Earlier last week, I announced the Varsity team that will compete in the post-season for Seton where no more exhibition swimming is allowed. Thirteen years ago, after having the season for nearly half the team end abruptly at this point, we hatched the idea of a fun, season-ending meet for all the members of Seton’s Junior Varsity team.
The Junior Varsity Invitational was the result of that plan. We had just started hosting the State Championship meet at that point – how hard could this one be? So, we set out on a journey to create an annual event at the beautiful new Fitch Warrenton Aquatic and Recreation Facility, which was brand new at the time.
The meet continues to attract swimmers from all over the State of Virginia. This year we had 152 swimmers from 11 teams that traveled from as far away as Chesapeake, VA for a fun-filled meet where I do the announcing personally.
For the meet, I told the Captains that they were to act as the Coaches. I was very pleased with the leadership shown by Shane Koehr, Jacob Alsup, Justin Fioramonti, Christian Ceol, Caroline Griffin, Katie Dealey, and Anne Konstanty.
The meet got off to a great start when Seton 7th grader Orla Haggerty sang the National Anthem. She was wonderful, as usual, and it set a tone of excellence for the rest of the evening.
Orla’s performance was followed by a number of incredibly strong performances from other 7th graders, 8th graders, and freshman. It is impossible not to get excited about the future of Seton Swimming after watching the dominance our younger swimmers showed on Saturday. We are going to be good!
The scoring at the meet ended up very positive for Seton:
Williamsburg Christian 192.5
Norfolk Academy 185
The Carmel School 157.5
Fredericksburg Christian 119
Fork Union Military Academy 75
Seton Family Homeschool 15
Highland School 14
Fredericksburg Christian 167
Williamsburg Christian 111
Norfolk Academy 110
St. Anne’s Belfield 66
Wakefield School 40
Highland School 39
Blessed Sacrament Huguenot 38
Seton Family Homeschool 17
The Carmel School 13
Top Scorers for Seton
Saturday’s meet was very fast – there was even a new meet record for the 200 Breaststroke Relay – but our strong core of young swimmers was up to the challenge. Here are the Girls who scored in the top 8 on Saturday:
- Mary Pennefather (8) was absolutely dominate, winning five (5) gold medals and never even having a competitive race. Those medals didn’t just include her traditional events of 50 and 100 Free and the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relays, she also won 100 IM in her closest race of the day (she won by more than 3 seconds). Mary has developed into our team’s premier sprinter, but I was most excited to see her development in the other strokes on display Saturday.
- Lucy Pennefather (7) won gold in 50 Breaststroke by .01 seconds! Her 39.27 was a outstanding time for a 7th grader in that event. Wow! Lucy also took Gold with her sister Mary in the Medley Relay and the 200 Free Relay, along with 9th in 100 IM and 10th in 50 Fly.
- Maggie Gibbons (8) had a great afternoon, with Gold medals leading off the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relays plus a Silver medal in 50 Fly and a two (2) Bronze medals in 100 IM and 50 Free. Her Fly was a 1.93 second PR.
- Ava Hudson (8) was also awesome on Saturday. Not only did she take Gold as part of the 200 Medley and the 200 Breaststroke Relays, she also took Silver in 50 Backstroke, 4th in 100 IM and 7th in 50 Fly. Her IM and Fly were both PRs by 1.84 and 3.57 seconds, respectively.
- Madelyn Zadnik (8) had three tremendous individual swims earning her a Bronze in 50 Breaststroke, a 4th place in 50 Fly and a 5th place in 100 IM. Both her Breaststroke and her Fly were PRs by .90 seconds and 6.93 seconds, respectively. Madelyn also won Gold in the 200 Breaststroke Relay and the 200 Free Relay.
- Haley Fifield (7) showed she’s going to be a good one for Seton in the near future. How about a Bronze medal in 50 Backstroke with a 2.38 second PR? Or how about that huge 9.60 second PR in 50 Fly. Haley also won a gold medal in the 200 Backstroke Relay and a Silver medal in the 200 Medley Relay.
