Olivia Caldwell

Olivia Caldwell will be one to watch for Burnsville in the pool this fall.

Can the Burnsville girls swimming make some bigger waves this fall?

The Blaze had two state qualifiers last year and both were seniors. But there is some talent back for the team, starting with Olivia Caldwell.

The junior missed making the Class AA state field last year in the 100 breaststroke by .026 in the Section 3AA finals.

Burnsville opened the season Aug. 29 with a 96-85 South Suburban Conference dual loss at home to Prior Lake. Caldwell won two individual events for the Blaze, claiming the 200 individual medley with a time of 2:18.33 and the 100 butterfly (1:03.06).

Ninth-grader Grace Affeldt also had a win, claiming the diving competition with 198.65 points, while senior Kayla Gant was victorious in the 100 freestyle (57.35).

Burnsville's 200 freestyle relay team of Gant, Caldwell, junior Monica Dinh and seventh-grader Lauren Bachmeier took second (1:48.36).

Individual runner-up finishes for the Blaze went to Gant in the 200 freestyle (2:10.46) and sophomore Ava Piccolinno in the 500 freestyle (5:57.80).

Others back expected to help the Blaze this fall include seniors Natalie Thoresen, Ella Menke, Usmil Azad, Kiah Christopherson and Hannah Anderson.

Burnsville finished sixth in the Section 3AA team standings last year. Eagan won the title, followed by East Ridge, Rosemount, Eastview and Apple Valley. Woodbury was seventh and Park took eighth.

The Blaze was 1-8 in SSC duals last season.

Burnsville also ended up 29th in the state team standings last year with eight points. The Lake Conference claimed the top-four team spots with Edina winning the state crown, followed by Minnetonka, Wayzata and Eden Prairie.

Burnsville is back in SSC dual action Sept. 5 at Lakeville South at 6 p.m. The Blaze will be home Sept. 7 to take on Moorhead in a non-league dual at 9 a.m.

Tom Schardin covers sports for Savage and Prior Lake. He is dependable, sarcastic and always joking around. Tom enjoys running and swimming and is often busy coaching his two kids' sports teams.

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