Boys’ Swim & Dive Team Named 2017 State Champions

Tonka Boys' Swim and Dive

Tonka Boys' Swim and Dive

Isabella Bennett, Admin. Correspondent

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On March 4th, the Boys’ Swim & Dive team placed first at their State Championship, winning an overall 340 points.

Opening the meet was the 200-yard medley relay featuring swimmers Erik Gessner, Corey Lau, John Shelstad, and Sam Schilling, who swam an All-American time of 1:29.20 to break a national public high school record. This record was set only a week before at the Indiana high school state championship with a time of 1:29.64. The medley relay came within half a second of breaking the original 2014 record in February at the True Team state meet, so actually breaking the record was something highly anticipated by many.

A. Senn
Tonka had the loudest (and largest) student section at the meet

The Skippers dominated at dual meets as well as invitationals, with the Varsity team placing first in all their competitions from this season. When talking to captain Marco Conati at a practice prior to competing at State, he said the team anticipated a strong showing this season.

“We came in this year with high hopes, and things went how we expected, those high hopes were met.”

Conati stated the aim for this year’s state was “to adjust from last year because last time [the team] struggled a bit in prelims, but this year [they] want to lock that down and go for records and solid relays.”

Overall, the team broke four state records on top of the national record, winning the first championship for Swim & Dive since 2011, totaling their number of state titles to 10.

Head coach Dan Berve looked forward to this championship just as much as his team. Before the big meet, he said, “if [the boys] come together as a team at that moment, they’re capable of anything” and “the boys have worked really hard and when [the coaching staff] has challenged them they’ve always responded really well.”

Next year there’ll definitely be a gap with many powerful swimmers graduating. But Berve says this year has “been a really fun year, I’m lucky to have had all these guys together at the same time and look forward to having more fun with them at the state championship.”

 

Isabella Bennett
[left to right] Captains Marco Conati, Sam Schilling, and Corey Lau

 

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