Swimming: Irish dominate section
One of Rosemount's boys swimmers and divers offered a poignant message last week as the Irish prepared for the section meet.
On the board at the Rosemount pool, it was written, "Teamwork makes dreams work."
The saying turned out to be a key aspect for this year's Irish.
Rosemount won the Class 2A, Section 3 meet last week, scoring 440.5 points. Lakeville South was second with 298 points.
"This was absolutely a total team effort," Irish coach Jim Ertl said. "Our guys used that teamwork. No doubt about it."
Last year's section-winning team -- with a handful of important seniors -- was so strong that Ertl was unsure what to expect from this team entering the season. The longtime coach knew it would be extremely tough to repeat as section champions.
However, this year's squad scored more section points than the Irish did last season.
"In the very beginning I said it was going to be very difficult to win the section with so many teams ranked in the top 10," Ertl said. "They did an amazing job. There were no guarantees we were going to win this meet. We have another great senior class and everyone did a nice job at this last meet."
In the process, Rosemount advanced all three of its relay teams to state. Eight swimmers also advanced individually.
The Irish won the medley relay with Devon Meeks, Jacob Stern, Tony Spiel and Max Hubbard combining for the victory.
Luke Dowell, Conor Manning, Nick Jeffrey and Hubbard teamed up to win the 200-yard freestyle relay. Manning, Jeffrey, Michael Young and Meeks won the 400 freestyle relay.
Individually, Young was fifth in the 200 freestyle. Stern was fifth in the 200 individual medley.
Meeks, Hubbard and Manning each advanced in the 50 freestyle as they swept the top three spots.
"That's the first time we've ever gone 1-2-3," Ertl said. "That is pretty impressive. They now have three of the top six times in the state going in. That's pretty huge."
Jim Peterson was fifth in diving for the Irish, scoring 291.85 points. He missed qualifying for state by .10 points. Anthony Tooley was eighth and Daniel Monaghan was 11th.
David Officer finished second in the 100 butterfly to qualify for state. Spiel placed fourth. Dowell was sixth and Young touched the wall in seventh.
"That was pretty impressive," Ertl said of the butterfly results. "That's a large amount of points there."
Hubbard won the 100 freestyle to advance to state. Manning took sixth.
Meeks and Braden McCormack qualified for the state meet, placing first and third, respectively in the 100 backstroke. Matthew McCormack finished eighth and David Baker won the 'B' final to place ninth.
Stern earned a trip to state with a fourth-place finish in the 100 breaststroke.
Now the Irish are focused on this week's state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center. Rosemount set several team and state records at the same pool last year.
"Our goal is still always to be top five at that meet," Ertl said. "We've created our own quality depth and that became obvious by winning the True Team section championship and then placing third at state. We're elated about that. Now it's all about the top-end."
Ertl named section coach of the year
For the second straight season, Ertl was named the section swimming coach of the year.
"It's a reflection of the kind of work ethic these guys have," Ertl said. "These guys have definitely worked to get to where they are right now. This is one of the best teams I've ever coached. As well as last year's team did, this one had to struggle more to get there. It's more impressive. They didn't have as much experience. That's what being section coach of the year is all about. It's a reflection on these guys and what they've done."