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Swimming & diving: ‘True team effort’ sends FHS to state

It wasn’t uncommon to see four Farmington finishers in the top half of a given event at Saturday’s Section 1AA True Team meet.

In the first event of the day, the 200 medley relay, Farmington had four relay teams place first, sixth, seventh and 11th, respectively, out of 30 teams. The Tigers displayed that kind of depth through all 12 events as they swam to their second team title in four years, 976-803 over runner-up Winona in the six-team meet at the Dodge Middle School pool.

The Tigers return to the Class 2A True Team state meet Saturday night at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.

“It was an exciting meet from beginning to end,” said Farmington coach Jen Marshall, who tabulated 71 personal-best swim times and dive scores at the meet. “Every Lady Tiger stepped up and performed (on Saturday). It was a true team effort.”

The foursome of Kirsten Kracke, Kaitlyn O’Reilly, Chelsea Gehrke and Hannah Seitzinger set the tone with their victory in the 200 medley relay. The Tigers went on to finish first in the meet’s first four events, with Cora Ruzicka claiming the 200 freestyle, O’Reilly cruising in the 200 individual medley and Kracke winning the 50 freestyle. During that stretch, Ellie Sundet and Catherine Gehrke placed 5-6 in the 200 free and Chelsea Gehrke was third in the 200 IM.

The Tigers had already built a sizable lead by the time Kendall Novak, Nikki Cayard and Tori Sontag placed 4-5-8 in the 1-meter dive. Chelsea Gehrke followed that up with a third-place showing in the 100 butterfly and Kracke tacked on a runner-up finish in the 100 freestyle.

A slew of Tiger swimmers were once again at the front of the pack in the 500 freestyle. Ruzicka led a 3-4-5-8 Farmington finish against a field of 29 entrants, which netted the team 80 points.

Ruzicka was soon back in the pool, joining Chelsea Gehrke, Kracke and O’Reilly for a first-place effort in the 200 freestyle relay.

O’Reilly closed out the meet by pulling away for another victory in the 100 breaststroke.

Emily Ley added a sixth-place swim in the 100 backstroke and teamed up with Catherine Gehrke, Sundet and Ruzicka for sixth in the 400 freestyle relay.