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Moving On: Wertman Leaves Mount Rainier Program for Albuquerque Academy -- June 23, 2005

DES MOINES, Wash., USA, June 23. AFTER molding the Mount Rainier High School program into a state power, coach Rick Wertman is leaving the school for a new challenge. The 55-year-old recently accepted the position of aquatics director at the Albuquerque Academy Natatorium in New Mexico. Wertman’s move was reported in the Seattle Times.

The coach of boys’ team at Mount Rainier for the past 16 years, Wertman has led the Rams to six state championships in the 3A/2A classification. Mount Rainier has won the last three state championships and has finished in the top-four on 15 occasions. Wertman has also coached the girls’ team for the last two years.

In moving to the Albuquerque Academy, Wertman will be asked to expand the programs offered by the pool and will also be charged with building a top-flight swim club. Wertman is also hoping to be a member of the high-school coaching staff, a unit that has generated 25 New Mexico championships.

"I don't think you can replace him," said Darren Rawie, Mount Rainier athletic director. "(Wertman) has built an incredibly powerful program that certainly rivals anything we've seen in this area."