Boys swimming and diving: Ponies to utilize depth at True Team state

 

A consistent participant and steady performer in the True Team state meet since its inception, the Stillwater boys’ swimming and diving team is looking for more of the same on Saturday at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

This will be the eighth state appearance for the Ponies, who easily won last weekend’s True Team Section 4AA title, in the nine-year history of the popular event. Stillwater has finished as high as third in 2008, but never lower than seventh and that is where the fifth-ranked Ponies (5-2 SEC, 5-2) are hoping to find themselves again this year.

Eden Prairie is considered a heavy favorite at this event with Minnetonka and Edina the leading contenders to join the Eagles in the top three. Stillwater joins the list of fellow state qualifiers which also includes: St. Michael-Albertville, Lakeville South, Wayzata, Rosemount, Farmington, Maple Grove, Anoka, Bloomington Jefferson.

“I’d like to get in the top five to seven in that meet over there,” Ponies coach Brian Luke said. “After Eden Prairie, which is way out there, Minnetonka and Edina, then it’s a crapshoot after that with about three or four teams so we’ll see if we can come up with something.”

The Ponies finished fourth at True Team state a year ago, but graduated nine seniors from that squad — including several three- and four-year contributors. Even more than more years, this team relies on depth and balance.

“We’re not going to be real flashy at the top, but we know that, so our third and fourth people have to be in the top half,” Luke said.

Regardless of what the scores say at the end of the night, this remains a favorite for the veteran coach and the athletes.

“I just love this meet,” Luke said. “This is one of the reasons we started the process of getting this going 15 years ago for the teams that might get left out in the cold and everybody kind of ignores them (at the MSHSL state meet. The Eden Prairies and Minnetonkas will do well in both, but you also get the Anokas and Farmingtons and Lakeville Souths that maybe won’t be a real top shelf team at (MSHSL state) but have a chance to represent their section and it is a state-wide meet. It should be fun. Anytime you go to the U it’s fun.”

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