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Eden Prairie's Griffin Back hoping to lead team to swimming state title in Class 2A

03/02/2016, 10:30pm CST
By Joel Rippel, Star Tribune

Eden Prairie senior has a chance at four golds for one of the team favorites.

Griffin Back , of Eden Prairie, swam the breaststroke in the 200 yard medley. ] (KYNDELL HARKNESS/STAR TRIBUNE) kyndell.harkness@startribune.com 2A boys swimming and diving preliminaries for the State championship at the University of Minnesota's Aquat

As an eighth- and ninth-grader, Griffin Back was a member of Eden Prairie’s Class 2A boys’ swimming and diving state champions.

As a sophomore and junior, Back won state titles in the 200-yard individual medley as the Eagles finished in third place each year.

“[The first two state meets] I swam with super, fast older guys,” Back said. “The next two years I contributed a lot more individually after I had been carried by super, fast guys the previous two meets. I’ve enjoyed all of the state meets.”

At this year’s state meet, Back could combine his state meet experiences. Back has the top qualifying time in his bid for his third consecutive gold medal in the 200 individual medley and Eden Prairie is one of the favorites — along with Minnetonka and defending champion Eagan — for the Class 2A title.

“He has really grown as a swimmer,” Eden Prairie coach Kelly Boston said. “He has a mental intensity. He’s just a racer.”

In addition to the 200 individual medley, Back also qualified for the state meet with the third-best qualifying time (behind Lakeville North freshman Andrew Trepanier and junior teammate Jordan Greenberg) in the 100 freestyle.

Back also swam a leg on the Eagles’ 200 medley and 400 freestyle relays. Those two relays and the Eagles’ 200 freestyle relay team advanced to the state meet with the top qualifying times. At the Section 2 meet last Friday, the Eagles’ 200 medley relay team won in a time of 1:31.74 — better than the state meet record of 1:32.18 set by the Eagles (with Back swimming a leg) in 2013.

The Eagles’ 400 freestyle relay team won the section title with Back setting a pool record (at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake) in his segment. That helped the Eagles, who have won five state titles since 2002, edge rival Minnetonka by 28.5 points for the team section title.

“The competition really helps prepare us for the state meet,” said Back. “Minnetonka is one of the best teams and has one of the top swimmers in the state.” Back was referring to the Skippers’ Sam Schilling, who won the 200 and 500 freestyles in the state meet last year.

Within reach for Back and the Eagles relay teams are state meet records. Records in all three relays are held by Eden Prairie, and the state meet record in the 200 individual medley is held by former Eden Prairie swimmer Mark Solfelt.

Said Back, who signed last November with Wisconsin: “I feel pressure, but I don’t get nervous. I like pressure. It gets me excited to swim.”



At University of Minnesota’s

Jean Freeman Aquatic Center


Diving preliminaries: Class 1A, noon; Class 2A, 6 p.m.


Swimming preliminaries: Class 1A, noon; Class 2A, 6 p.m.


Swimming and diving finals: Class 1A, noon; Class 2A, 6 p.m.

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