Eagan senior earns runner-up medal in breaststroke
Farmington swimmers reached the finals in seven events and the Tigers narrowly missed the top 10 in the team standings at the Class AA state girls meet.
Farmington, the Section 1AA champion, held 10th place until the final event, the 400-yard freestyle relay, when Maple Grove got past the Tigers by placing eighth. Farmington was 15th in the final relay.
The Tigers finished with 72 points in the state finals Nov. 20 at the University of Minnesota, beating their finish from 2019, the last year a state meet was held. Farmington was 19th with 30 points at the 2019 meet.
Junior sprinter Camille Gehrke earned All-State in two individual events to spark the Tigers. Gehrke reached the championship finals in the 100 freestyle, placing seventh in 52.54 seconds, and the 50 freestyle, finishing eighth in 24.07. A top-eight finish guarantees All-State recognition.
Senior Maddie Grimm was seventh in the 200 individual medley in 2 minutes, 8.99 seconds, matching Gehrke for highest Farmington finish at state. She won the consolation final in the 100 breaststroke and finished ninth overall in 1:40.20.
The Tigers swam the consolation final in all three relays, with their best finish 10th in the 200 medley by junior Faith Ring, Grimm, junior Hannah Ryan and Gehrke. Their time was 1:49.98.
The 200 freestyle relay team of sophomore Sommer Krause, senior MacKenzie Roach, senior Anna Speratos and sophomore Molly Johnson was 12th in 1:40.06. Krause, Roach, Speratos and Gehrke were 15th in the 400 freestyle relay in 3:39.42.
Minnetonka went into the Class AA meet ranked first in the state and won by a wide margin, finishing more than 150 points ahead of second-place Edina. The Skippers won two events, both relays, but had multiple athletes score points in several individual events.
Two South Suburban Conference teams placed in the top 10: Shakopee (fifth) and Prior Lake (eighth).
Eagan senior Kiera Liesinger left the Class AA girls swimming and diving meet with a runner-up medal, All-State award and school record.
All three came in the same event, the 100-yard breaststroke, where Liesinger swam an All-America consideration time of 1 minutes, 3.58 seconds in the state finals Nov. 20 at the University of Minnesota. Eden Prairie sophomore Caroline Larsen, the top seed and event favorite, swam 1:01.35 (All-America automatic) to take first.
Liesinger was about three-tenths of a second ahead of the third-place finisher, Ava Gustafson of Rochester Mayo.
“Kiera was all smiles after the 100 breaststroke on Saturday night,” Eagan coach Andrew Michelson said. “After prelims on Friday night with the top seed (Larsen) at 1:01.33 it seemed to be a very close race for second place. Kiera wanted to go out and race and that is what she did.”
Liesinger, who will swim at the University of Connecticut, broke her own school record in the breaststroke and took another state medal in the event. She finished eighth in 2019, the last time a state meet was held before this year.
Liesinger also reached the consolation finals in the 200 individual medley, finishing 12th in 2:08.27, bettering her preliminary time by 2.6 seconds. She scored 22 of Eagan’s 29 team points at the Class AA finals. The Wildcats were 22nd in the team standings.
The rest of the Wildcats’ state points came in diving, where senior Samantha Ballesteros was 10th with 347.70 points.
Liesinger and Ballesteros are part of a senior class that helped Eagan remain near the top of the South Suburban Conference standings and win four consecutive Section 3AA championships.
“In addition to Kiera, the rest of our class of 2022 has been so instrumental to our success in our conference and at sections and state over the last four years,” Michelson said. “In my nine years of coaching at Eagan they are one of my top graduating classes.”
Sophomore Hannah Dubbe reached the consolation finals in two events at state, with her best finish 12th in the 100 backstroke in 58.80.
She also swam in the Nov. 20 Class AA finals in the 200 individual medley, finishing 16th in 2:11.19. Dubbe scored all six of Eastview’s team points at the state finals, putting the Lightning in a tie for 33rd in the Class AA team standings.
Grace Affeldt, a junior, qualified for the Class AA finals in diving and finished 15th, scoring 322.95 points.
Affeldt was 14th after the preliminary and semifinal rounds. She scored two team points for Burnsville, which tied for 38th in the Class AA standings.
Apple Valley, Rosemount
The Eagles and Irish did not have anyone advance to the Class AA finals.
Apple Valley senior Gwyn Schultz qualified in the 50 and 100 freestyle races but did not compete in the preliminaries. Rosemount sophomore Amelia Labno was 20th in the 200 freestyle preliminaries. Irish ninth-grader Kelly Estebo was 24th in the diving preliminaries and did not reach advance to the finals.