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Boys' swimming story lines, metro swimmers and divers to watch

By Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune, 12/11/17, 5:30PM CST

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Chanhassen's Jack Dahlgren is one of 10 athletes in the pool to keep an eye on this season.


Chanhassen's Jack Dahlgren set the all-time state record in the 100-yard butterfly (48.28 seconds) in the Class 2A state meet last year. He enters his senior season as one of the metro's swimmers to watch. Photo by Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Story lines

1. Looking to go back-to-back

Class 2A defending state champion Minnetonka will have a hard time duplicating last season, its best in program history. The Skippers established four all-time state records in accumulating 340 points en route to the team championship. It was their 10th title (1978, 1988, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, and 2011). Coach Dan Berve’s squad will be led by seniors Erik Gessner and John Shelstad. “We need our young talent to emerge as we go through the season,” Berve said. “We do expect to contend again for the state title.”

2. One-man team

If you feel like rooting for an underdog, consider Minnehaha Academy. Sophomore Andrew Karpenko forms a one-man team for the Class 1A school, which was forced to relocate this school year after an explosion on its main campus in August. The Redhawks finished 21st on Karpenko’s 31 points in the state meet a year ago. He finished third in the 200 individual medley and fourth in the 100 breaststroke.

“Because Minnehaha Academy doesn’t have a pool, the Breck/Blake co-op has been generous in letting him train with them despite competing against them in meets and being in separate sections. They’ve also treated him as a teammate,” Redhawks coach Emily Firkus said. Breck/Blake is the Class 1A defending state champion.

3. Following his sister

Chanhassen senior Jack Dahlgren can do a plethora of events, and is coming off a season when he set the all-time state record in the 100-yard backstroke with a time of 48.28 seconds in the Class 2A state meet. Dahlgren was a basketball player until his freshman year. He will follow his sister Kylie, also a state record holder, to the University of Missouri. Chanhassen and Chaska are a co-op program during the regular season before going their own ways come section tournament time.


Eden Prairie senior Joshua Withers won the 100 butterfly and finished fifth in 200 freestyle at the Class 2A state meet. He is another metro swimmer to watch. Photo by Aaron Lavinsky, Star Tribune

Top 10 individuals to watch

(Includes Class 2A state meet results from 2017)

Jon Busse, Stillwater, senior: Third in 100 backstroke, fifth in 200 individual medley.

Dolan Craine, Chanhassen, senior: Third in 200 individual medley, sixth in 100 breaststroke.

Jack Dahlgren, Chanhassen, senior: First in 100 backstroke, second in 100 butterfly.

Erik Gessner, Minnetonka, senior: Fourth in 100 butterfly, 100 backstroke.

Robert Niemann, Stillwater, senior: Second in 500 freestyle, seventh in 200 freestyle.

John Shelstad, Minnetonka, senior: Second in 200 individual medley, third in 100 freestyle.

Vova Tipler, Hastings, senior: First in diving.

Andrew Trepanier, Lakeville North, junior: Second in 50 freestyle, third in 100 butterfly.

Joshua Withers, Eden Prairie, senior: First in 100 butterfly, fifth in 200 freestyle.

Mitchell Whyte, North St. Paul, senior: Second in 100 backstroke

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