- Shannon O’Malley (7) swam like she was older than just a 7th Her 2.06 second PR in 50 Back, and her 4.64 second PR in 50 Fly earned her 5th and 8th place, respectively. She also took 8th in 100 IM with a great time! In the relays, she won a Gold medal in the 200 Backstroke relay and a Silver medal in 200 Medley Relay.
- Elodie Brox (7) looked great in her 5th place finish in 50 Breaststroke. She also finished in 11th place for the 200 IM and in 15th for 50 Fly. Her Fly was 3.33 seconds faster than her previous best 50. Elodie also won Silver medals in the 200 Medley and 200 Breaststroke relays.
- Mary Catherine Hurley (7) wrapped up a great first season with Seton with a 6th place finish in 50 Free and two big PRs. In that 50 Free, she dropped 1.47 seconds, and in her 50 Fly, she dropped 1.75 seconds. Mary Catherine also won Silver medals in both the 200 Backstroke and 200 Breaststroke Relays.
- Gianna Cackett (6, SFH) is a 6th grade homeschooler who joined us as part of the Seton Family Homeschool (SFH) team, and she single-handedly beat The Carmel School. Her 6th place in 50 Breaststroke, 9th place in 50 Free and 10th place 50 Back scored a total of 17 points. Her 50 Free was also a PR, by .98 seconds.
- Julia Atkinson (8) took 7th place in her favorite 50 Breaststroke after a big 3.94 second PR. She also had a 8.78 second PR in 50 Fly and a .53 second PR in 50 Free. Julia also won a Gold medal in the 200 Breaststroke relay and a Silver medal in the 200 Medley Relay.
- Lucia Bingham (7) earned 8th place finishes in both 50 Free and 50 Back, including her fastest 50 Free of the season by .12 seconds. Lucia also took 9th with a .74 second PR in 50 Fly. Lucia also won Gold medals in the 200 Backstroke and 200 Breaststroke relays.
- Amelia “Grandma” Geary (8) matched her grade level with an 8th place finish in 50 Breaststroke after her first attempt in a timed race in the event. She also had a 1.86 second PR in 50 Back and a .58 second PR in 50 Free. Amelia was also a key to winning the Silver medal in both the 200 Backstroke and 200 Breaststroke Relays.
Our boys are going to be really good in the future! An indication of just how good was the Boys 50 Backstroke where Nathan Luevano (FR) and Joe Wilson (FR) took 1st and 2nd, followed by Connor Koehr (7, SFH), David Hudson (8), Max Wilson(7), Joey Dealey (FR), and Mick Fioramonti (8) taking 6th through 10th, respectively. The difference between 6th and 10th was only 1.11 seconds. That was quite a dominate performance from this group of young male swimmers who are going to be racing against each other for the next four (4) years.
Here are the Boys who scored in the top 8 on Saturday – plenty more really good-looking young swimmers on this list:
- Joe Wilson (FR) was the most dominate male swimmer we had at the meet, winning four (4) Gold medals and a Silver. He Golds included the 100 IM, 50 Fly (.19 second PR), the 200 Medley Relay, and the 200 Free Relay. His Silver came in 50 Back in a very close race with teammate Nathan Luevano.
- Nathan Luevano (FR) won gold in 50 Backstroke with a great swim against teammate Joe Wilson. That same talent in backstroke led to a Gold medal in the 200 Medley relay. Nathan also took Gold in the 200 Free relay, 4th in the 100 IM and 5th in the 50 Fly.
- JJ Brox (FR) showed that he is going to be a force for the Seton boys in the future with his Silver medal in 50 Breaststroke, 4th in 50 Free and 5th in 100 IM. He swam 100 IM in only 1:10.71, an excellent time. JJ also won Gold medals in the 200 Medley and 200 Free Relays.
- David Hudson (8) had a great meet with PRs in 50 Fly (4th place) and 100 IM (7th) place, plus a 7th place finish in 50 Back. David also won Gold in the 200 Medley and 200 Free relay.
- Connor Koehr (7, SFH) joined us as part of the Seton Family Homeschool team for his last year before he joins us officially next season. He laid down his marker with his future classmates in 50 Backstroke taking 6th place after a 2.70 second PR. Connor also took 9th in 50 Free after a .37 second PR and 13th in 100 IM after a 4.46 second PR.
