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John Marshall 1972 state runner-up swimming team will gather to reminisce

Members of the 1972 John Marshall boys swimming and diving team will gather in Rochester on Saturday to celebrate past accomplishments.

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In 1972 the John Marshall boys swimming and diving team took second place at the Minnesota state tournament. Now, 50 years later, members of that historic team are getting together to relive old memories.

“This is the first time we’ve all been together with the trophy, and the coaches, in 50 years,” Andy Wood said.

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Wood was a senior when the Rockets were the state runner-ups. He is organizing the event along with Tom Spicer and Doug Freeman. Spicer and Freeman were team captains that year. They were also some of the top swimmers on the squad along with Wood and Dave Hepper, who was a junior during the 1972 season.

“We’ve seen each other at high school reunions, but we haven’t seen the coaches or anything like that,” Wood said. “So this is kind of a big deal.”

The group will hold the reunion at noon Saturday in Rochester at the Centerstone Plaza Hotel in the Evergreen Room. Wood expects the event to last two or three hours.

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Jerry Pierce, who was a young head coach of the team, will travel from Colorado to attend. Assistant coaches Kent Quackenbush and Rich Ballard will also be on hand.

Wood anticipates about 30 members will gather to recall the fond memories, including one coming from California.

“It’s not just for the class of 1972, but also the underclassmen who were on the team,” Wood said. “I suppose people from about 1970 to about 1974 will be there.”

Cheerleaders from the squad have also been invited as well as meet timers. Back then, timers manually recorded the results of races.

“Everybody will just sort of be catching up with each other,” Wood said.

Spicer will also be giving a presentation in honor of the coaches. Wood said some of the swimmers plan to bring scrapbooks to help with the reminiscing.

“We had quite a rivalry with Mayo of course and then the biggest rivalry was Golden Valley, a Twin Cities team,” Wood said.

JM finished as the state runner-up to Golden Valley during the 1972 state meet while Mayo also placed in the top seven of the team standings.

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“This will be the first time that all of us have been around the trophy since the state meet,” Wood said.

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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