Minnetonka hasn't won a girls' swimming and diving state title since 1976.
The Skippers have given themselves a chance to change that this year.
The Skippers won the Section 6AA meet last week, qualifying at least one individual in each event and all three relays for the state meet. On Friday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center, the Skippers put together a strong performance in the Class 2A preliminaries -- advancing nine individuals and all three relays to Saturday's championship finals.
"We definitely have a shot," Minnetonka coach Dan Berve said. "Our plan at the section meet was to qualify as many as we could to create an exciting team atmosphere here at the state meet."
Berve said the Skippers' runner-up finish at last year's state meet helped his team.
"That finish was a big improvement over the previous year," Berve said of the Skippers' 10th-place finish in 2010. "It helped the kids believe they were capable of [competing]."
The Skippers were led by senior Amelia Schilling, who had the top qualifying time in the 500 freestyle and the fourth-best qualifying time in the 200 freestyle. Schilling also swam on the Skippers' 200 medley relay team.
"She's had a great senior year. She's a captain for us," Berve said. "We've put her all over and she has responded well wherever we put her."
Schilling finished fourth in 500 freestyle and sixth in the 200 freestyle at last year's state meet.
Two-time defending champion Edina qualified eight individuals and three relays for the finals.
Chanhassen sophomore Kaia Grobe, the defending champion in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle, had the top qualifying time in each event.Class 1A preliminaries
Defending Class 1A champion Sartell-St. Stephen advanced four individuals and all three relays to Saturday's finals.
Leading the Sabres was senior Ellen Bloom, the defending champion in the 200 individual medley and the 100 backstroke. Bloom had the top time in the 200 IM preliminaries and the second-best time in the 100 backstroke preliminaries.
Bloom, who has signed a letter of intent to swim for the Gophers, also swam a leg on the Sabres' 200 medley relay and 400 relay teams.
Satell-St. Stephen senior Marisa Wood, the three-time defending champion in the 200 freestyle and the five-time defending champion in the 500 freestyle, did not compete for the Sabres this fall because of an illness.
"We knew we had big shoes to fill," Sabres coach David Olson said. "Our underclassmen stepped up. Their attitudes have been stellar. They knew they had to work hard and didn't back off one inch."
Northfield, which finished second last year, advanced seven individuals and three relays to the finals. Visitation, which was fourth last year, advanced six individuals and two relays.
Grand Rapids junior Solveig Viren had the top qualifying time in the 50 freestyle (23.59) and the 100 freestyle (51.13). At last year's meet, Viren finished third in the 50 freestyle and second in the 100. In the 50 freestyle, defending champion Danielle Nack of Mankato West had the second-best qualifying time (23.70).A breaststroke record
Albert Lea freshman Lindsey Horejsi set a state meet record in the 100 breaststroke. Horejsi, runner-up in the event in 2011, won her heat in 1 minute, .43 seconds - beating the Class 1A record of 1:04.31 (set in 2008 by Visitation's Olivia McNeely) and overall state record of 1:01.08 (set in 2010 by Champlin Park's Abby Duncan).
Horejsi also recorded the third-fastest qualifying time in the 50 freestyle (23.74).Diving
Maple Grove senior Lexi Tenenbaum, who finished fourth last year, had the top score in the 2A preliminaries (312.95). Tenenbaum has signed to compete for the Gophers. Edina senior Yasmeen Almog, who finished fifth last year, was second with a 297.05.
In Class 1A diving, Northfield sophomore Bailey Dupay has the top score (279.75) heading into the finals. Dupay won the event last year with a score of 405.50.
Albert Lea senior Karli Kriewall, who finished third last year, is second at 260.15.