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Swimming: Irish capture fifth straight True Team championship

The Irish won their fifth Section 3AA True Team Championship.

Thirty-one top-10 finishes. Six runner-up finishes. Four event championships.

Not a bad day's work at the Section 3AA True Team Championships for the Rosemount swimming and diving team, especially considering head coach Patti Wegner says her team is training through the regular season, rather than resting up between meets.

The Irish still managed to separate themselves from the rest of the seven-team field, scoring 1,260 points in action at Kenwood Trail Middle School en route to their fifth straight True Team title. They advance to Saturday's Class 2A True Team State Meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center, the site of last year's fourth-place finish.

"It was a fast meet and there were some really fast times posted by other teams and I am happy that our guys stepped it up and swam their best despite not resting for this meet," Wegner said. "I am excited to see how they can do at the championships when we give them a little time to recover before the meet."

The decision to concentrate on training throughout the season was made by the Irish swimmers after last year's seventh-place finish at the state meet.

"The guys kept telling me that they want to do well at the end of the season, so we have been training very hard and haven't been taking any time off before meets," Wegner said. "At some of our meets we have even been having a practice before the meet."

The work paid off on Saturday. The Irish opened the meet by winning the 200 medley relay -- and placing three relays in the top 10 in the event -- and led the rest of the way as they outscored runner-up Lakeville North by 194 points.

Seniors Braden McCormack, Jacob Stern, Luke Dowell and Conor Manning won the 200 medley in 1:38.53, one of the fastest times in the state this season. Andrew Urness followed with a second-place finish in the 200 freestyle and Nick Jeffrey (7th) and Cody Sedbrook (8th) also cracked the top 10. Urness also earned runner-up honors in the 500 freestyle, while Sedbrook took sixth in the event.

Sheldon Hatlen and Stern then supplied a 2-3 showing in the 200 individual medley and Manning and Dowell came in second and third in the 50 freestyle. Dowell went on to earn second place in the 100 butterfly (teammates Tyler Lawson and Matt McCormack came in 8th and 9th, respectively) and Hatlen came in third in the 100 freestyle, three spots ahead of teammate Braden McCormack.

McCormack followed that up with a second-place time of 55.41 in the 100 backstroke (Matthew McCormack was 5th and Jeffrey 8th), then Stern won the 100 breaststroke in 1:00.87 (Lawson was 3rd and Sam Stern 4th).

Dan Monaghan added a third-place finish in the 1-meter dive. Teammate Gareth Estabrook placed eighth.

The Irish completed the relay sweep with a 1-5-10 finish in both the 200 and 400 freestyle relays. Hatlen, Stern, Lawson and Manning combined on a winning time of 1:31.34 in the 200 freestyle relay, then Hatlen, Urness, Braden McCormack and Dowell closed out the meet with a winning season-best time of 3:20.44 in the 400 freestyle relay.