Boys’ Swim and Dive win State despite midseason injury plague

Alex Stenman, page editor

On March 1st and 2nd, Varsity Boys’ Swim & Dive team placed first in the Minnesota High School Swimming and Diving State Tournament, their first title in nearly ten years. After victories in dual meets against rivals Minnetonka and Eden Prairie earlier in the season, and a victory at the True Team State meet in January, Edina entered the State Tournament as a top seed and a major championship contender. The team confirmed expectations and won the title with 268 total points in the tournament, beating out second place Chaska/Chanhassen’s 205. This is the team’s first title since winning three consecutive titles in the 2008-2010 swimming seasons.

The team’s placement at the state tournament comes off of a season riddled with injuries for many Hornet swimmers. Standout senior swimmers Peter Larson and Andrew Gray both missed significant practice time during the season due to injuries. Several junior swimmers missed a majority of the season as well.

Junior Thomas Leibert, a swimmer on the team, says that these injuries affected the team less than anticipated thanks to a multitude of other players finding success and relieving the team pressure created in their absence.

“While [swimming] does involve getting yourself hyped up for individual races, you also have to be ready for team relays as well. It’s really important to not only get excited for yourself but also be there to step up and help out your team when they need it. Balancing competitiveness and team synergy is really important,” Leibert said.

Both Larson and Gray returned healthy for the tournament and ready to compete. Gray won the 200m freestyle race and placed second in the 100m butterfly, while Larson won gold in 50m and 100m. Both athletes and other teammates combined for elite winning performances in the 200m relay (with Charlie Webb and Max Dow) and the 400m relay (Gabe Baker and Keegan Duffy) to give Edina enough points for the championship.

Despite strong performances from seniors helping push the swimming and diving team to a championship, the future is bright for the team due to the rising stars of the team stepping up and making statements at meets in their absence.