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2011-12 Winter Preview: Many top swimmers returning to East Ridge this winter

This offseason, East Ridge hired Steve Webb as its new head boys swimming and diving coach.

Webb, a Woodbury resident who currently serves as an assistant coach for Woodbury's South East Metro Sharks club swim team and is the head girls swim coach at Mounds View High School, replaces Luke Weyandt, who resigned in order to attend graduate school at Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter. Weyandt was the boys swimming Section 4AA Coach of the Year Coach of the Year last winter.

As a collegiate swimmer, Webb broke two school records (1000 free, 1650 free) at St. Louis University in his freshman year. After one season, he transferred to Florida State and swam for the Seminoles graduating with degrees in Finance, Applied Economics and Political Science.

Last season, a handful of the Raptors' top swimmers decided not to swim for the high school team and instead swam for clubs. Webb, 26, said a few very strong swimmers, like 2009 All-State swimmer Austin Davidson, would be back on the high school team this season, however.

Last winter, East Ridge ended its season at the Class AA state meet. The Raptors' 200-yard medley relay team of freshman Sam Scholz, junior Justin Kong, junior Nate Rabideaux and senior Slate Barry, represented the school at the state meet, taking 20th place overall in the event with a time of 1:43.58 in the preliminary round. From that relay team, only Barry, a 2011 graduate, won't be back. The Raptors relay team qualified for state after its state-qualifying finish at the Section 4AA swimming and diving championships. As a team, East Ridge finished in third place in its first Section 4AA meet last year with a 249.5 point total, edging Woodbury, which took fourth place with 202.5 points. Mounds View won the Section 4AA championship with 508 points, topping host Stillwater, which finished in second with 488 points.

This winter, East Ridge opens its season on Wednesday, Dec. 7, with the Woodbury Invitational. Then, it will compete in the annual Suburban East Conference relays on Thursday, Dec. 8, at Stillwater Junior High School.