, but any objective observer sure had to be impressed with what Trinity Christian accomplished today.
On the boy’s side, it was all HRA – they scored literally three times the number of points scored by second place Walsingham Academy. Watch out for these boys at States!
I’d like to congratulate our Swimmers of the Meet, both of whom were selected by a vote of the coaches:
- Boys – Nicholas Schoenig, Hampton Roads Academy
- Girls – Bronwyn Keating, Hampton Roads Academy
The meet just keeps getting faster. We had four (4) new Meet Records this afternoon:
- Boys 200 Free, Nicholas Schoenig, HRA – 1:46.32
- Girls 500 Free, Bronwyn Keating, HRA – 5:15.86
- Girls 200 Free Relay, HRA, N Shuford, M Christou, W Hager, B Keating – 1:43.09
- Boys 100 Back, Nicholas Schoenig, HRA – 53:40
In the Delaney Athletic Conference, we have also traditionally counted this meet for DAC Championship Meet Records, and we had one of those records broken:
- Girls 200 Medley Relay, Trinity Christian, B Klanderman, M DiPippa, B Williams, A Cornett – 1:57.12
It is worth noting that these girls swam 4.01 seconds faster than their best time so far this season to take the Gold medal in this event.
As the coach of TCS’ main conference rival, I definitely was impressed. The record they broke was set in 2011 by Alex Doonis, Cat Rogers, Bridget Wunderly and Lauren “the Machine” Donohoe who went on to States that year to earn the silver medal with a State record breaking time of 1:50.25.
For the 23 teams involved, here’s how the meet scores looked for the top finishers when it was all over:
- Hampton Roads Academy 282
- Trinity Christian 262
- Seton School 166
- Fredericksburg Christian 102
- Fredericksburg Academy 97
- Nansemond-Suffolk 96
- Highland Hawks 65
- Hampton Roads Academy 5
- Walsingham Academy 5
- Fredericksburg Academy 107
- Seton School 98
- Fredericksburg Christian 95
- Wakefield School 90
- Trinity Christian 90
- Highland Hawks 51
Seton Boys and Girls Win DAC Conference Championship
One aspect of the meet that proved to be surprisingly important was the emergence of the Fredericksburg Academy boys. The DAC conference uses this meet, rescored as a 3+ Dual meet, to count as a regular season score for DAC teams that have not yet met during in a meet during the season – and we had not swum against FA this season until Saturday. Recall that a 3+ Dual meet score is a separate score for each team in the meet against each other team in the meet.
After Fredericksburg Academy beat us in the championship scoring, I realized that I should be worried. Before the meet, I didn’t think that having Alex Ceol and Drew Dalrymple at VEX or having Jerry Dalrymple at Boy Scouts would make a significant difference – and thankfully, in the dual meet scoring, it did not.
On the Girls side, the ADs decided at the beginning of the season that the conference championship would be decided by the results of the first meeting. That was very fortunate for us because that meant that the loss of Mairead Geiran (serious fever – get well for States Mairead!) this week did not end up making a difference for the conference title. By beating FA in the dual meet scoring, we also sealed the deal for the girls.
In the DAC Dual meet scoring, here’s what the scores looked like
Seton 156 Fredericksburg Academy 120
Seton 163 Fredericksburg Christian 117
Seton 170 Trinity Christian 85
Seton 167 Wakefield 79
Seton 198 Randolph-Macon Academy 68
Seton 192 St. Michael the Archangel 67
Seton 188 Highland School 51
Seton 200 Wakefield Country Day 16
Trinity Christian 167 Seton 110
Seton 169 Fredericksburg Christian 102
Seton 173 Fredericksburg Academy 96
Seton 176 Highland School 88
Seton 194 Wakefield 59
Seton 206 Wakefield Country Day 14
Seton 212 Randolph-Macon Academy 6
Seton 212 St. Michael the Archangel 6
How Does Little Seton School Consistently Host Meets of this Scale?
One question that I frequently get from other schools is “how is a school the size of Seton able to host such big meets?” Well the answer is that so many of our parents are willing to step up and take responsibility for big parts of the venture.
This year, when I tried to implement an idea where a single team was responsible for supplying the timers for a particular lane, I made the mistake of assigning a lane to Seton. As the time for the Timers meeting approached, I started looking in the stands for candidates – and there was literally not a single Seton parent in the stands! As I looked around, I realized that all of our parents were already volunteering!
