Mary O'Neil won't get to end her career in the Class AA state swimming pool, but what a career it was.
The senior on the Prior Lake girls swimming team would have qualified for two individual events and would have been on two state relays after her performance at the Section 2AA meet Oct. 23 at Shakopee West Middle School.
O'Neil won the 100 butterfly with a time of 56.07. She was was fourth in the 50 freestyle with a school-record time of 23.98, beating the state cut time by 0.40.
O'Neil was also part of the runner-up 400 freestyle relay team and the third-place finishing 200 freestyle relay. Both of those relays also qualified by state standard.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there will be no sanctioned Minnesota State High School League state meet this year. Section competitions ended the season for teams around the state.
Second-ranked Minnetonka won the Section 2AA crown with 557 points, followed by No. 3 Eden Prairie (497), No. 8 Prior Lake (282), Chanhassen (269), Shakopee (180), Chaska (143), Bloomington Jefferson (80) and New Prague (73).
Senior Sarah McDonald would have been the Lakers' other individual state qualifier. She finished fourth in diving with 334.90 points. The top-four divers from each section make the state field each year.
Senior Ella Knutson and sophomores Maria Soria and Lauren Moeller teamed up with O'Neil in the 400 freestyle, finishing with a time of 3:34.71, which was about five seconds faster than the state cut (3:39.68).
Knutson, Moeller, O'Neil and eighth-grader Alex Peterson finished the 200 freestyle in 1:38.20, which was good enough for third place and just under two seconds better than the cut time (1:40.00).
The Lakers had five other swims fall just short of the state cuts.
Junior Grace Netz was eighth in the 100 breaststroke (1:07.61), missing the cut by .49. Moeller missed the cut in the 100 freestyle by .28 taking sixth (53.53) and was fifth in the fifth in the 200 freestyle (1:56.35) with the cut being 1:55.06.
Senior Ainsley Clayton was sixth in the 100 backstroke (59.79), and was just over a second off the cut (59.60). She was also part of the 200 medley relay team with Netz, Soria and junior Brooke Bauer that missed the cut time by (1:50.22) by just over a second with a fifth-place time of 1:51.43.
Knutson was also eighth in the 100 freestyle (54.43), as was ninth-grader Gabi Sentyrz in the 500 freestyle (5:20.68). Soria was ninth in the 200 individual medley (2:13.98) and 12th in the 100 breaststroke (1:10.23).
Other finishes for Prior Lake included:
Prior Lake finished 14th in the Class AA state team standings last year. The team finished in the top 10 four straight years from 2015 to 2018 with a program-best sixth-place finish in 2017.
Prior Lake also won the South Suburban Conference title for a third straight year this fall, finishing 9-0 in league duals. League meets were virtual due to the pandemic.
The Lakers are 27-0 over the last three years in SSC dual competition.
Meanwhile, going into this season, O'Neil had a career 16 swims at state, five in individual events and 11 on relays. Her best individual finish was seventh in the 100 butterfly as a sophomore.
She was ninth last year in that event and 10th as an eighth-grader. She was also 19th in the 200 freestyle as a sophomore and 23rd in the 50 freestyle as an eighth-grader.
In the relays, she competed at state five times in the 200 freestyle, four times in the 400 freestyle and twice in 200 medley.
In total, she hit the medal stand (top eight) in her 16 state events eight times with her highest finish in 200 freestyle relay where she was fourth last year with Knutson, junior Lexi Nelson and ninth-grader Halle Nelson. She was also fourth on that relay as a ninth-grader.
O'Neil also holds school records in the 100 butterfly, the 50 freestyle and as a member of the 200 freestyle and 400 freestyle relay teams.