Unable to break up the top three, the Stillwater boys swimming and diving team was nevertheless pleased to repeat its fourth-place finish in the Class AA True Team state meet on Saturday, Jan. 25 at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center.

After having its run of five consecutive True Team state titles halted by Edina a year ago, the Skippers outdistanced the Hornets 2,378-2,209 to regain the crown this year. Wayzata followed in third place with 2,024.5 points while Stillwater (1,713.5) and Chanhassen/Chaska (1,600.5) finished fourth and fifth.

“That’s as good as we could do,” Ponies coach Brian Luke said. “The guys performed really well and we were fourth. solidly in front of fifth and significantly behind third, so I’d say we’re the fourth best team in the state right now. That’s pretty good.”

This marked Stillwater’s 15th trip to True Team state in the 16 years the event has been held.

The Ponies finished just behind Chanhassen/Chaska in the Maroon and Gold Invitational on Jan. 4, but depth helped them surge in front at True Team, which scores four individuals and four relays in each event.

Chanhassen/Chaska finished first in three individual events and two relays. Minnetonka and Edina each collected two victories while Wayzata notched three firsts.

“I think going four deep helps us against (Chanhassen/Chaska),” Luke said. “They got a little in front of us at Maroon and Gold, but that was three deep. We’re pretty even, but I think we have a little better divers and I think going four deep helps us against them. In the middle of the meet they were ahead of us, but after the 200 free relay we pulled back on them. That was exciting. Our guys swam well.”

Aidan Bloomquist helped pace Stillwater with a second-place finish in the 500 freestyle (4:44.57) and a fourth-place showing in the 200 individual medley (1:54.97). The Ponies placed three finishers in the top 10 in the IM as Brodie Watson (1:58.88) and David Beck (2:00.65) placed 8th and 10th.

Watson also added a seventh-place finish in the 100 butterfly with a time of 52.89. After missing much of the previous week because of illness, Baude delivered an inspired performance while placing two spots behind Watson in ninth place with a time of 52.98. Baude wasn’t the only one to show determination while overcoming illness to compete on Saturday. He was not up to his normal standards in the backstroke, but he swam a strong leg to lead off Stillwater’s B team in the 400 freestyle relay, which placed 16th in a time of 3:28.61 — the first time they have eclipsed 3:30.

“He kept going until he couldn’t go any more,” Luke said. “He went 51 on the 400 free relay, which is right around his best time. Many people wouldn’t have even been there so that says a lot for them.”

Stillwater competed without defending state diving champion Josiah Fick, who posted a gaudy score of 535.80 in the True Team section meet. Fick, who is recovering from a back injury, was missed but the Ponies still fared well in diving. Tyson Sonnek led the way with a seventh-place finish with a score of 323.35.

The judging can be a little tighter at True Team state, but the winning score was 367.80.

“It’s different scoring, but I think he would have been out in front of that,” Luke said. “That was a major impact, but I’m sure other teams had kids sick, too, so you just have to go through it.”

Stillwater’s top showing in the relays was a fourth-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay by Bloomquist, Dylan DeAgazio, Grant Auleciems and Holden Hammerlund with a time of 1:28.75.

Auleciems also placed seventh in the 100 breastroke with a time of 1:00.17.

And while the impact is less in a traditional dual meet or many invitationals, the depth at True Team can really move the needle.

“The third and fourth relays really came through,” Luke said. “When you’re going four deep everybody is valuable and those third and fourth relays if they can improve four or five seconds can jump up five or six slots. They can kind of get lost, but they’re really valuable in this meet right here.”

There are so many moving parts with True Team, which is also why it’s so rewarding, Luke suggested.

“Every kid basically, except two that were sick, was dropping significant amounts of time,” Luke said.

“It’s a great meet,” Luke said. “I love the meet and I love it when the whole team gets into it and when basically everybody is stepping up.”