Of course, our meets run on the efforts of stalwart parents like Bill Dealey, Charles Seltman, Hank Konstanty, Therese Griffin, Anne O’Malley, Chris Caron and so many others. Here are a few of those others that were such huge help on Saturday:
- Robin Given doesn’t have a background in swimming, but he not afraid to jump in and learn. Given not only came to set up the sound system – without having a kid in the meet – he served as the announcer for the entire event.
- Miller Baker also did not have a kid in the meet, but he came and did the difficult job of head timer – a job that was complicated by the fact that we didn’t have any Seton parents left to time.
- Anne Geiran did a great job of putting together a hospitality table for the officials and the coaches. I decided to enlist her help at the last minute when I saw that the timeline had the meet lasting five (5) hours. It was delicious!
- Carole Pechie came to help after working all night and did an incredibly efficient job handling all of the medals and meet award ballots. I checked on her several times and finally realized that my best course was just to leave her alone – she had it totally under control.
- Kim Kenna and Bernadette Hassan were a huge help when they stepped in to time at the last minute in the Seton lane. Kenna was there filling her role as the team photographer and Bernadette was just there to cheer her friends.
For the many other parent volunteers that I have not mentioned here, thank you for your support in making Seton Swimming, Seton Swimming.
Medal Winners for Seton
Like most championship meets, we gave gold, silver and bronze medals, and, even though the competition from HRA, Trinity Christian and Fredericksburg Academy was stiffer than ever before at this meet, our top Seton and Wakefield Country Day Swimmers showed that they could compete at this level:
- Lucas DuMez (SR) from Wakefield Country Day was a real standout, putting up some times that will show very well in this coming week’s VISAA Top 16 times. In 100 Fly, Lucas took the Gold medal with a 1.53 second PR 53.35. The top 16 will get faster this week, but that would have been the 3rd fastest time in the State versus last week’s Top 16. In 100 Back, Lucas also had a big PR, cutting 1.15 seconds to go 55.00 for the Silver medal. Lucas had the opportunity to come to our practice last Thursday and work one-on-one with former Seton All-America backstroke Kevin Koehr. Looks like Lucas was listening!
- Anna Kenna (JR) took home two silver medals on Saturday with two excellent swims. Anna is in the middle of the toughest part of her training cycle, and her times were excellent for a swimmer who is “broken down”. A good measure of how strong Anna’s swims were: In the 200 Free, she handily defeated the top swimmers from both HRA and TCS, and she repeated the feat in the 100 Free. The winner of both of Anna’s event was a very strong swimmer from The Steward School who was the eventual runner-up for Swimmer of the Meet.
- Seton’s Girls 200 Medley relay of Anna Kenna, Reilly Cuccinelli, Dani Flook and Julia Rowzie took the bronze medal, even without Mairead Geiran. Reilly’s breaststroke split was particularly good – it was 1.49 seconds faster than her previous best relay split.
The 31 swimmers that we had in this meet swam 25 Personal Records, a number that is not bad considering the number of swimmers that we have recovering from some sort of illness:
- Anne Konstanty (FR) just continues to amaze me. I really don’t know how she keeps doing it, but on Saturday, she managed to drop another 18.94 seconds in the 500 Free. Here 500 Free times this year have been 7:50, then 7:34, then 7:30, they 7:11.46! Anne also cut .30 seconds from her 50 Free PR.
- Kevin Geiran (JR) had a nearly unbelievable lead-off 100 Free for our 400 Free Relay going 57.69. That time was 7.76 seconds faster than his previous best – his converted meter time from last year’s trip to Fork Union. Kevin also cut .84 seconds from his 100 Back PR. Just imagine what could be if “6 in a row” were “26 in a row” 😉
- Katharine Rowzie (FR) continues to impress me nearly every time she hits the water. On Saturday, she cut another 5.20 seconds from her 500 Free PR and another 2.20 seconds from her 200 IM PR.
- Reilly Cuccinelli (SR) had a super meet. Beyond that great 50 Breaststroke relay split, Reilly also cut 1.05 seconds from her 100 Breaststroke PR.
