Hutchinson senior Grace Hanson even surprised herself when she looked up from the water toward the scoreboard in her 50 freestyle and 100 freestyle state championship races.
Both races set new Class 1A records in Saturday’s girls’ state swimming and diving meet at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center at the University of Minnesota. Hanson’s first record was a 22.57 in the 50 freestyle, beating her own record from 2019. Hanson followed that up with a 49.56 in the 100 freestyle.
“I was not expecting those times,” Hanson said. “I am just so happy with my team and my coaches for getting me here.”
Hanson, a University of Missouri commit, helped lead Hutchinson to its fourth runner-up finish in a row. The Tigers also won two-of-three relays, the 200 medley and 400 freestyle, bookending the meet and taking second place (254 points) to Visitation (385 points), which won its eighth consecutive state title.
Hutchinson’s effort in the finals was a testament to its senior swimmers, according to coach Rory Fairbanks.
“To come in with eight swimmers and to be able to do that is just amazing,” Fairbanks said.
In contrast, Visitation qualified all three relays and 18 individuals in the finals, being represented in every event except diving and the 100 freestyle. In 16 state meets since 2005, Visitation has won 12 Class 1A team titles.
The Blazers won two events on the way to the team title. Junior Ella Passe won the 500 freestyle (5:05.72).
“It was a goal I set at the beginning of the season,” said Passe, who’s committed to swim at Duke next season. “So getting to achieve it, and then getting to have three of my teammates in the race with me, made it 100 times better.”
Elizabeth Burke and Tess Lindstrom finished second and third behind Passe in the 500 freestyle, with Maggie Farley taking fifth. Defending champion, Hutchinson senior Hailey Farrell, took fourth.
Visitation junior Anna Farley won the 200 individual medley in 2:04.39. She swam neck-and-neck with Farrell (2:04.79), the event’s defending champion who set the Class 1A record in 2019. Farley told her coach at the start of the season that she wanted to win the 200 individual medley at state, said Visitation coach Nate Linsheid.
“That was going to be just another barn-burner kind of event,” Linsheid said. “I mean, it couldn’t have been closer.”
Delano took third as a team with 189 points. Junior Emma Kern won the 100 butterfly in 54.80, swam the first leg of Delano’s winning 200 freestyle relay (1:35.01) and won the 100 backstroke (53.77) to defend her 2019 title. She already set the 1A record in the preliminaries (53.40) before her winning 53.77 time in the finals. She ended the day taking third in the 400 freestyle relay with her teammates.
She typically doesn’t swim the 200 freestyle relay often so she can stay fresh for her other events, Kern said. But Saturday, she swam in three of the final four events.
“For state, we decided to take on the challenge of doing all my events in the last half of the meet, which was definitely challenging,” Kern said. “I was able to cool down in the dive well, so I was able to stay loose, which was nice.”
Elsewhere in the meet, Blake sophomore Carly Bixby won the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:50.42. Bixby also took second in the 100 freestyle (50.85), swam the last leg of the 200 freestyle relay that took third and led off the 400 freestyle relay for Blake, taking fourth place.
Melrose Area sophomore Hallie Drossel won the 100 breaststroke in 1:05.38. She also took eighth place in the 200 individual medley.
Grand Rapids senior Addie Albrecht won the state diving title with a score of 440.25. She led after the preliminaries (314.80).
State meet records
Class 1A record: 50 freestyle, 22.57, Grace Hanson (Hutchinson). Previous record: 22.79 matched in 2019 by Hanson and set in 2015 by Lindsey Horejsi (Albert Lea).
Class 1A record: 100 freestyle, 49.56, Grace Hanson (Hutchinson). Previous record: 49.60 set in 2014 by Abbie Dolan (Visitation).