History says Visitation will win the Class 1A girls swimming state championship. That history goes back to 2013, when the Blazers began their run of nine consecutive state titles. They'll go for 10 this weekend.
Visitation coach Nate Linscheid doesn't see it exactly that way.
"I don't know that we're really thinking about this upcoming meet as our 10th," he said. "For some of the girls it's their first, some their second and some their third. Our seniors did not have the opportunity to swim in a state meet during ninth grade due to COVID-19.
"The accumulation over time is really something that I and my coaching staff have been able to experience, but for the girls — the ones doing the actual work — this is a unique occurrence and we're aiming for them to swim their best."
Visitation was hit hard by graduation, losing eight of its 14 state entrants from last season. It has nine entrants, three making their initial appearance, in this year's meet at Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. The event gets underway with diving preliminaries Thursday, continues with swimming prelims Friday and concludes with finals Saturday.
The Blazers are led by junior Katie Miller, the top seed in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle. She qualified with a time of 1 minute, 51.78 seconds in the 200 and 5:01.49 in the 500. Miller also swims the anchor leg on the second-seeded 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams.
Class 2A teams
Edina is the defending state champion in Class 2A and has won eight of the past 12 championships. The Hornets surprised Lake Conference rival Minnetonka last season, winning by six points, but they will be hard pressed to equal this year.
The Skippers have a couple more individual entrants than Edina and have the fastest seed time in all three relays.
Juniors Annabelle Wentzel of Minnetonka and Ivy Solt of Prior Lake have the fastest seed time in two events each, Wentzel in the 100 backstroke (55.23) and 100 butterfly (54.03) and Solt in the 200 freestyle (1:50.55) and 500 freestyle (4:52.89). Wentzel swam a leg on both of the Skippers' state champion relay teams last year, the 200 medley and 400 freestyle.
Edina sophomore Libbi McCarthy is the top seed in the 50 freestyle with a time of 23.54.
Individuals to watch
Minnetonka senior Paige Dillon: The North Carolina recruit is the defending state champion in the 100 freestyle but enters the state meet with the sixth-fastest time. She has the third-fastest time in the 200 freestyle.
Woodbury senior Gabby Mauder: She is the two-time defending state champion in diving.
St. Michael-Albertville junior Lily Van Heel: A year ago, Van Heel won the 100 backstroke and finished third in the 200 individual medley. This season she has the fastest time in the 200 individual medley (2:04.10) and second-best in the 100 backstroke.
Blake senior Carly Bixby: The Auburn recruit is the defending medalist in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. She is seeded first in the 100 butterfly (55.65) and second in the 100 backstroke.
Monticello freshman Adalynn Biegler: She's another defending state champion in two events, the 50 and 100 freestyle. She has the fastest seed time in both events, 23.04 in the 50 and 50.59 in the 100.
Melrose Area senior Hallie Drossel: She's the lone other defending state champion, in the 100 breaststroke. She is seeded second and is also seeded sixth in the 200 individual medley.
Friday: Class 1A swimming preliminaries noon, 2A swimming preliminaries 6 p.m.
Saturday: Class 1A swimming and diving finals noon, 2A swimming and diving finals 6 p.m.
The Neighborhood Sports Network streams the meet. A subscription is required. Click here.