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Farmington boys' swimming looks to make a splash next season

Freshman Nicholas Bellefeuille was one of Farmington's many young swimmers this year. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 3
Ben Moorlach is one of five juniors who will return next year for the Tigers. Alec Hamilton/ RiverTown Multimedia2 / 3
Sophomore Seth Krause not only took 12th at state diving, he also nearly qualified for state in the butterfly. Alec Hamilton / RiverTown Multimedia3 / 3

The Farmington Tigers boys' swimming and diving team this winter was young. While the team had some experience in spots, they had just three seniors and five juniors. Sophomore Seth Krause was the only one to make the state tournament, where he took 12th, though a few other Tigers were close with their section times. Despite the team's youth, head coach Ryan Hamen said the season was a success.

"I think the season went very, very well," he said. "I think there is a lot of comradery that was built on the swim team this year, which was probably our biggest highlight. We had some goals that weren't quite achieved, but I think they got an eye opener. Unfortunately we have a younger team, so it was kind of an eye-opener (on) what they still need to keep striving for, so they have the time to do that."

Though that youth was a detriment this season, it is also the reason why Hamen is looking forward to next season.

"I'm optimistic for next year. We have the five returning juniors, and we have a great opportunity for some relays to make it into state, and some individuals that have an opportunity," he said. "Diver Seth Krause finished 12th at state and he's only a sophomore this year, so we still have two more years where he'll hopefully keep climbing that ladder."

One difference between Farmington's program and other young ones is that there is very little learning curve. By the time his swimmers are in ninth or 10th grade, they have been in the program for a couple years, on top of their experience with the club program that Hamen said he cooperates with heavily. This allows them to start the season off fast and intense. Also, one change this last year was the team's involvement in the school's lifting program as opposed to their previous on-land training regimen, which Hamen said proved to be a benefit.

The three seniors in the program this season were Benjamin Walz, Jacob Buysse and Tanner Hubbard. Hamen said that their most important contributions this season were their mentorship and leadership.

"If they're not captains, they're going to be big brothers," he said. "My three seniors and my five juniors, we make pods, or like a big brother program with four or five kids in every group. So during a meet, I can't have a bunch of young kids asking me when they're supposed to swim, when they're learning how to read a lineup. So they know they have a big brother who's supposed to be checking in with them, and it's a good way to get that comradery going too."

"I don't have a kid who's not a gentlemen on this swim team," Hamen said. "Kids are going to be kids, but I really do have a group of very respectful kids. Those seniors, I like to think they trickled that down and I know they called some guys out."

Looking ahead to next season, Hamen said that he really wants to be able to qualify at least two, hopefully three, relays to state, and continue to build the team comradery like this past year.

The team also recently held their award banquet. The captains for next season will be Ben Moorlach, Eric Heddinger and Seth Krause. Krause was named this year's MVP, while the "Hardest Worker" award went to Evan Thorn and Jack Hetland. Luke Seufer won "Most Improved", Brandon Wilcek was the "Rookie of the Year" and Brett Haugen received the "Motivation" award. Seth Miller won the Coaches Award.

Alec Hamilton

Alec Hamilton is a RiverTown Multimedia sports reporter covering Hastings, Farmington and Rosemount athletics. He graduated from Drake University with a journalism degree in 2014. 

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