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Swimming & diving: Fab four send seven to state

Kirsten Kracke, Kaitlyn O’Reilly, Chelsea Gehrke and Cora Ruzicka will compete in seven events for the Tigers at next week’s Class 2A state meet.

Farmington will need just four swimmers to fill out the fullest slate of events its ever had at next week’s Class 2A state meet.

The foursome of Kaitlyn O’Reilly, Kirsten Kracke, Cora Ruzicka and Chelsea Gehrke teamed up to qualify for state in a pair of relays, and combined to qualify in five individual events while leading the Tigers to a third-place finish in Saturday’s Section 1AA Championships at the Rochester Recreation Center. The seven state events is the most ever for the Tiger program.

“We had amazing prelims and held on to finish strong in the finals. Five individual entries into the state meet is the most we’ve ever had and we’re confident our relays will get faster,” Farmington coach Jen Marshall said. “It should prove to be an exciting state meet.”

Gehrke will make her state debut as part of the 200 medley relay, which placed second at the section meet, and will also compete in the 100 butterfly after reaching the qualifying standard with school-record time of 58.54 seconds that earned a third-place finish.

O’Reilly, Kracke and Ruzicka all have state experience, most recently leading the Tigers to 19th place a year ago. It will be the last of five state meets for O’Reilly, who has qualified in four events each of the last four years and was a three-event qualifier as an eighth-grader. The 19 state meet swims will set a school record.

O’Reilly captured another section title in the 200 individual medley, an event she’s placed third and fourth in the last two years. She was third in the 100 backstroke in Rochester and has placed eighth, seventh and seventh in that event at the previous three state meets.

Kracke will also return to state in a pair of individual events. She placed second in the 50 freestyle at the section meet and came back to earn fourth in the 100 freestyle with a school-record 53.38 clocking.

The foursome also established a new school record in the 200 freestyle relay where their time of 1:38.48 was less than half a second off the pace of first-place Rochester Mayo.

Ruzicka added a pair of high individual finishes. She was fourth in the 200 freestyle and fifth in the 500 freestyle where she bested her own school record with a time of 5:18.03.

Kendall Novak and Tori Sontag added a 5-6 finish for the Tigers in the 1-meter dive. Other sixth-place showings were turned in by Sara Kintner in the 100 breaststroke and Hannah Seitzinger, Emily Ley, Catherine Gehrke and Ellie Sundet in the 400 freestyle relay.

Section 1AA team results

1. Rochester Mayo, 443

2. Hastings, 356 ½

3. Farmington, 334

4. Winona, 270

5. John Marshall, 265

6. Rochester Century 216 ½

7. Owatonna, 151