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Swimming: Irish complete trifecta

Megan Weinman looks at the clock after finishing a race during the True Team section meet.

While finishing a distant sixth place at the 2010 Section 3AA Championships, the Rosemount girls swimming and diving team probably couldn't have imagined they would be swimming as front-runners at the same meet a year later.

But that's exactly where the Irish found themselves during the Section 3AA finals Friday at Richfield Middle School. After qualifying 34 of 37 performances through to the meet's second day, the Irish posted 11 top-three finishes, set two school records and crowned a pair of section champions as they held on 427 1/2-411 over defending champion Woodbury, which outscored Rosemount by nearly 200 points at last year's section meet.

In the process, the Irish qualified seven individual swimmers and all three of their relays for the Class 2A State Meet, which gets under way at 6 p.m. tomorrow night at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis.

The Irish also achieved a program first as they won the True Team section, South Suburban Conference and Section 3AA titles in the same season for the first time ever.

"We knew going into finals that the meet would be very close between us and Woodbury, with Cretin not too far behind. It was a real nail-biter," Rosemount coach Tami Carlson said. "We knew that the girls had to at least keep the position they had or higher -- we couldn't afford to drop in placement in any of the swims."

The Irish started out Friday's finals on a high note, placing second and qualifying for state in the 200 medley relay. The foursome of Beth Wenman, Olivia Johnston, Katrina Orthmann and Teija Normandeau combined on a school-record time of 1:51.97.

Eighth-grader Megan Wenman followed with the first of her four state-qualifying performances as she placed second in the 200 freestyle in 1:55.72. Teammate Claire Tolan was right behind in third, giving the Irish 33 of their 47 points in the event.

Wenman went on to finish second in the 100 freestyle and contribute legs to a pair of state-qualifying relays. She joined Madeline Ryan, Normandeau and Tolan for a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay, then teamed up with Elyse Griffith, Johnston and Beth Wenman for a winning time of 3:39.75 in the 400 freestyle relay.

Beth Wenman, a three-event state qualifier last year, claimed a spot in four events this year. She placed second in the 200 IM and turned in a 1-2 finish along with Griffith in the 100 backstroke. Wenman and Griffith finished 14th and 15th, respectively, in the event at state a season ago.

The Irish will also be represented at state by Tolan in the 500 freestyle, who placed second at the section meet in a personal-best time of 5:17.88, and Johnston in the 100 breaststroke, who earned third with a personal-best time of 1:08.28.

"They came ready to swim at both the prelims and the finals," Carlson said. "The girls worked very hard this season and it showed at sections."