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Swimming: Magalis wins state dive title

Farmington's Tyler Magalis dives during Thursday's prelims at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis. Magalis captured the Class 2A state title.

The thought of being a state champion started to creep into Tyler Magalis' mind at the Class 2A State Meet in 2008.

The freshman had just finished 11th in the 1-meter dive behind six seniors, two juniors and two sophomores. Magalis had already been training as a swimmer for six years, and he figured three more years of training as a diver and it could be him at the top of the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center podium by 2011.

"I knew if I kept improving and gave it all I had, by my senior year I'd have a shot at getting the championship," Magalis said.

He was right.

Magalis, who entered as the event's top seed, surged to a 33.3-point lead by the end of last Thursday's eight-dive preliminary round. He then nailed his three dives in Saturday's finals to capture the Class 2A championship with a score of 461.35 points. He outscored runner-up Andrew Germain by over 35 points and left the rest of the 14 finalists at least 80 points back.

"I was feeling the pressure to maintain the lead. I had a pretty decent lead and that definitely boosted my confidence, but I knew I had to hit all three of my last dives," Magalis said. "Thirty points is pretty easy to lose if you slip up, so I had to stay consistent and put up good scores."

A long road

Magalis began swimming with the Tigersharks Swim Club, along with his sister, when he was 8 years old. He got the encouragement to try diving from Farmington swimming coach Gregg Rappe, whose son RJ won a state title in the 1-meter dive in 2004.

"He got me into the whole thing," Magalis said. "I did camps with him and other people and joined the high school team. That's where I got very serious. I got on a regular practice schedule and I knew I was going to commit to diving for the rest of my high school career."

After the 11th-place state finish as a freshman, Magalis came in 12th as a sophomore and sixth as a junior. This season he went undefeated in the dive, broke RJ Rappe's school record score, set the True Team State Meet record in the 1-meter dive and finished first at the section meet where Gregg Rappe, now an assistant, was named Section 1AA Diving Coach of the Year.

Magalis plans to continue his diving career at St. Cloud State University this fall.

"I put in plenty of hours to finally get to where I am now," Magalis said. "It's kind of overwhelming at first to know the goal you've strived for your whole life has finally paid off."

Tigers finish 14th

Magalis' title highlighted a 14th-place finish for the Tigers, who scored 62 points while competing in six events. Chanhassen, which finished with one point, was the only other Missota Conference team to get in the scoring column.

Senior Brian Huls capped off his career by scoring two top-10 individual finishes. He placed ninth in the 50 freestyle in 21.80 seconds and eighth in the 100 freestyle in 48.11

Huls also swam on two relays. The foursome of Huls, Chris Kirchmann, Allen Berg and Magalis placed 10th in the 200 freestyle relay and Huls, Loren Hatten, Zach Holton and Magalis teamed up to place 13th in the 200 medley relay.

Berg also swam to a school-record time of 4:56.09 in the 500 freestyle, where he placed 22nd out of 32.

Minnetonka, which had top-five finishes in eight of the meet's 12 events, edged Eden Prairie for the team title, 253.5-248.