Team standings

1. Minnetonka 2,378; 2. Edina 2,209; 3. Wayzata 2,024.5; 4. Stillwater 1,713.5; 5. Chanhassen/Chaska 1,600.5; 6. Prior Lake 1,267.5; 7. Duluth 1,143; 8. Maple Grove 1,142.5; 9. Mounds View 1,117; 10. Rosemount 1,098; 11. Lakeville South 1,074.5; 12. Forest Lake 806.

Individual results

200 medley relay — 1. Minnetonka, 1:35.05; 6. Stillwater A (Alex Kaphingst, Grant Auleciems, Brodie Watson and Sam Cigler) 1:39.39; 18. Stillwater B (Nathan Volkman, Richard Hartmann, Jack Baude and Dylan DeAgazio) 1:44.79; 31. Stillwater C (Joey Reiner, Jaden Petersen, Javier Rodriguez and Wyatt Franklin) 1:51.88; 34. Stillwater D (Liam Kubitschek, Andrew Eisenbrandt, Keller Swanson and Keegan Kogl) 1:53.31.

200 freestyle — 1. Reese Hodgins (C/C) 1:44.65; 7. Sam Ciegler (St) 1:46.83; 16. Holden Hammerlund (St) 1:50.02; 20. Javier Rodriguez (St) 1:52.82; 21. Nick Nelson (St) 1:52.97.

200 individual medley — 1. Casey Stowe (Way) 1:53.77; 4. Aidan Bloomquist (St) 1:54.97; 8. Brodie Watson (St) 1:58.88; 10. David Beck (St) 2:00.65; 26. Nathan Volkman (St) 2:08.69.

50 freestyle — 1. Evan Bock (C/C) 21.23; 13. Grant Auleciems (St) 22.76; 19. Dylan DeAgazio (St) 23.18; 34. Wyatt Franklin (St) 24.22; 41. Keller Swanson (St) 24.72.

Diving — 1. Max Deters (Ed) 367.80; 7. Tyson Sonnek (St) 323.35; 16. Brandon Pott (St) 241.65; 27. Tate Sorensen (St) 90.40.

100 butterfly — 1. Evan Bock (C/C) 7. Brodie Watson (St) 52.89; 9. Jack Baude (St) 52.98; 21. Jaden Petersen (St) 57.42; 36. Richard Hartmann (St) 1:01.48.

100 freestyle — 1. Charlie Webb (Ed) 47.60; 12. Holden Hammerlund (St) 49.41; 18. Alex Kaphingst (St) 51.04; 24. Dylan DeAgazio (St) 52.38; 39. Liam Kubitschek (St) 54.73.

500 freestyle — 1. Knute Wargin (Min) 4:41.79; 2. Aidan Bloomquist (St) 4:44.57; 10. David Beck (St) 4:55.48; 19. Nick Nelson (St) 5:02.99; 22. Javier Rodriguez (St) 5:05.52.

200 freestyle relay — 1. Chanhassen/Chaska, 1:26.54; 4. Stillwater A (Aidan Bloomquist, Dylan DeAgazio, Grant Auleciems and Holden Hammerlund) 1:28.75; 23. Stillwater B (Keller Swanson, Wyatt Franklin, David Beck and Jaden Petersen) 1:36.87; 29. Stillwater C (Liam Kubitschek, Keegan Kogl, Nick Nelson and Andrew Eisenbrandt) 1:39.19;36. Stillwater D (Richard Hartmann, Javier Rodriguez, Ethan Frits and Joey Reiner) 1:43.23.

100 backstroke — 1. Casey Stowe (Way) 49.99; 11. Sam Ciegler (St) 55.46; T12. Alex Kaphingst (St) 55.73; 18. Nathan Volkman (St) 57.66; 19. Jack Baude (St) 58.00.

100 breastroke — 1. Nick Kale (Way) 56.34; 7. Grant Auleciems (St) 1:00.17; 25. Jaden Petersen (St) 1:05.08; 29. Richard Hartmann (St) 1:07.14; 32. Andrew Eisenbrandt (St) 1:08.03.

