Boys’ Swimming With Very High Hopes

Bartosz Janczuk, Sports Editor

The Boys’ Swim & Dive Team started the season off strong, winning its first meet of the year at Burnsville last Friday. “It was definitely good to be back in the water,” stated senior swimmer Max Najilis, “and for the team, the meet went really well.” That might be an understatement; the boys’ started mostly JV swimmers against a subpar Burnsville squad, but still broke the team’s pool record en route to the victory.

For members of the team, early success comes as no surprise. According to them, this is an extremely talented group that has the potential to do very well this year. “We’re looking at good rankings in State already – we’re ranked 5th – and that should increase during the season,” explained senior captain Adam Pugh. “So we’re hopefully looking at finishing in the top 3, if not as the State champions.”

Najilis echoed this sentiment, boldly claiming, “Winning state is very realistic for us – this is the best team this school has ever had.” While that may be tough to prove for certain, it’s not a stretch; this year’s squad has an abundance of capable and experienced swimmers, and only one State swimmer from last year was lost to graduation.

“We have depth as a team,” added Najilis, “so we’re able to win meets not just by having a few unbelievably fast guys, but by having a really good amount of swimmers who can legitimately compete.” Several of these swimmers include – but aren’t limited to – seniors Eli Broman and Sam Zenner (both of whom are also captains), juniors Parker Lemke and Tal Shub, and sophomore Jasper Appleton.

With that being said, the road to winning State may not be as easy as they let on. Fellow powerhouses Edina, Eden Prairie, and Minnetonka will also be competing ferociously for that first-place finish, and Eagan may be lulled into a false sense of security before State even begins. “We need to keep a level head, because we don’t have too hard of a conference, so it’ll be pretty easy making it to State,” explained Pugh. “We’ll need to keep a level head once we actually get there.”

Either way, watching the boys’ progress through what could be a very momentous season will surely be enjoyable. Both Pugh and Najilis pointed out matchups against Lakeville South and Prior Lake, on January 6th and January 16th, respectively, as the most important of the regular season, so make sure to mark those on your calendars. In the meantime, the boys compete again this Friday at Eagan – make sure to get out there and cheer on your boys as they look to improve to 2-0 on the season.