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Familiar names dot girls' state swimming and diving meet

By JOEL RIPPEL, Star Tribune, 11/17/21, 7:45PM CST


Minnetonka in Class 2A and Visitation in Class 1A are favored but those teams have plenty of company.

Minnetonka figures to once again be strong in the Class 2A relays [2019 file photo]

Hutchinson has finished in second place at the past three Class 1A girls state swimming and diving meets.

With three returning swimmers who have won an individual event or swam on a winning relay team and three other returnees with state meet experience, Hutchinson is again expected to be one of the top teams in Class 1A.

But first, Hutchinson had to navigate the Section 3A meet. Hutchinson had first-place finishes in seven events and qualified 15 individual swims to the state meet, while finishing third — behind Orono and Delano.

“We’ve talked about how, hands down, we’re in the toughest Class 1A section in the state,” Hutchinson coach Rory Fairbanks said.

At the state meet, Hutchinson, along with Delano, which finished third at the 2019 state meet, and Orono will challenge Visitation, which is going for its eighth consecutive Class 1A championship.

“We’re focused on doing our best,” Fairbanks said. “We focus on what we can control. We can’t control the swimmers in the other lanes.”

Seniors Hailey Farrell and Grace Hanson lead Hutchinson. Farrell and Hanson each won two events and swam on two winning relay teams at the 2019 state meet.

Hanson, who has signed to swim for the University of Missouri, has won 11 state titles (individual or as part of a relay team). She has won three consecutive titles in the 50 freestyle.

Farrell, who has signed to swim for the University of Kansas, won the 200 IM and 500 freestyle in 2019.

“[Hailey and Grace] are humble, competitive and excellent students,” Fairbanks said. “Their character is second to none.”

Fairbanks said that Farrell and Hanson “have concentrated on the 400 freestyle relay.”

Hutchinson has won the event four consecutive times. Hutchinson has the best qualifying time in all three relay events.

Class 1A

Last week, Visitation won the Section 4A title by qualifying 21 individual swims and all three relay teams to the state meet. The Blazers qualified at least one swimmer in every event but diving. 

The Blazers qualified four swimmers in four events — 200 freestyle, 200 IM, 100 butterfly and 500 freestyle. 

While winning the past three state meets, the Blazers have had only one individual champion.

After winning titles in 2017 and 2018 without an individual champion, the Blazers won the 200 medley relay in 2019.

Delano is led by junior Emma Kern. Kern, who has committed to the University of Texas, has the top qualifying times in the 100 butterfly and 100 backstroke. Kern won the 100 backstroke title and was second in the 100 butterfly in 2019.

Class 2A

A team from the Lake Conference has won the past 10 Class 2A meets — seven by Edina and three by Wayzata.

Minnetonka, which has been the Class 2A runnerup at the past three state meets, is considered the favorite this year.

The Skippers, who won the Section 2AA meet last week over four-time defending state champion Edina, have 10 swimmers or relays that are a top-three seed.

The Skippers, who won all three relay events at the 2019 state meet, are the top seed in each relay event.

The Skippers have been led by seniors Addie Diaz, Nadia Helm and Regan Miller and sophomore Paige Dillon.

Miller is the No. 2 seed in the 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle. Diaz is the No. 2 seed in the 200 freestyle and the No. 3 seed in the 500 freestyle. Helm is the No. 3 seed in the 200 freestyle and No. 4 seed in the 100 freestyle.

At the Section 2AA meet, Miller and Helm swam legs on champion relay teams, while Diaz and Dillon swam on one.


• Diving prelims: 
Class 1A at noon, 
Class 2A at 6 p.m.
• Swimming prelims: Class 1A at noon, Class 2A at 6 p.m.
• Diving, swimming finals: Class 1A at noon, Class 2A at 6 p.m.

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