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Swimming & Diving: Tigers win first conference championship

Less than a month ago, Farmington qualified for state by winning its first-ever Section 1AA True Team championship. The year of firsts continued Saturday as the Tigers used victories in four events to claim their first-ever Missota Conference championship in front of a big home crowd at Dodge Middle School.

Farmington piled up 490 points, 37 more than runner-up Northfield. Red Wing (381),Chaska/Chanhassen (333) and Shakopee (202) also competed.

"We had a great day ... I told the boys before the meet that the day was going to be very close with Red Wing and Northfield. The team who swam and dived perfectly was going to win," Farmington coach Ryan Hamen said. "Compared to the other two teams we swam a lot of best times ... None of our varsity athletes disqualified and we had a lot of very good swims."

The Tigers' 200 medley relay set the tone for the meet. The foursome of Brian Huls, Loren Hatten, Zach Holton and Tyler Magalis combined for a time of 1:44.60 that gave the home team a 40-32 lead over Northfield after one event.

Swimmers from Northfield and Red Wing finished 1-2 in the 200 freestyle, but Farmington's Allen Berg and Christopher Kirchmann came in third and fifth, respectively, to net the Tigers 30 points.

Next in the 200 individual medley, four Tiger swimmers cracked the top eight. Brian Huls led the charge with a second-place finish and Holton, Aaron Lane and Matt Stephan followed in fifth, seventh and eighth.

Magalis won the next two events. He topped the field in the 50 freestyle (teammates Drew Cayard and Connor Kealy tied for ninth) after earlier in the day coming through with another dominating performance in the 1-meter dive. His score of 443.25 points was over 180 points higher than runner-up teammate Evan Carufel's 258.20. Jonathan Bovee added a fifth-place finish.

Tiger swimmers placed second in the next three events. Holton came in second in the 100 butterfly, Huls placed second in the 100 freestyle and Allen Berg reached the wall second in the 500 freestyle. Other top-10 finishes during that stretch of events came from Aaron Cochnauer (8th in 100 butterfly) and Kirchmann (sixth in the 100 freestyle).

Kirchmann, Magalis, Berg and Huls came back to combine for a third-place finish in the 200 freestyle relay.

After Lane (third) and Cameron Molnar (ninth) cracked the top 10 in the 100 backstroke, the Tigers padded their lead by placing three in the top five in the 100 breaststroke. Hatten won the event, Matthew Stephan placed second and Nick Stephan finished fifth.

The Tigers closed out the meet with a third-place showing in the 400 freestyle relay. Kirchmann, Berg, Lane and Holton swam to a time of 3:36.09.

The Tigers have a 12-day layoff before competing in the Section 1AA championships Feb. 24 at the Rochester Rec Center.