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Minnetonka, led by two starts, aiming at state title in swimming

03/01/2017, 8:54pm CST
By Ron Haggstrom, Star Tribune

Corey Lau and Sam Schilling hope to lead the Skippers to a state title.


Minnetonka's Corey Lau is the defending state champion in the breaststroke.

With All-America swimmers Corey Lau and Sam Schilling leading the way, Minnetonka has its sights set on winning its 10th boys’ swimming and diving state title this week.

The seniors, who have a hand in the team record book in seven of the 12 events, are “possibly the most talented duo to come from the same team and same year in school in recent Minnesota history,” Minnetonka coach Dan Berve said. “What they do, nobody can do better. The sky is the limit with them.”

Minnetonka last won a Class 2A team championship in 2011, its only state title since the advent of two classes. Its previous eight crowns were won between 1978 and 1997.

“The meat of our team returns from last year’s state runner-up group,” Berve said. “We have a great group from top to bottom with experience throughout.”

Schilling is the school record-holder in the 100- (44.48 seconds), 200- (1:37.03) and 500-yard (4:28.69) freestyles. He has swept the 200 and 500 freestyles in the state meet each of the past two years.

“Sam is one of the most accomplished athletes we’ve ever had at Minnetonka,” Berve said. Schilling was an All-America as a sophomore and junior.

Lau, named All-America last year, didn’t swim his sophomore season after transferring from Hopkins. He is the defending state champion in the 100 breaststroke. He owns the school record in the event (54.81). Lau and Schilling are both team captains.

“Corey is one of the toughest competitors I’ve ever coached,” Berve said. “He loves the sport of swimming, and is always working to find ways to improve.”

Berve called Lau “one of the best captains we’ve ever had at being a leader to each of his teammates; from his fellow seniors all the way down to the new middle school swimmers and divers.”

Schilling “is the emotional leader of our team,’’ Berve said. “His teammates respect his work ethic, they love his attitude, and he loves being a part of our group.”

Schilling is headed to the 14th-ranked University of Virginia. Lau will swim for Princeton.

“They are physically gifted athletes,” Berve said. “They both have an outstanding work ethic and attitude. They know how to balance hard work and fun.”

The tandem are members of the 200 freestyle relay (1:24.12) and 200 medley relay (1:30.19); both hold school records. Schilling is also on the 400 freestyle relay (3:04.22) relay that holds another school mark. It includes Erik Gessner, who holds the school record in the 100 butterfly (50.29) and is also on the 200 medley relay.

“It will be a big void when those two graduate, but it’s not just them,” Berve said. “We have a very talented and experienced senior class. They have shown their teammates what’s expected.”

State swimming and diving schedule

At University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center

Thursday

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

Friday

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

Saturday

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

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