By every measure, the Rosemount girls’ swimming and diving team already has had a successful 2015 campaign.
The team record in dual meets was 5-0 as of Monday. The Irish also won the Class 2A, Section 3 True Team meet Oct. 3. They’re ranked No. 5 in the Class 2A coaches’ poll.
They have individuals ranked in the top 10 for their respective events, and two freestyle relay teams also are rated among the state’s best.
But it hasn’t been that simple, senior co-captain Megan Wenman said.
The Irish lost a slew of seniors from last season’s team, which had gone undefeated in duals as well as won the South Suburban Conference and the section meet. This fall, it’s been a lot of feeling out, and a lot of hard work.
“It’s been great so far,” Wenman said, “but we’ve had to work really, really hard for all we’ve done.”
Added fellow captain Linde Toenges, “It’s been a lot harder than last year.”
And that much more rewarding, the Irish swimmers say.
As the season races to its conclusion in the coming weeks, the Rosemount girls know that everything that comes to them will be earned.
Coach Jake Kemma still had high expectations for his team entering this season — and so did his athletes. He didn’t see any reason his team couldn’t reach the same levels of a year ago; the Irish finished ninth at the state meet, with Wenman leading the way with top-10 finishes in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle.
Kemma just knew it would take a little while for the team to come together.
Surprisingly, that happened quickly. Kemma credits a lot of that to his four captains: seniors Wenman, Toenges, Carissa Boerboom and Amanda O’Brien.
“Our seniors this year really set a precedent that we still expect to win,” the coach said, “that we should strive to be just as good as last year, even with losing those seniors.”
“It’s been a unique dynamic,” Wenman said, “just getting used to a lot of the freshmen and growing as a team. But obviously it’s been a really good one with what we’ve been able to get done.”
It speaks to the type of girls on the team, O’Brien said, as even those less experienced — or playing smaller roles — have found niches on the team to add support. She said it became obvious with the team’s Sept. 10 victory over Prior Lake. The team, from that point on, really started to gel.
“In the pool and out of the pool, we get along really well,” O’Brien said. “We’re always helping each other out and being supportive no matter what.”
The focus now, as it has been all season, is on the final run leading up to the state meet. The Section 3 meet begins Nov. 11. State is a week later.
For now, Kemma said swimmers will work on tapering, while also continuing their winning run. The seniors say the focus is on the state meet, but success there will come the same way it has all season: hard work, and doing it together.
“The end of the season is really about us coming together as a team,” Toenges said. “We’ve made it this far, and us supporting one another can go a long way. It’s about being here and supporting each other.”