- I received this nice note from Seton’s Stroke & Turn Judge, David Wilson: “Connor’s 50-back turn on Saturday was a thing of beauty. His competitor in the adjacent lane beat him to the wall by at least a half of a body length. After the turn, Connor had flipped the advantage in his favor. A beautiful turn and excellent final 25 yds.”
- Joey Dealey (FR) took 7th in 50 Breaststroke after a huge 16.04 second PR! Joey also took 8th in 50 Fly with a 2.74 second PR and 9th in 50 Back with a 4.54 second PR. Joey also led off the Silver medal 200 Breaststroke relay.
- Max Wilson (7) swims like he is 6 feet tall. I loved watching him race to 8th place in 50 Backstroke after a .57 second PR. Max also took Gold in the 200 Backstroke relay and Silver in the 200 Breaststroke relay.
71 New Personal Records!
In a meet where many swimmers were swimming events for the very first time at a high school meet (therefore no PR is possible), it was amazing to see that we have a total of 71 Personal Records for the meet. I looked back at past Blogs for the JV Invitational and we’ve never seen a number that high. The highest I saw was 57 last year and 56 in 2016.
Here are the PRs that I haven’t already mentioned:
- Ryan Beltran (8) wrapped up a great season with a 2.88 second PR in 50 Fly plus a Gold medal in the 200 Backstroke relay.
- Mick Fioramonti (8) had a huge 5.47 second PR in 50 Fly and another .46 second PR in 50 Free. He also took a Gold medal in the 200 Backstroke relay.
- Peter Konstanty (8) showed that he’s learned how to swim Butterfly with his 3.86 second PR 39.53. Peter also won a Gold medal in the 200 Backstroke relay and a Silver medal in the 200 Breaststroke relay.
- Chris Lynch (8) dropped a huge 4.93 seconds in 50 Fly to take 17th. He also anchored our Silver medal 200 Breaststroke Relay.
- Liam Halisky (7) ended his inaugural season at Seton with two great PRs, by 1.41 seconds in 50 Back and by .09 seconds in 50 Free. Liam also won a Silver medal in our 200 Backstroke relay.
- Chris Arnold (7) lowered his 50 Fly PR by 3.63 seconds and had great swims in 100 IM and 50 Back. Chris was also part of our Silver medal 200 Backstroke relay.
- Jed Albin (8) looked very strong in his 100 Free, and it showed in the result. He beat he previous best time by 3.87 seconds to go 1:18.10, a very good time for an 8th Jed also cut .66 seconds in 100 Back and was part of our Silver medal 200 Backstroke relay.
- Michael McGrath (8) was tremendous in 50 Free, lowering his PR by a whopping 1.79 seconds! Michael also cut 1.66 seconds in 50 Back leading off a medley relay, and he anchored our 200 Backstroke relay which won Silver.
- Kyle De Ra (JR) finished his first year on the team with a great 13.66 second PR in 50 Free and great first-time swims in 50 Back and 50 Breast.
- Jack Champney (8) crushed it in 50 Back, beating his previous best by 10.55 seconds. He also crushed his 50 Free PR by 2.32 seconds.
- Peter Hartung (7) had two huge drops in 50 Back, by 6.65 seconds, and in 50 Free, by 5.23 seconds. Peter also showed that he can swim Breaststroke now.
- Seth Kellogg (7) lowered his 50 Fly PR by a huge 3.82 seconds. He really looked good in that swim. He also cut .35 seconds in 50 Free leading off a relay to break :35 for the first time.
- Orla Haggerty (7) didn’t just sing the National Anthem well, she also swam well – particularly in the 50 Free where she cut 1.78 seconds from her PR.
- Joseph Dwane (8) had a great swim in 50 Free, lowering his PR by 1.60 seconds.
- Michael Brox (7) cut another .12 seconds in 50 Free. He also showed that he can now swim Butterfly.
