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Irish third at True Team State

The Rosemount swimming and diving team went into Saturday's Class 2A True Team State Meet looking to match the program-best third-place finishes that were achieved by the 2009 and 2010 teams.

The Irish did just that, scoring 1,888.5 points at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center to easily finish ahead of fourth-place Stillwater and fifth-place Edina. They almost moved up another spot, coming within 81 points of runner-up Minnetonka (1,969.5) as top-ranked Eden Prairie claimed the state title with 2,157 points.

"It was a great meet for us. We scored the meet out beforehand and it was going to be very close for third between us, Edina and Stillwater," said Rosemount head coach Patti Wegner, whose team has qualified for the True Team State meet in six of the last seven years. "We ended up distancing ourselves a little bit from them and even challenged Minnetonka for second. I am very happy about that."

The Irish padded their point total with first-place finishes from the medley relay and Jacob Stern in the 100 breaststroke, eight events that reached state cut-off times and numerous top-10 finishes and personal record swims.

"The guys swam great on a day and a half of rest, and I think they were all really happy with the results, too," Wegner said. "It seemed like they were almost surprised at how fast they swam."

The Irish got off to a great start when the 200 medley relay foursome of seniors Braden McCormack, Luke Dowell, Conor Manning and Stern placed first in a meet-record 1 minute, 37.54 seconds.

Stern went on to place fifth in the 200 individual medley, one spot ahead of teammate Shelton Hatlen in sixth, and second as part of the 200 freestyle relay along with Hatlen, Manning and Tyler Lawson. He capped off the meet by winning the 100 breaststroke in 59.37 seconds.

Hatlen added a fourth-place swim in the 100 freestyle and joined Andrew Urness, Braden McCormack and Luke Dowell for a fourth-place showing in the 400 freestyle relay.

Urness also placed eighth in both the 500 freestyle and 200 freestyle.

Braden McCormack placed third in the 100 backstroke and Matthew McCormack was close behind in sixth. Matthew McCormack also turned in an 11th-place finish in the 100 butterfly, an event Dowell finished in fifth place, while Braden McCormack gave the Irish two in the top 10 in the 100 freestyle with a 10th-place effort.

The Irish placed three in the top 10 in the 1-meter dive. Daniel Monaghan led the way with a third-place score of 352.20, followed by Gareth Estabrook in ninth and Jim Peterson in 10th.

Manning and Dowell placed 7th and 11th, respectively, in the 50 freestyle, and Lawson and Sam Stern came in 13th and 14th in the 100 breaststroke.

The Irish take on Lakeville North, Eastview and Prior Lake in South Suburban Conference dual meets the next three Fridays before they begin preparing for the Section 3AA Championships. They have won four straight section titles dating back to 2008.

"If we win those we win the conference," Wegner said. "Our seniors will hope to finish off their swimming careers undefeated in four years."