High school All-American Abby Kapeller was a difference-maker as the Minnetonka High girls aquatics team opened the 2020 season with a 105-76 win over a young and talented Eden Prairie squad at Eden Prairie Community Center.
Kapeller led off the winning Skipper 200-yard medley relay to open the meet. Later, she won the 50-yard freestyle and the 100-yard backstroke. Her early-season times give promise to her repeating as an All-American this year.
The other pleasing aspect of the meet for the Skippers was the first win as head coach for Craig Charlson, who took over for former head coach and Tonka aquatics director Dan Berve earlier this year.
Tonka’s 200-yard medley relay of Kapeller, Maija Kangas, Addie Diaz and Regan Miller swam 1:49.16. Eden Prairie took second in the event with Kessel Cripe, Caroline Larsen, Faith Larsen and Grace Logue giving Tonka a real battle with a 1:49.41 time. Tonka was third with Rae Vaughn, Quinci Wheeler, Audrey Soetano and Rachel Shelstad.
Diaz had only a short break before the next race, the 200-yard freestyle, which she won in 1:58.28. Second was EP’s Katelyn Thornton in 2:00.68 and third was Tonka’s Vaughn in 2:01.39.
Soetano took first in the 200 individual medley in 2:09.79. The Millers from Eden Prairie, Mallory and Merritt, placed second and third.
Kapeller was in midseason form in the 50 freestyle, winning in 23.63 seconds. Tonka’s Regan Miller was second in 24.26 and Nadia Helm of the Skippers took third in 24.80. Faith Larsen of EP was fourth in 24.81.
The top two finishers in diving were Tonka’s Rachel Patton and Natalie Smith. EP took the next three places with Brianna Thornton, Victoria Schwob and Brinley Hopper.
Soetano became the meet’s first individual-event double winner by taking the 100 butterfly in 58.26. Minnetonka’s Nadia Helm was second in 59.48 and EP’s Faith Larsen was third in 1:00.29.
Regan Miller of Tonka won the 100 freestyle in 52.91. Second and third places went to EP’s Faith Larsen and Ashley Plantenberg.
Kangas and Diaz of the Skippers had the top two times in the 500 freestyle - 5:12.37 and 5:14.19. EP’s Mallory Miller placed third.
Minnetonka won the 200 freestyle relay by less than a second over Eden Prairie. Shelstad, Wheeler, Aralyn Vogel and Nadia Helm swam 1:39.81 for the Skippers. The EP team of Logue, Plantenberg, Ashley Cronin and Grace Dunn swam 1:40.40. Tori Sigfrid, Kangas, Rylie Ulett and Paige Dillon of Tonka was third in 1:41.62.
Kapeller’s time of 57.92 carried the day in the 100 backstroke. EP’s Mallory Miller finished second in 1:00.65 and Tonka’s Dillon took third in 1:01.19.
With the victory in hand, Tonka swam exhibition in the final two events.
Caroline Larsen, EP’s ninth-grader, was first in the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.81. Teammates Ella Drewes and Plantenberg placed second and third.
The Eagles closed the meet with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay with Ashley Cronin, Faith Larsen, Dunn and Caroline Larsen posting a time of 3:44.37.