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Swimming and diving: 200 breaststroke relay first, team second at Relays

There are some big shoes to fill for the Farmington boys swimming and diving team this year. All six swimmers who represented the Tigers at last season’s Class 2A state meet were seniors.

The Tigers began to see who some of the candidates might be to step into those shoes while placing second at the season-opening Missota Conference Relays last Thursday night in Northfield. Chaska/Chanhassen won the final conference relay meet with 530 points, while Farmington edged host Northfield 476-474 for runner-up honors.

“The boys have been working hard in practice and have moved into positions on the team where they are expected to perform at a higher level. Many did,” Farmington coach Ryan Hamen said. “Those who graduated last year were a huge loss. The boys this year have to catch up a bit to fill some of those gaps. We still have a lot of swimmers who were in top roles but our gap is a bit bigger to give us stronger depth. The determination shows and I am excited to see how these boys develop and take ownership.”

That determination showed in the 200 breaststroke relay where the Tigers captured their lone first-place finish in the nine-event meet. Robin DeCastro, Alex Garofalo, Spencer Kabran and Nick Stephan combined to top second-place Chaska/Chanhassen by nearly four seconds in 2 minutes, 4.78 seconds.

The team placed third in three other events — the 400 medley relay, 400 individual medley relay and 200 backstroke relay. DeCastro, Brandon Dion, Adam Dougherty and Garrett Haugen swam in the 400 medley relay, Dion, David Bovee, Dan Berg and Stephan teamed up in the 400 individual medley relay and Greg Schmaus, Ben Gunderson, Haugen and Bovee joined forces in the 200 backstroke relay.

The 200 freestyle relay, 200 butterfly and the 850 freestyle relay teams each added fourth-place finishes and the 400 freestyle relay and 1-meter dive squads each came in fifth.

The Tigers hosted their first meet of the season Tuesday against Rosemount at Dodge Middle School and are back in the pool Saturday at the Prior Lake Invitational at Hidden Oaks Middle School.