- Rose Waldron (7) had a tremendous swim in 50 Fly, proving that she has learned how to swim this stroke with her 2.81 second PR. She had another PR in 50 Backstroke, by 1.35 seconds. Rosie also won a Silver medal in the 200 Backstroke relay.
- Lucy Cunningham (7) wrapped up a great first season at Seton. On Saturday, she not only cut .32 seconds in 50 Fly, but she had a great swim in the 100 IM. Lucy was also a key part of our Gold medal 200 Backstroke relay.
- Lauren Curley (SR) ended her first an only year on the Seton team with a bang. How about a 24.21 second PR in 50 Back to break 1:00 for the first time?! She also cut 1.40 seconds in 50 Free.
- Jo Hartung (8) finished strong with her 11.23 second PR in 50 Back. Great swim Jo!
- Cate Waldron (8) rocked her 50 Free 2.04 seconds faster than ever before!
- Teresa Kerlek (JR) came out for the team for the first time as a Junior this year, and really showed tremendous improvement – including three (3) PRs on Saturday. In 50 Back she cut 2.03 seconds, in 50 Free she cut 1.48 seconds, and in 100 Free she cut 1.40 seconds.
- Emma Catabui (SO) has come a long way since she started on the team last year. I was so pleased to see her swim PRs in 50 Free by 1.01 seconds, and in 50 Breast by 1.13 seconds.
- Virginia Hartung (JR) had a nice swim in 50 Free, lowering her PR by .43 seconds.
Other Strong Swimming
With so many swims where PRs were not possible, let me highlight some of the other great swims that I saw. I wish I had some previous times for these swimmers, because I know that almost all of them would have shown big improvement:
- Elizabeth Dwane (SO) had a great swim in the Silver medal winning 200 Breaststroke Relay. She also showed she’s learned all four (4) strokes with a great first attempt at the 100 IM.
- Moira Haggerty (FR) was a key part of the girls 200 Backstroke relay which won the silver medal. Moira also showed her versatility with a strong swim in the 100 IM.
- Meg Blanchette (7) was a joy to have on the team this year. She was very hard working in practice and swam really well on Saturday, particularly in 50 Back and 50 Breast.
- Clare Flynn (8) had a good first year on the team, learning to swim backstroke and freestyle very proficiently. I’m looking forward to having her back on the team next year.
- Elena Morano (SR) was just wonderful to have on the team this year. I love it when seniors join the team for the first time. She came along way this season, and taught us all how to get out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself.
- Dominick Tolentino (SR) came back after a partial season last year to be with the team for the entire season. I was really pleased to have him. He even got down to :33 in 50 Free with no prior experience swimming.
The Remainder of the Championship Season
This National Catholic High School Championship was the first of four (4) championship meets for us this season. The remaining three (3) meets are over the next three (3) weekends, including:
- The VISAA Division II Invitational Championship – Saturday, February 1st at the Freedom Center.
- The DAC Conference Championship – Saturday, February 8th at the Fitch WARF
- The VISAA State Swimming and Diving Championship – Friday and Saturday, February 14-15th at the Christiansburg Aquatic Center near Virginia Tech.
Entries and information will be posted for the Division II Invitational before Monday. The meet will be scored as a championship meet, but we will re-score it as a series of dual meets and use those scores between teams that have not yet met to finalize the conference winner . Basically, I think if we beat Fredericksburg Academy in the dual meet scoring, we will officially win the conference championship for both boys and girls.
For next weekend’s VISAA Division II Invitational, all Varsity swimmers should be on deck ready to stretch by 12:39 p.m. at Freedom. Non-varsity swimmers are of course welcomed to join the team on deck – but wear your uniform.
At this weekend’s meet, our girls will see our three biggest rivals in VISAA Division II – Trinity Christian, Williamsburg Christian and Hampton Roads Academy (HRA). On the Boys side, I’m looking forward to seeing where we stand against perennial State Champ HRA. I think we could win both the boys and the girls at this annual Invitational Championship meet. It will also give us an idea of where we stand going into States.
We are really pushing hard in practice during the month of January – do everything you can not to miss practice so we can all be ready.
See you at practice!
Coach Jim Koehr