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Swimming and diving: Coaching transition goes smoothly

Reflecting on her first season as head coach for the Rosemount boys swimming and diving team, Patti Wegner revealed her own unique way of judging the success of this past season.

The Irish's accomplishments are certainly a good reflection on the coaches and athletes, but Wegner has a different way to measure how well the season went. At least for her first year, she could see the rewards in her athletes and their performances.

"I thought it went pretty well," Wegner said about her first season. "There were some big shoes to fill and overall the guys made it really easy for us to transition into it. Tami Carlson was an assistant for the boys season and head coach for the girls and it helped us get things rolling and see how to run stuff. It made it a little easier. I can't say enough about Tami, and what she did for the team. I couldn't do it without her. She handled a lot of the behind the scene stuff. I had it pretty easy thanks to her.

"It was a learning experience. We changed some things hopefully to get the guys swimming faster. They seemed pretty happy and I base the success on the guys. If they are happy, I'm happy."

Teamwork, among coaches and among athletes, was a big factor in Rosemount's triumphs. The Irish shared the South Suburban Conference title. They won the True Team section title and placed fourth at the True Team state meet.

Dropping significant time at the end of the season, Rosemount added a section championship to its resume and was seventh in the Class 2A state meet to finish the season.

"We set those goal times and some of them were just kind of joking about how fast they wanted to go, and then they hit some of those times," Wegner said. "Some of them were so surprised. I was just glad they did it. They worked really hard and did a great job to see the time drops really big.

"They went from nobody to somebody. Now people are looking at their names and people are looking at their times and know they have to look out now."

Conor Manning and Jake Stern were named the team's co-most valuable swimmers after each earned all-state honors. Manning and Stern were also all-conference swimmers.

Both juniors were named captains for next season along with juniors Braden McCormack and Matthew McCormack.

"With 13 juniors coming back, it's kind of hard to pick," Wegner said.

Braden McCormack and junior Luke Dowell joined Manning and Stern on the state runner-up 200-yard medley relay team for the Irish, earning all-state honors.

Dowell, David Baker, Stern and Manning placed fifth at state in the 200 freestyle relay. Sheldon Hatlen, Tyler Lawson, Manning and Baker finished seventh in the 400 freestyle relay.

Stern was also second at state in the 100 breaststroke.

Dowell, Braden McCormack, Matthew McCormack, Baker and Alex Roberts each earned all-conference honors. Dan Monaghan, Anthony Tooley, Andrew Urness and Hatlen were all-conference honorable mention.

Tooley won the team's most valuable diver award. Urness was named the team's most improved swimmer.

Gareth Estabrook was the team's most improved diver and Cody Sedbrook earned the team's top rookie award. John Malecha was the top academic athlete winner.

With 13 juniors on the roster and several other underclassmen, the future looks bright for the Irish. Rosemount had six seniors this season. Baker was the Irish's only senior at the state meet.

"This was a really good season," Wegner said. "We made a lot of improvements; just about everyone did a really good job of dropping a ton of time.