Ben Thompson

Senior Ben Thompson took second in the 500 freestyle for Shakopee in the bronze division at the Maroon & Gold Invitational Jan. 8 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

The Shakopee boys swimming team has been busy to open the New Year.

The Sabers had three competitions in five days, including taking fourth in the bronze division in the Maroon & Gold Invitational Jan. 8 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

Shakopee improved to 2-2 in South Suburban Conference duals Jan. 7 with a 92-89 win over Rosemount and went to 3-2 in duals overall with a 92-89 victory versus Waconia Jan. 11.

“Overall, I’m incredibly happy with how our athletes have performed up to this point,” Shakopee coach Eric Hills said.

The Sabers have been led by senior Ben Thompson and juniors Bennett Burfeind and Landon Vaupel.

“They have done an incredible job at our meets and leading by example in practice,” Hills said.

At the invite, Burfeind won the 100 butterfly for the Sabers with a time of 56.49, and was sixth in the 100 backstroke (1:00.76). Thompson was second in the 500 freestyle (5:06.51) and third in the 50 freestyle (23.02).

Vaupel ended up fourth in the 100 freestyle (51.53) and seventh in the 200 freestyle (1:57.38).

Shakopee finished with 405 team points in the 10-team field. Lakeville North won the title (510), followed by St. Louis Park (506) and Simley (504).

The Sabers best relay finish was fourth, which they did twice. Burfeind, Vaupel, Thompson and sophomore Kale Flemming teamed up in the 200 medley relay (1:47.71) as well as the 400 freestyle relay (3:27.53).

Flemming, eighth-grader Charlie Cutts and seniors Kael Lunser-Cahill and Cole Truax finished ninth in the 200 freestyle relay (1:43.46).

In diving, Shakopee had three in the top 10 led by junior Justin Luce’s fifth-place finish with 288 points. Junior Matthew Leisure was seventh (208.85) and junior Jack Barber was ninth (171.70).

Other top-10 finishes for the Sabers came from ninth-grader Tyler Guenin in the 500 freestyle (5:34.98) and Flemming in the 100 breaststroke (10th, 1:11.20).

The Sabers opened the season dropping their first two SSC duals to the two Lakeville schools, before getting wins over Eastview and then Rosemount.

“We were not deterred by how the first couple meets went,” Hills said. “We had a great team win against Eastview and swam very well against Rosemount.”

Against Rosemount, the Sabers won two of three relays. Thompson, Cutts, Lunser-Cahill and Vaupel teamed up to claim the 200 freestyle (1:37.10), while Thompson, Burfeind, Flemming and Vaupel were tops in the 400 freestyle (3:32.54).

Thompson won both the 200 freestyle (1:52.65) and the 100 freestyle (50.07). Vaupel took first in the 100 butterfly (56.94) and Burfeind claimed the 100 backstroke (59.43).

Runner-up finishes went to Burfeind in the 200 individual medley (2:12.07), Vaupel in the 50 freestyle (23.78), Leisure in diving (144.10), Flemming in the 100 breaststroke (1:11.88) and the 200 medley team of Burfeind, Lunser-Cahill, Flemming and senior Dustin Theis (1:53.58).

Shakopee won six of 12 events in beating Waconia.

Thompson won both the 200 freestyle (1:51.98) and the 500 freestyle (5:04.85). Vaupel was tops in the 100 freestyle (51.92), as was Luce in diving (192.70).

Burfeind was second in both the 100 butterfly (57.32) and the 100 backstroke (1:00.78), as was Flemming in both the 50 freestyle (24.33) and the 100 breaststroke (1:10.23). Vaupel was runner-up in the 200 individual medley (2:11.02).

Shakopee won two relays. The team of Vaupel, Flemming, Cutts and Thompson claimed the 200 freestyle (1:36.93), while Thompson, Vaupel, Lunser-Cahill and Burfeind won the 400 freestyle (3:30.77).

Burfeind, Theis, Lunser-Cahill and Flemming was second in the 200 medley relay (1:53.91).

This year’s Section 2AA meet is set for Feb. 23-25 at the Eden Prairie Community Center. The field is strong with the likes of perennial powers Minnetonka, Chaska/Chanhassen, Eden Prairie and Prior Lake, along with Waconia, Burnsville and Bloomington Jefferson.

The Class AA state meet will be held March 3-5 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

“The key to continued success this season lies in our top guys continuing to do what they do, but even more importantly, training all of our athletes to continue to improve throughout the season,” Hills said.

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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