Rosemount hits jackpot at section swimming

Irish, Farmington will be represented at state next week

It wasn’t so much a question of whether Rosemount would win the Section 3AA girls swimming and diving championship. First, the Irish were heavily favored, and second, the section meet format emphasizes getting teams and individuals through to the state meet.

On that second matter, the Irish succeeded spectacularly. They have 11 individual qualifiers and three relays in next week’s state meet, which coach Tami Carlson said she believes is a school record. Rosemount has state qualifiers in all but one event.

“Some of our girls didn’t have to taper for the section meet, but the ones who did taper did a great job there,” Carlson said. “We thought our eighth-grader, Cassandra Hutchins, would taper well, and she qualified for state in the 100 free(style).”

Rosemount sophomore Megan Wenman is a state medal contender in the 200- and 100-yard freestyle races. She won the 200 freestyle at the Section 3AA meet Nov. 8 in Richfield in 1 minute, 51.12 seconds and has the fourth-fastest seed time in that event at state. Wenman is the No. 5 seed in the 100 freestyle after winning the Section 3AA race in 51.12. But she might have more in the tank, particularly in the 100 freestyle, where she was second in the 2012 Class AA meet.

The Irish also are medal contenders in the 400 freestyle relay, where they’re seeded fifth after Grace Herron, Katie Garrity, Olivia Johnston and Wenman won the section championship in 3:32.38.

Michelle Simms, Johnston, Abby Tesch and Hutchins took second in the 200 medley relay in 1:49.36, a time that was about 2.5 seconds below the state cutoff.

Tesch was second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:54.35 as Rosemount swimmers swept the top two places at the section meet. Tesch also advanced in the 100 butterfly by taking third in 58.61 and beating the state qualifying standard.

Johnston is section champion in the 200 individual medley in 2:06.52 and is the No. 5 seed at state. Garrity was third in 2:09.08, a time that beat the state cutoff.

Johnston also placed second in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.19.

Herron won the 50 freestyle and 100 butterfly at the Section 3AA meet. She is the No. 8 seed in the 50 freestyle at 24.26 seconds and the seventh seed in the butterfly at 57.16.

Senior Sawyer Murray was third in diving with 338.15 points and will move on to state. Hutchins advanced in the 100 freestyle by taking second to Wenman in 54.13.

Garrity was Section 3AA champion in the 500 freestyle at 5:04.34 and is the No. 4 seed in the event at state.

Rosemount is the No. 8 seed in the 200 freestyle relay. Herron, Garrity, Hutchins and Wenman won the event at the section meet in 1:38.29.

The Irish breezed to the Section 3AA championship with 478.5 points, almost 150 ahead of Woodbury, the runner-up. They will try to improve on last year’s 13th-place finish at state.

The state meet will begin Monday with diving preliminaries at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Swimming preliminaries are Tuesday, with swimming and diving finals scheduled Wednesday. All Class AA competition begins at 6 p.m.

This year’s schedule puts a few more days between the section and state meets. Carlson said she didn’t think that would be a problem for her top swimmers, who were not going to taper until after the section meet anyway. The bigger question would be how it affects swimmers who needed to taper for their section meets and then have to prepare for a state meet almost two weeks later.

Farmington swimmers qualified for the state meet in seven events after the Tigers finished third at the Section 1AA meet last week in Rochester.

Among the qualifiers was senior Kaitlyn O’Reilly, who won the 200 individual medley in a section-record 2:05.03 and is the No. 2 seed at state in that event, behind only Lakeville South’s Brianna Alexander.

O’Reilly also advanced in the 100 backstroke, taking third in the section finals in 57.56. She’s the seventh seed in that event at state.

Farmington junior Kristen Kracke made it through in the 50 freestyle, taking second in 24.51. She also reached state in the 100 freestyle with a third-place time of 53.38 at sections. Chelsea Gehrke finished third in the 100 butterfly in 58.54 but beat the state qualifying standard by more than one second.

Farmington teams also reached state in two relays. Kracke, O’Reilly, Gehrke and Cora Ruzicka were second in the 200 medley relay at sections in 1:49.02. The same four individuals were second in the 200 freestyle relay in 1:38.48.