By Sunday night, girls swim and dive coach Kelly Boston had read enough of her charges’ goal sheets to know that they were on the same page.
“I think we can finish in the top three at state,” said Boston, “and my team is thinking the same thing.”
Eden Prairie finished fourth at last year’s state meet, counting 178.5 team points. Third-place Wayzata finished 7 1/2 points ahead at 186.
“Wayzata lost more than we did,” said Boston. “We return everyone off last year’s state team except for Grace (Grace Witherspoon).”
To be fair, Witherspoon swam the anchor on three top-five relays.
“If you’re going to do well at state,” agreed Boston, “your relays are going to have to do well at state.
“We lose Grace,” she added, “but I’d be surprised if we don’t get all three back to finals (top eight).”
Relays aside, Eden Prairie’s returning strength is at backstroke where Chloe Skogg and Katelyn Pennell return as first- and second-place finishers (Kessel Cripe placed 25th).
“They’re super good friends and they love training together,” said Boston. “That’s a great situation.”
Eden Prairie is also strong at breaststroke, where Kylie Rydland returns as a third-place finisher.
“She’s going to want to win it this year,” said Boston.
Esmae O’Gorman also returns in the breaststroke with state-meet experience.
Faith Larson and Grace Logue return as Eden Prairie’s fastest sprinters. Larsen clocked the seventh fastest 50-yard freestyle at last year’s state meet. Louge finished 14th.
Larsen placed 13th in the 100 freestyle.
Adrienne Peterson, 20th at state last year, returns as Eden Prairie’s most accomplished distance swimmer. She’s expected to be pushed by freshman Merit Miller.
Mallory Miller returns as Eden Prairie’s fastest flyer (butterfly).
Eden Prairie advanced four swims (Rydland, Peterson, Mallory Miller and Skogg) to the state meet’s 200-yard individual medley event.
“We’re pretty versatile,” said Boston.
Briana Thornton returns as a state-meet diver. Teammate Mikaylie Sosnowski could have been there too if weren’t for an injury.
Lake teams finished one (Edina), two (Minnetonka), three (Wayzata) and four (Eden Prairie) at last year’s state meet.
Question: Is a repeat performance possible this year?
“I don’t know who everyone returns,” said Boston, “and I don’t know who did what during the club season.”
“It’s hard to say what’s going to happen at the end of the season,” said Boston. “One year, I had a breaststroker start the season at 13 (1:13) and finish at 1:07.”
So, the plan is improve as the season goes on?
“That’s always the plan,” laughs Boston.
Eden Prairie’s season opens Thursday (today) with a home meet against Chanhassen.