400 freestyle relay — 1. Chanhassen/Chaska, 3:10.84; 5. Stillwater A (Aidan Bloomquist, Sam Ciegler, Brodie Watson and Holden Hammerlund) 3:16.25; 16. Stillwater B (Jack Baude, Nick Nelson, David Beck and Alex Kaphingst) 3:28.61; 31. Stillwater C (Wyatt Franklin, Nathan Volkman, Liam Kubitschek and Javier Rodriguez) 3:38.78; 35. Stillwater D (Keller Swanson, Ethan Frits, Keegan Kogl and Evan Deck) 3:44.25.

Stillwater 99, E. Ridge 82

Victories in 9 of 12 events propelled Stillwater to a 99-82 Suburban East Conference dual meet victory over East Ridge on Thursday, Jan. 23 at Stillwater Middle School.

Grant Auleciems was a double winner for the Ponies, touching the wall first in the 50 freestyle (23.40) and 100 breastroke (1:01.80).

Stillwater also received first-place finishes from Brodie Watson (200 freestyle), Tyson Sonnek (diving), Aidan Bloomquist (100 butterfly), Sam Ciegler (100 freestyle) and Alex Kaphingst (100 backstroke).

The Ponies (7-0 SEC, 7-0) can clinch at least a share of their sixth consecutive conference championship with a victory over White Bear Lake on Jan. 31. After that, Stillwater closes out the regular season at Irondale on Feb. 6.

Stillwater 99, East Ridge 82

200 medley relay — 1. Stillwater (Alex Kaphingst, Grant Auleciems, Jack Baude and Aidan Bloomquist) 1:40.33; 3. Stillwater (Nathan Volkman, Jaden Petersen, Keller Swanson and Dylan DeAgazio) 1:49.79.

200 freestyle — 1. Brodie Watson (St) 1:52.47; 2. David Beck (St) 1:54.84; 3. Nick Nelson (St) 1:57.79.

200 individual medley — 1. Sven Becker (ER) 2:00.54; 2. Sam Ciegler (St) 2:03.12; 3. Holden Hammerlund (St) 2:12.37; 5. Nathan Volkman (St) 2:14.29.

50 freestyle — 1. Grant Auleciems (St) 23.40; 3. Dylan DeAgazio (St) 24.50; 4. Jaden Petersen (St) 24.55.

Diving — 1. Tyson Sonnek (St) 263.05; 2. Brandon Pott (St) 204.95; 4. Tate Sorensen (St) 123.90.

100 butterfly — 1. Aidan Bloomquist (St) 53.74; 4. David Beck (St) 57.09; 6. Nick Nelson (St) 1:01.04.

100 freestyle — 1. Sam Ciegler (St) 50.08; 3. Alex Kaphingst (St) 53.75; 5. Keller Swanson (St) 55.60.

500 freestyle — 1. Sven Becker (ER) 4:54.81; 2. Brodie Watson (St) 5:06.14; 3. Javier Rodriguez (St) 5:18.42; 4. Nathan Volkman (St) 5:19.57.

200 freestyle relay — 1. East Ridge, 1:31.99; 2. Stillwater (Sam Ciegler, Jaden Petersen, Dylan DeAgazio and Grant Auleciems) 1:33.73; 3. Stillwater (Brodie Watson, Holden Hammerlund, Nick Nelson and Javier Rodriguez) 1:35.78.

100 backstroke — 1. Alex Kaphingst (St) 56.05; 2. Aidan Bloomquist (St) 56.15; 4. Joey Reiner (St) 1:08.57.

100 breastroke — 1. Grant Auleciems (St) 1:01.80; 3. Jaden Petersen (St) 1:08.63; 4. Richard Hartmann (St) 1:09.46.

400 freestyle relay — 1. Stillwater (Brodie Watson, Aidan Bloomquist, Alex Kaphingst and Sam Ciegler) 3:24.46; 2. Stillwater (Dylan DeAgazio, Jack Baude, Holden Hammerlund and David Beck) 3:33.02.

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