The Minnetonka boys’ swimming and diving team came together in a group hug near the edge of the pool after winning the Class 2A boys’ state title. Then, coaches and captains were playfully pushed into the water in celebration.
Just before he made the splash, senior Sam Schilling had shed a few tears after the award ceremony, reflecting on the group of seniors that has been together for five or six seasons. The Skippers won their first title since 2011 with 340 points, after finishing as the runner-up the past two years. Last year’s winner, Eden Prairie, finished second with 274 points, followed by Chanhassen (155), Stillwater (140) and Shakopee (122.5).
“We’ve never won a state championship, so this is an incredible feeling,” Schilling said.
He was part of two relay teams that broke state records finals Saturday at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota: The 200-yard medley relay (1:29.20) and the 400 freestyle relay (3:01.59). He also won the 100 freestyle (44.20) after setting the state record of 44.02 in the prelims.
The Skippers took first place in five events. Senior Corey Lau defended his title in the 100 breaststroke (55.04). Erik Gessner, Lau and John Shelstad swam with Schilling in the 200 freestyle relay. Shelstad, Joe Hanson, Thomas Pederson and Schilling swam the 400 freestyle relay.
Schilling, who plans to swim at the University of Virginia next year, swam the anchor leg of the 200 medley relay, then came back to win the next event, the 200 freestyle. His 1:36.92 was just over the state record he set in the prelims (1:35.82). Skippers seniors took the top three spots in that event, with Hanson (1:39.96) and Pederson (1:40.20).
“It’s an incredibly fast meet,” Skippers coach Dan Berve said. “To be part of that was a fun, fun experience for us.”
Withers wins again
Eden Prairie junior Joshua Withers is 3-for-3 in the 100 butterfly. He broke the 2A record Saturday with a time of 48.25 seconds, a personal best. He was very close to the state record, which had been on his mind all season.
“Still, getting up and racing and dropping your best time, I couldn’t ask for more,” he said.
Hastings diver wins
Vova Tipler, a Hastings junior, won the Class 2A diving title with a score of 494.40, beating the closest opponent by more than 75 points.