Posted Online: Feb. 23, 2013, 9:52 pm

Rocky's Rodriguez medals at state swimming

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By Chris Steele,

The entire season, the Rock Island boys' swimming squad has been about accomplishing something as a team.

At Saturday's IHSA State swim meet, Daniel Rodriguez's pride in an individual accomplishment couldn't be diminished because he shared it with his teammates.

Rodriguez, who qualified for state in four events, finished 12th (:21.82) in the consolation bracket finals in the 50-yard freestyle.

"It means a lot to go out and represent your hometown,'' Rodriguez said. "It means a lot looking down to the end of the lane, and seeing your friends and your teammates cheering for you.''

Mundelein's Connor Black won the state title in :19.95 a day after setting the state record in the 50 free prelims with a 19.80.

Black also set the national record in the 100 butterfly at 46.71.

New Trier won the Illinois team title for the third consecutive season, and Rock Island finished 46th.

With Rodriguez's former teammate, Charles Holliday. placing fifth last year, Rocky now boasts back-to-back state medalists for the first time since 1994, when Clint Anderson repeated a 500 free medal and also finished sixth in the 200 free.

Yet, Rock Island coach Grant Bramer sees an even brighter future for the sectional and Western Big 6 Conference champs.

"For the most part we have a very young team,'' Bramer said. "George Pappas and Josh Fleming have a very promising future. We have some very promising freshmen that are going to be doing some damage in the next year or two as well.''