Stillwater girls swimming and diving coach Brian Luke kept waiting for his team’s rigorous dryland training to kick in. Best case scenario, it would happen by the True Team postseason.
On Wednesday, it happened. Stillwater catapulted past the field in the Class AA True Team state meet at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The Ponies won the meet with 2,254 points, topping Edina’s 2,167 in second place and Wayzata’s 2,064 in third.
“On Sunday or Monday, I said this (training) better pay off,” Luke said. “And it did. I attribute a lot of it to that, but it finally all just came together.”
Stillwater has now won eight of the nine True Team state titles since its inception in 2004. It’s lone loss came to Wayzata last year.
On Wednesday, facing a deep Class AA field, the Ponies got big points from their relay teams—specifically the 200 medley relay. Stillwater’s team of Claire Rutschen, Mady Gockowski, Kristin Erf and Sophia Bisch won the event in 1:47.99, which was 0.19 seconds short of the state meet record.
Stillwater also got top 5 finishes out of its 200 freestyle relay team—comprised of Gockowski, Erf, Kylie Burgess and Summer Olson—and its 400 freestyle relay team of Bisch, Rutscher, Burgess and Sophie Barnes.
“I was crazy,” Luke said. “I didn’t think we could do it. It’s unbelievable what they did.”
Huddling together in celebration after the meet, the Ponies and their fans were deafening with their victorious chants and cheers. Their coach knew there was more where that came from awaiting him.
“I don’t think I’ll be hearing out of my right eat for about a week,” he said. “But that was great. That’s what it’s for, to get the whole team here doing this.”
CLASS AA TRUE TEAM RESULTS
1. Stillwater 2254, 2. Edina 2167, 3. Wayzata 2064, 4. Minnetonka 1857, 5. Maple Grove 1456, 6. Prior Lake 1353, 7. Centennial 1310, 8. Mounds View 1231, 9. Rosemount 1201, 10. Eastview 1132, 11. Rochester John Marshall 1057, 12. Forest Lake 528.