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Swimming and diving: Tigers send six to state

Six members of the Farmington swimming and diving team will compete in six events at the Class 2A state swimming and diving championships this weekend at the U of M.

The Farmington swimming and diving team didn't place as high in the team standings as it would have liked, but still qualified for state in six events at Saturday's Section 1AA finals at the Rochester Recreation Center.

The Tigers settled for a third-place total of 309 points as Rochester Century outscored runner-up Hastings 431 1/2 -370 1/2 for the section title. Rochester John Marshall, Northfield, Owatonna, Rochester Mayo and Winona rounded out the eight-team section.

"We had some great swims and a few disappointments. I do not think the final outcome would have changed, but we hoped a few more guys would have made or placed higher in the final round," Farmington coach Ryan Hamen said. "Finishing third is nothing to hang our head about but our hopes were much higher."

Senior standout Christopher Kirchmann did his share for the Tigers, qualifying for the state meet in four events for the second straight year and setting three school records in the process. Kirchmann opened the finals with a fourth-place time of 22.14 in the 50 freestyle, and soon after won the 100 freestyle in a school-record time of 47.29 seconds.

Another school record followed in the 200 freestyle relay where Kirchmann anchored the Tigers to a first-place time of 1:28.46. Seniors Dahlton Bell, Christian Bell and Cameron Molnar teamed up with Kirchmann in the 200 freestyle and the meet-closing 400 freestyle relay where the Tigers placed third in a school-record 3:18.61.

Farmington also captured a section title in the 1-meter dive where senior Evan Carufel won by over 27 points with a score of 338.40. Carufel will compete in his second straight state meet after coming in 24th last winter.

Carufel will be joined by fellow diver Jonathan Bovee, who emerged to place fourth with a score of 267.80.

The Tigers also had two place-winners in the 100 butterfly. Brandon Dion just missed a state berth with a fourth-place finish and Oliver Chow was close behind in sixth.

Dalton and Christian Bell each reached the finals in a pair of individual events. Dahlton was eighth in the 100 backstroke, Christian was seventh in the 50 freestyle and the pair came in 7-8 in the 100 freestyle.

"I am very proud of the boys for all the hard work they put into a great season," Hamen said. "We are looking forward to going to state bringing those who have truly made it a goal for a long time to do well at that level."

The Tigers sent five events to state last year and placed 34th with eight points. Hamen expects high finishes from Kirchmann in the freestyle swims and improvement from the relays to carry the team to a higher placing this time around.

"(Kirchmann's) split time of the 400 Free relay was a low 46 and we hope he can be very close to that when he finishes at state hopefully finishing in the top eight in both his 50 and 100 free. Our relays both have a chance to get back to finals at state as well."

The Class 2A state meet gets under way tonight at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center. The 1-meter dive prelims begin at 6 p.m. The swimming prelims begin at the same time tomorrow night.