Section 2AA already boasted top-10 programs in Lake Conference champion Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, South Suburban Conference champion Prior Lake, Shakopee, and perennial Metro West Conference champion Chanhassen.
So, why not add Edina, the four-time defending Class AA state girls swimming and diving champions?
In a field that deep, qualifying for the sections finals was an accomplishment in its own. For five Chaska swimmers, three others on relays, the Section 2AA finals on Nov. 12 was like competing against some of the state's best swimmers.
The section is sending nine swimmers to state in the 200-yard freestyle, eight in the 50-yard freestyle, 10 in the 100-yard breaststroke. A total of 59 individual swims and 16 relay teams qualified from the Hidden Oaks Middle School pool in Prior Lake.
Chaska, seventh with 134 points, had four swims in championship heats, including a top finish of sixth place from junior Gretta Hansen in the 100-yard backstroke. Her time of 1:00.07 was a quarter-of-a-second faster than her preliminary time.
Hansen was also 12th in the 200 individual medley in 2:13.46, just off her season-best effort of 2:13.19 in the preliminaries.
Seniors Ava Kallop and Eliza Prescher finished off their Hawk careers with solid efforts. Kallop was 10th overall, second in the consolation finals of the 100-yard butterfly, in 1:00.28. Prescher dropped a second from her preliminary time in the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:12.61 for 16th place.
Eighth graders Sophie Dahl and Molly Blahoski, in their section debuts, placed 10th and 15th in the 100-yard backstroke, with season-best times, in 1:00.27 and 1:02.84, respectively.
Chaska's third competing senior at sections, Elsie McCaghy, just missed the 100-yard backstroke finals, placing 19th in 1:03.94.
The Hawks were sixth in the 200-yard medley relay, a time of 1:54.80 from Dahl, Prescher, Kallop, and junior Addy Ross.
The teams of Hansen, eighth grader Courtney Rehbein, Ross, and junior Kiana Tardia in the 200-yard freestyle relay (1:43.68), and Dahl, Hansen, Rehbein, and Tardia in the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:45.80) were seventh in each race.
DIVER TO STATE
Chaska will be represented at the 2021 Class AA State Meet by junior diver Brynn Vangen.
The Hawks had two divers in the top-nine in Vangen and freshman Madison Edwards, who totaled 303.85 points.
Vangen, in her second varsity season, had a third-place score of 264.55 through eight dives, maintaining that position with a total score of 358.15 in the 11-dive sheet.
Vangen is the first state-qualifying diver from Chaska since Addy Buska in 2017.
The Class AA diving preliminaries begin at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 18, at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota. The competition features 32 divers; 24 will advance to the semifinals after four drives, while the top 16 reach the Saturday finals through eight dives.