Not only did the Eagles serve the Hornets their first Lake Conference loss in four years, but also it was the first time any of the current swimmers had bested these rivals.
“It felt amazing to finally beat Edina,” said senior co-captain Eric Howard. “Edina has won state the past four years and EP hasn’t beaten Edina in six years, so being the team to finally take them was really special.”
He added, “My favorite part of the meet was just getting to swim with my teammates and race my friends from Edina. Being a swimmer for nine years I’ve gotten to know a lot of other swimmers on the other teams, so it’s always exciting to compete against them.”
Kelly Boston, EP’s head coach, said, “We were proud of the way the boys performed.”
Boston highlighted the following outstanding meet swims:
- Luke Anderson: 200 medley relay.
- Zach McBeth: achieved his first time under 2:00 in 200 free.
- Drew Ploof: Best time in the 200 free.
- Luke Logue, Brian Shi, John McMahon: 200 IM.
- Eric Howard and Matt Lillejord: Sprint free.
- Yash Dagade: Achieved a personal best score of 6 in diving.
- Eric Peterson: 500 free.
- Zak Ouachani and Brian Hu: 100 back.
- Charlie Folks, Matthew Lillejord, Drew Ploof, Luke Logue: Varsity A 400 free relay.
Two more Lake Conference meets, then championships
The Eagles face Minnetonka High School in an away meet this Friday, Feb. 4. So far both teams are undefeated this season in Lake Conference meets.
Boston said, “Our big test comes this week against Minnetonka. That meet should decide the Lake Conference Championship. We hope to fill the stands with EP fans for this exciting meet.”
Howard added, “I’m excited to take on Minnetonka this week. They have been close rivals with our team — EP is always up for the challenge.”
The Eagles will then travel to St. Michael-Albertville for their final regular season meet on Thursday, Feb. 10.
After that, the Eagles will have JV finals on Saturday, Feb. 18, at Minnetonka Middle School East, then will host the 2AA Section Tournament at Eden Prairie Community Center on Feb. 22-24.
The State meet will be at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center on March 2-4.
“Championship season is coming up and I’m super excited to see everyone swim,” Howard said. “We’ve been putting a lot of work in all season.
“Our team was fortunate enough to be able to swim during some of the hefty winter storms we got this year while other teams couldn’t. I’m pumped to see how great everyone will do during sections and state.
“With that advantage paired with the competitive nature of our team, I think it will be an exciting end of the season for me along with the other seniors,” he said.
Senior Night: ‘Cherish all of the remaining moments’
The Eagles also honored their 11 seniors in a Senior Night celebration following the meet, with photo boards and thoughtful speeches given by juniors on the team.
Boston said, “This class has come full circle after the last two years. Smart young men. Fabulous leaders in and out of the pool.”
She added, “It is great to see their senior year return to normal at school and at the pool. During the next month this class will lead us through championship season. We are going to cherish all of the remaining moments as it’s all going too fast.”
Howard said, “I had a blast at Senior Night (shout out to the amazing juniors who organized it) and I’m excited to see the rest of the season play out.”
Howard encouraged current 8th graders and EPHS students to check out the swim team for next year.
“For people considering joining the team: try it. We’ve had swimmers of all skill levels ranging from fresh out of swim lessons to national level competitors. It doesn’t matter how fast you are, what matters is the amazing community and team environment.”
He added, “It’s definitely difficult to realize that my time on the team is coming to a close, but I couldn’t have asked for a better team to share my final season with.”
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