Rockets go from worst to first
incredible season; Rochester teams grab top three spots
By Sarah Doty
Rochester John Marshall coach Paul Bachman always brings an extra pair of clothes with him to meets on the off-chance that he ends up in the pool. On Saturday, he needed those clothes as his Rockets girls swimming and diving team pushed him in following its Section One, Class AA championship.
But it hasn’t always been this way.
"I honestly can’t even remember the last time (JM) was section champs," said Bachman while drying off. "I started out doing this in 2000, and we were 0-10 and at the bottom. Even last year, you look at where we finished in this meet, and we were at the bottom. So we are another worst-to-first story. We had a really good year this year."
The undefeated Rockets will take that.
They jumped to an early lead Saturday and never looked back, easily taking the crown with a team score of 402 points.
But the other two Rochester teams didn’t go down without a fight, and Med City teams eventually swept the top three spots, with Century finishing second at 313, and Mayo third at 294.
"It’s great to see the Rochester teams in the top three," said Century coach Dale Magnuson, his voice cracking from hours of cheering. "I mean, we are a big swimming community, and it’s nice to see all three schools right up on top."
The Rochester teams set the pace of the meet with the first event when Century’s 200-yard medley relay team of Kathleen VanDeVoorde, Jennifer Strom, Claire Anderson and Gretchen Heidorn set a meet record of 1:48.64. Mayo followed just a second behind at 1:49.89, and John Marshall was at 1:50.71.
It was that kind of a day.
"The time (Mayo’s) Erin (Caflish) swam today would have won state last year, and that was second place (today)," said Spartans coach Sandy Jahnke.
Records were broken, and although only the top two finishers of each event are guaranteed to advance, dozens more will appear at state after swimming fast enough to beat the state qualifying time.
"Wow," said Magnuson about Saturday’s races. "They swam amazing. They swam really well Thursday, but they swam even better tonight."
Page C6:Section swimming results