It was a chaotic final day of the State Class AA Girls Swimming and Diving Meet Nov. 17 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Minnetonka’s apparent state championship trophy was taken away because the Minnesota State High School League ruled that the Skippers had violations involving relay team entries.
As a result, Minnetonka was disqualified in all three relays and dropped from first to fourth.
Eden Prairie was third with 220 points and finished behind champion Edina (228) and runner-up Wayzata (222). Fourth-place Minnetonka had 200.5 points.
Eden Prairie head coach Kelly Boston and her team had already left the U of M Aquatic Center before the rule violations altered the final standings.
Coach Boston felt bad for the Minnetonka team and its coaching staff, but she wanted to focus on how well her swimmers performed against strong state competition.
“We were right there at the end of the state meet battling for a high finish,” said Boston. “I thought our girls did a great job.
“It was super tough to qualify for the final 16 spots in each event. Times were so much better than a year ago and that is a compliment to the Minnesota high school swimming program.
“We won the 200-yard freestyle relay with a school-record time and broke another school record while placing second in the 400 freestyle relay.”
Eden Prairie’s state championship 200 freestyle relay team consisted of Sarah Coolidge, Marla Albanese, Ellie Suek and Kira Zubar. The Eagles’ school-record time was 1 minute, 35.65 seconds.
“Everything clicked for our 200 freestyle relay,” said Boston. “Coolidge got us off to a great start before Albanese swam one of her fastest legs of the season.
“And then Suek and Zubar came through with great swims.”
The Eagles placed second in the 400 freestyle (3:27.83) with a cast of Suek, Zubar, Bre Thorne and Albanese.
Eden Prairie’s 200 medley relay of Rachel Baker, Erin Russoniello, Thorne and Coolidge finished fourth (1:46.83).
Thorne, a ninth-grader brought home two silver medals from state. She was second in the 100 butterfly (54.73) and runner up in the 100 backstroke (56.06).
Zubar was second in the 500 freestyle (4:53.10) and Suek finished sixth in that event (5:03.27).
Eden Prairie had several swimmers advance to the state consolation finals. Coolidge finished ninth in the 100 backstroke and 12th in the 100 butterfly.
In the 100 breaststroke, Jennie Novak placed 13th and Russoniello was 14th.
The future looks bright for the Eden Prairie girls swimming program.
“We lose only one senior Ellie Suek off this year’s state meet team but that will be a big loss,” said coach Boston. “But we return many experienced and talented swimmers next season.”