A fourth-place finish Friday was good enough for Edina’s Claudia Chang to earn a chance to defend her Class 2A 200 freestyle title. Chang also was second-fastest in the 500 preliminaries. Photo: DAVID JOLES • email@example.com
Visitation has outdueled Hutchinson to win the state Class 1A girls’ swimming and diving title the past two years. After the Class 1A preliminaries on Friday at the University of Minnesota’s Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center, it appears the two teams will duel for the state title again this year.
Visitation, bidding for its seventh consecutive state Class 1A title, advanced 12 individuals and all three relays to Saturday’s championship finals.
But Hutchinson, which advanced six individuals and three relays to the finals, had the top qualifying time in five individual events and two relay events.
Hutchinson sophomores Hailey Farrell and Grace Hanson each had the top qualifying time in two events, while Tigers senior Lexi Kucera had the top qualifying time in the 100-yard butterfly.
Farrell, Hanson and Kucera teamed with Madison Witte to close out the preliminaries session with a Class 1A state record time of 3 minutes, 27.06 seconds in he 400 freestyle relay, breaking the record of 3:27.64 they set at last year’s meet.
Hanson, Witte and Kucera also teamed with Ainslea Jenson for the top qualifying time (1:35.52) in the 200 freestyle relay.
Hanson, the two-time defending state champion in the 50 freestyle, had the top time in the 50 and 100 freestyles, while Farrell, the defending 500 freestyle champion, had the top time in the 200 individual medley and 500 freestyle.
“Obviously, we swam well today,” Hutchinson coach Rory Fairbanks said. “This group has stayed focused on taking care of themselves.”
Kucera had the second-best time in the 200 freestyle behind two-time defending state champion Taylor Williams of Benilde-St. Margaret’s.
In the 100 backstroke, Delano freshman Emma Kern (55.68) edged out defending state champion Katelin Phelps (56.26) pf Breck for the top time.
Visitation was the No. 1 qualifier in the 200 medley relay.
Class 2A preliminaries
Edina, which has won three consecutive Class 2A state titles, showed its depth in Friday’s preliminaries, advancing 16 individuals and all three relays to Saturday’s finals.
Minnetonka and Wayzata also had solid day in the preliminaries. Minnetonka, runner-up to Edina at last year’s meet, advanced 10 individuals and all three relays while Wayzata, third a year ago, advanced eight individuals and two relays.