Joe Mau spent the last five years working hard to create a level of success within the Forest Lake boys swimming program that had not been seen ever. Before that it was at Blaine High School.
In both positions, Mau led-teams achieved great success, leading him to multiple Section 7AA Coach of the Year awards.
Hired to teach chemistry at Chanhassen High School, the Chaska/Chanhassen boys head coach position open, Mau heads west into the swimming hotbed.
A program that consistently has been among the top five in state the past half-decade.
It was hard to leave behind the program at Forest Lake that I helped to elevate to Section 7AA champions and field a consistent team to the state meet every year for the past five years. The team was like a family to me and we had developed great relationships with the athletes, parents, and the community. But now that I am teaching chemistry at Chanhassen High School, it became impossible to coach swimming and diving at Forest Lake with the drive and the time to get there. Fortunately, the position opened up at Chan-Chaska and I feel very honored to be the new Storm Hawks head boys swimming and diving coach," Mau said.
The new head coach said Storm Hawk swimmers, divers, and parents have made the transition very easy.
"I couldn’t be more fortunate to work with great coaches and families to help these athletes reach their potentials and goals for the season," he added.
Chaska/Chanhassen is coming off a 2019 State Meet that saw 14 swims qualify for the finals, nine reaching the podium. The Storm Hawks were state runners-up, second to Edina.
Back from that team are Chaska senior Luke Ridler (fifth in 200 and 500 freestyle), Chanhassen junior Evan Bock (seventh in 50 freestyle, ninth in the 100 butterfly), Chaska junior Josiah Dunker (seventh in the backstroke, 15th in the butterfly), and Chanhassen juniors Reese Hodgins and Sam Brennan (200 freestyle relay school record holders).
"The top groups of state and section level swimmers are simply amazing. Their work-ethic, passion towards excellence, camaraderie, and willingness to help each other out is incredible," Mau said. "They are goal-focused and extremely coachable athletes. They are excellent mentors to the younger swimmers and have embraced the new coaching staff with open arms. They truly are leaders in every sense of the word and I have no doubt we will make a huge splash at the end of the season."
Along with new coaches, Chaska/Chanhassen will have a different looking schedule. Outside of St. Louis Park, the Storm Hawks will not compete against Metro West Conference teams.
Instead, they will go up against the likes of Minnetonka (Dec. 17), Breck/Blake (Jan. 9), Eden Prairie (Jan. 14), and Wayzata (Jan. 21) in the home pool, Pioneer Ridge Middle School, and road invites at Grand Rapids (Dec. 27), Buffalo (Jan. 11) and the Maroon and Gold at the University of Minnesota (Jan. 4).
The Section 2AA Meet Feb. 19-21 is once against in the Storm Hawks' pool.
"I put together the boys competitive schedule once I was hired and it is very tough and challenging. But I believe that the best competition brings out a swimmer/diver’s best performance and gives athletes huge motivation to train consistently well, keep their goals at the forefront of their minds, and forces them to practice with a sense of purpose week by week," Mau said. "The Minnetonka dual meet on Dec. 17 will be an excellent test for us. I see a very exciting and competitive dual meet next week, which will give us an opportunity to see exactly where we are at competing against one of the best boys swimming and diving programs in the state."
Chaska/Chanhassen was fifth of 11 teams at the Minnetonka Invitational on Dec. 7, finishing with 257 points.
Edina and Minnetonka were first and second with scores of 587 and 511 followed by Wayzata (305 1/2) and Breck/Blake (303).
The Storm Hawks had a pair of runner-up finishes in Bock in the 50-yard freestyle (21.97 seconds) and Hodgins in the 100-yard freestyle (48.32 seconds).
Bock posted the fastest butterfly split in the 200-yard medley relay in 22.99 seconds. Chaska/Chanhassen was fifth in the event, a time of 1:40.94. Bock was joined by Hodgins, Ridler and Brennan.
Other top finishes came from Dunker in the 200 freestyle (sixth, 1:49.88) and 500 freestyle (sixth, 5:03.67), Hodgins in the 200 individual medley (eighth, 2:06.74), Brennan in the 100-yard butterfly (fifth, 53.84), Louie Currie in the 100-yard butterfly (ninth, 55.60), and Jonah Wetrosky in the 100-yard backstroke (10th, 58.64).
The 200-yard freestyle relay also had a fourth-place time of 1:31.06. Relay members were Currie, Ridler, Hodgins, and Dunker.