The Prior Lake boys swimming team is off to a strong start in the pool.
The Lakers opened the season with a 104-80 win at Shakopee in South Suburban Conference dual action Dec. 6 and followed dunking the field at their own seven-team invitational Dec. 7.
Prior Lake won with 512 points, which was well ahead of runner-up Duluth East (456). Shakopee was third (366) ahead of Farmington (352), Burnsville (126), Lakeville South (33) and Lakeville North (11).
Last winter, Prior Lake finished 16th in the Class AA state team standings, but had an individual champion in then-senior Sean Dwyer. The Lakers have had at least one individual champ three times in the last six years.
Dwyer won the 500 freestyle last winter and also in 2018. PJ Lenz won diving in 2018 and Marshall Heskin claimed the 100 butterfly crown in 2014.
Prior was was seventh in the state team standings in 2018. The team has been in the top 10 four of the last six seasons with its best finish being fourth in 2016.
Can the Lakers crack the top 10 again this winter?
Beating the Shakopee, the defending SSC champions, in both the dual meet and at the invite is a good sign. The Lakers return four swimmers with state experience; seniors Jaden Chant and Owen Mattila and juniors Gunnar Anderson and Tyler Buss. All four were on state relays last year.
At its own invite, Prior Lake won two of the three relays. Mattila, Chant, Buss and junior Connor Thayer won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:33.66, while Mattila, Chant, Buss and Anderson claimed the 400 freestyle (3:25.40).
Anderson, junior Nicholas Archambault, sophomore Adam Mellott and eighth-grader Kaiden Cheung ended up third in the 200 medley relay (1:47.10).
Mattila and Anderson were second and third, respectively in the 100 butterfly with a times of 57.70 and 58.86. Buss was runner-up in the 500 freestyle (5:17.38) and fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:55.83).
Chant was third in both the 200 freestyle (1:55.29) and the 100 freestyle (51.25). Anderson took third in the 100 backstroke (1:03.88), while Mattila was third in the 50 freestyle (23.37).
Cheung was fifth in the 200 individual medley (2:12.09) and fourth in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.23) for the Lakers. Ninth-grader Blake Viger was fourth in the 500 freestyle (5:22.98), while seventh-grader Reese Haycraft was sixth (5:35.31).
Junior Nicholas Wiedemann took fourth in the 100 backstroke (1:04.93), while ninth-grader Owen Dwyer was fifth in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.78)
In diving, Blake Wallen was fourth (254.45 points) for Prior Lake, and James Haas was sixth (243.80).
Other finishes for Prior Lake included:
- Dwyer in the 200 freestyle (9th, 2:01.50)
- Thayer in the 200 individual medley (6th, 2:15.03) and the 100 freestyle (7th, 54.57)
- Mellott in the 50 freestyle (7th, 24.92)
- Junior Jackson Mishuk in the 100 backstroke (6th, 1:05.65)
- Eighth-grader Jack Clay in the 100 backstroke (7th, 1:05.80)
In the dual with Shakopee, Prior Lake's depth led the way. The Lakers won just four events, but were runner-up in 11 of 12.
Winning for Prior Lake was the 200 freestyle relay team of Mattila, Buss, Anderson and Thayer (1:34.89). Junior Nicholas Archambault won the 100 backstroke (1:00.52), while Buss was tops in the 100 breaststroke (1:04.19) and Mattila claimed the 200 freestyle (1:54.79).
Prior Lake is back in the pool Dec. 13 in SSC dual action versus Farmington at 6 p.m The Lakers are at Eagan in a league dual Dec. 20 at 6 p.m.
Prior Lake ends 2019 in the Up North Invitational in Grand Rapids Dec. 27.