Farmington’s Krause has top-three finishes in two events

Jackson Kehler was poised to make a name for himself at the state high school boys swimming and diving meet. He didn’t disappoint.

The sophomore stood at the top of the podium for two events at Saturday’s Class AA finals at the University of Minnesota. He took gold in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1 minute, 38.89 seconds (an All-America consideration time), dropping two seconds from his preliminary swim on Friday.

Kehler also took first in the 500 freestyle in 4.33.49. He was the only sophomore to win individual events at this year’s Class AA finals. Last year he was the only ninth-grader to medal in individual events at Class AA state, taking sixth in the 200 freestyle and seventh in the 500 freestyle.

He met his goals for times at the state meet.

“I was going for 1:39-ish in the 200 and definitely trying to break 1:40,” said Kehler, who swam a fraction of a second above 1:40 at the Section 3AA meet. “In the 500, I was hoping for at least 4:34.”

Kehler went into the state meet with the top seed times in both of the distance freestyle races.

“I knew I was the top seed but I didn’t want to let that affect me,” he said. “There are a lot of good swimmers in the state meet. My goal was to just go all out, race like I have all year, and see if that would be good enough.”

It was. He finished about one second ahead of Edina senior Charlie Webb in the 200 freestyle and about half a second ahead of Rochester Century senior Matt Strom.

Kehler doesn’t have a lot of time to savor his state high school championships. This weekend he will be back at the University of Minnesota, competing in the Minnesota Senior Short Course State Championships. He represents the Riptide Swim Team of Apple Valley, also the home club of Lakeville’s Regan Smith, who broke two world women’s backstroke records in 2019 and is likely to be on the 2020 U.S. Olympic team.

Kehler and other local swimmers have trained with Smith. “You definitely want to swim and train well enough that she notices,” he said.

Eagan finished 12th in the Class AA team competition, where Edina placed first by more than 100 points over runner-up Chanhassen/Chaska. Kehler anchored the 200 freestyle relay to 13th place. Junior Emilio Santoyo Lopez contributed to the relay and took 15th place in the 100 freestyle in 48.21. Eagan is well-positioned to repeat its success next year, losing only senior Dylan Huynh from the state relay squad.

Farmington moved from 13th overall last year to 10th this year, claiming the top state finish of any South Suburban Conference team.

Senior Seth Krause had something to do with almost all of the Tigers’ 83 team points.

Krause finished his high school swim career with the bronze medal in the 100 freestyle in 46.02 and the silver in the 100 backstroke in 50.83. He also contributed to the Tigers’ seventh-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1.36.50) and an eighth in the 400 freestyle relay (3.13.99).

Krause bettered his preliminary time in both of his individual events. A member of the Farmington High team for five years and a former state qualifier in diving, Krause said he wants to continue swimming in college.

Until this year Krause swam and dove for the Tigers. He was sixth in diving at the 2019 state meet. He called doing both “stressful, to say the least,” and chose to concentrate on swimming this year. After Friday’s preliminaries, he said he’s leaving high school swimming on a high note regardless of what happened in the finals.

“I just had such a great time with the team. All five years have been awesome,” Krause said. “Every single one was an adventure, and I’m really happy with how it ended this year.”

Sophomore Brandon Wilcek should be a major contributor to the team next year, as he swam both relays and grabbed 13th in the 100 breaststroke.

Lakeville North believed it had something special in the medley relay this year and proved it by moving from the ninth seed entering the state meet to a sixth-place finish (1:36.25) in the finals.

“We had great swims at state and were very pleased with the results,” Lakeville North coach Dan Schneider said. “The medley relay started the meet off with an All-State performance, which was outstanding. We are proud of all of the boys on our team and especially proud of the job our seniors did leading the team all year.”

It caps the final season for two seniors, Otto Belschner and Zack Upham. Upham, who will swim for the University of St. Thomas, was 16th in the 100 backstroke with 53.33.

Belschner, a breaststroke swimmer, was part of the sixth-place medley relay.

North, which finished 17th in the team standings, will move into next season with sophomore Marcus Satterlee as a key component. Satterlee finished 13th in the 100 butterfly in 52.60.

Rosemount made a big jump in the state team standings by tying for 19th place, moving up 20 spots from 2019. The Irish grabbed all their points in the longest race of the evening, the 500 freestyle. Sophomore Evan Kindseth finished fifth in 4:36.38, earning 14 points, while senior Keegan Henning contributed 12 points by taking seventh in 4:38.53.

Eastview junior Alex Sulistyo finished with 366.35 points in diving to take sixth place and contribute 13 points toward his team’s 25th-place finish. Lakeville South junior Keegan Gare scored 349.65 for eighth place and 11 individual points. South finished tied for 34th as a team.

Eastview and Lakeville South both improved over last year’s team finishes, and Sulistyo and Gare are likely contenders to compete at state again next year.

Eastview also earned four team points from a 15th place in the 200 medley relay. Apple Valley junior Luke Fischbach was 17th in the diving preliminaries, one place short of reaching the finals. Lakeville South’s Gage Boushee, the only eighth-grader to qualify for the Class AA meet in an individual event, swam a personal-best time of 4:49.26 in the 500 freestyle preliminaries and missed advancing to the finals by one place.

Mike Shaughnessy contributed to this story.

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