- Brendan Santschi (JR) was outstanding in the 500 Free, beating his PR by 16.30 seconds, more than 1.5 seconds per 50. During the race, he didn’t have a single 50 split over :40 and only three of those were over :39. Outstanding! Brendan also cut a huge 3.35 seconds from his 100 Free PR
- Mary Ostrich (SO) has definitely had a breakout season, making Varsity for the first time and having a string of great swims – such as her 5.69 second PR 100 Fly on Saturday!
- Shane Koehr (FR) was awesome in 100 Backstroke. By making the most of his underwater pull, he cut his PR by a whopping 2.60 seconds.
- Jeremy Kleb (FR) had a great meet with two new Personal Records. In the 100 Back, Jeremy beat his previous PR by 2.04 seconds and in the 200 IM, he beat his previous PR by .92 seconds.
- Justin Fioramonti (FR) asked me if he could swim 50 Free, and I’m glad I listened to him. How about a 1.57 second PR!
- David Flook (FR) made an awfully good run at the State cut in the 500 Free, but even more impressive to me was his 3.28 second PR in 200 IM
- Kathleen O’Malley (FR) looked very good in her 100 Free, and it showed in her time – a .81 second Personal Record.
- Matthew Kelly (JR) showed me something on Saturday with his swim in the 500 Free. He lowered his PR by .81 seconds, but what was more important to me was the approach he took to the race. Once Matthew fully learns how to push himself beyond his own self-imposed limitations, I’ll be excited to see what he can do. He took a step in that direction on Saturday.
- Colette Waldron (SO) was super in her 100 Breaststroke, beating her previous PR by 4.21 seconds! She also cut her 50 Free PR by another .81 seconds. Colette has really improved in her first year on the team – I can’t wait to see what she will do at DAC Champs and in her final two years at Seton.
- Maria Tozzi (8) had a tremendous swim in the 500 Free, cutting another 8.03 seconds from her PR.
- Peter Tozzi (FR) has been a consistently hard worker in practice so I was very happy to see him get some results for his efforts – he lowered his 100 Free PR by another 1.35 seconds.
- Dominic Wittlinger (JR) had a strong swim in the 200 IM, beating his previous best by 1.66 seconds.
- Ashley Cackett (JR) is finishing her season strong. In addition to good swims in 100 Fly and 100 Breast, Ashley cut .36 seconds from her 50 Free PR leading off a 200 Free Relay.
- Bridget Larsen (JR) from Wakefield Country Day came from Winchester last Thursday morning to work on her butterfly, and it sounds like she’ll be coming back this week too. On Saturday, she cut .61 seconds from her 100 Fly PR, and we’ve discussed four ways she can get even faster. Her goal is the State cut at DAC Champs!
Next Weekend’s DAC Championship Meet
Next weekend is our annual conference championship meet. While the actual team declared conference champion is determined by the regular season (our girls were conference champions for the 23nd straight year), this meet is still a big meet for us. First of all, our Girls will face-off against a very strong Trinity Christian team that showed this past week what they can do. And our Boys will need to show Fredericksburg Academy that, with the Dalymple brothers and Alex Ceol back, we can still win in a championship meet.
In addition, anyone who finishes in the top 3 will be designated All-Conference. I hope to work on the entries on Monday, and my goal will be three-fold: 1) win, 2) get the maximum number of Seton Swimmers designated All-Conference, and 3) finalize our state team.
The Conference Championship will be hosted by Trinity Christian at the Fitch WARF. Our warm-up time has not yet been assigned, but I know there are three sessions between 3:00 and 4:00 p.m. You should plan on the meet running until at least 7:30 p.m. As more information becomes available, I will post it on our site.
The State Championship Meet is Friday and Saturday, February 17-18th at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center in Christiansburg, VA near Virginia Tech
I hope to publish my first draft of the State Championship team by Monday. I say draft, because I do it as much as possible based on time and there is one more meet where people can earn a spot on a relay.
Once again, we have a house this year for team meals and as a hang-out between sessions. I’ll be enlisting some Mom’s of State swimmers to take charge of the team meals. I also have a block of hotel rooms at a Holiday Inn nearby. As soon as we get all of the details of the trip together, I’ll publish them for you all in one place.
Five (5) more good practices left – let’s make the most of them!
Coach Jim Koehr