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Swimming: Area swimmers off to strong start

MINNEAPOLIS -- Area swimmers had a big first day at the Class A swimming preliminaries held Friday afternoon at the University of Minnesota's aquatics center.

Willmar's Steve Kluver qualified sixth in the 50-freestyle (22.13) and third in the backstroke (55.3), both his personal bests. Andy Johnson shaved chunks of time to qualify eighth in the 200-free (1:47.99) and fourth in the 100-free (48.81).

Tim Walker of Dassel-Cokato/Litchfield is first in the 50-free (21.54) and first in the 100-free (48.26).

Area distance freestylers had outstanding events. Tom Werner, also of DCL, is fourth in the 200-free (1:47.99) and fourth in the 500-free (4:49.32). Stefan Lemke of Minnewaska/Morris is sixth in the 200 freestyle (1:47.89) and fifth in the 500-free (4:59.94).

Willmar qualified eighth in the 200-medley relay and seventh in the 400-free relay and will swim in today's championship heats at noon. The Cardinals were ninth in the 200-free relay and swim in the consolation heat.

DCL is in the 200 free championship heat and Montevideo in the consolation of the same event.