Sabers Relay

Sophomores Haley Zelen and Amelie Girard, eighth-grader Arianna Zelen and ninth-grader Adriana Gorter teamed to finish fourth in both the 200 medley and 200 freestyle relays at the Section 2AA meet Oct. 22.

The Shakopee girls' swimming team didn't allow a pandemic to drown its season in the pool.

Instead it was a banner season for the Sabers.

Shakopee finished 5-4 in South Suburban Conference duals, its best mark in its eight seasons in league. The five dual wins were also the most the team has had in the last 15 seasons.

The Sabers capped off the fall at the Section 2AA meet Oct. 23, finishing fifth out of eight schools with 180 points. Second-ranked Minnetonka won the title (557), followed by No. 3 Eden Prairie (497), No. 8 Prior Lake (282) and Chanhassen (269).

There will be no Minnesota State High School League sanctioned Class AA state swim meet this fall due to ongoing coronavirus pandemic. If there was, the Sabers would have had two relays and two individuals qualify.

Sophomore Haley Zelen would have made it two individual events, the 100 and 200 freestyles. She set pool and school records in both events at sections, winning the 100 freestyle with a time of 51.82 and taking second in the 200 freestyle (1:53.33).

Sophomore Amelie Girard ended up third in the 200 individual medley, breaking her own school record with a pool-record time of 2:08.40. She was less than two seconds below the state cut time (2:10.09).

The Sabers' 200 medley team of Zen, Girard, eighth-grader Arianna Zelen and ninth-grader Adriana Gorter also set a school mark taking fourth with a time of 1:48.25, which bested the state cut time (1:50.22). That same foursome also beat the state cut in the 400 freestyle (1:40.00) with a fourth-place finishing time of 1:38.73.

In the 100 breaststroke, Arianna Zelen broke the school record that's been around since the 1990s, taking sixth (1:07.35) with a sixth-place finish. She missed the state cut by .23.

Girard was also fourth in the 100 breaststroke (58.61), missing the state cut by .01.

"This has been such an amazing season," Sabers coach Jenny Carlson said. "Beyond the fact that we won five meets for the first time in at least 15 years, had two relays and three individual swimmers get state cuts, nine records broken over the season, had the strongest junior varsity team we've seen since I’ve been coaching, both the junior varsity championships and section meet were full of incredible performances from all our girls."

Carlson said the team had to overcome many obstacles this fall, virtual dual meets, a changing schedule due to the pandemic and the fact that nine swimmers, five of whom were seniors, missed the junior varsity championships and sections due to quarantines.

"I'm so proud of each and every one of you girls and the way you have handled all of this, and the way you have bonded together as a team to stay positive, stay safe and support each other," Carlson said. "It’s certainly a testament to how this became such a hugely successful season."

Senior Alexis Hoeben also scored points for Shakopee at the section meet, taking 12th in the 50 freestyle (25.92). Gorter was 14th in the 100 butterfly (1:03.58), while Adriana Zelen was 11th in the 100 freestyle (54.57).

The Sabers' 400 freestyle team of Hoeben, junior Katie Goodwin, ninth-grader Brooklyn Schumacher and eight-grader Julia Todd ended up seventh (3:58.53).

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.