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St. Thomas Academy and Visitation have received a matching gift of $3 million to help pay for a new aquatic center to be shared by the schools.

The gift comes from Chip and Mary Michel, who had already committed $1 million toward the project. Their total gift of $4 million represents the largest gift in the history of both Catholic schools. It leaves the schools with $3 million more to raise toward the $10 million project, a news release said.

Chip Michel was a member of the swimming and diving teams at St. Thomas Academy, graduating in 1967. His children attended the schools, and his grandsons still go to St. Thomas Academy. Chip Michel serves as co-chairman of the capital campaign for the new aquatic center.

Visitation has won 13 Class 1A state championships in girls swimming and diving, including the past nine. St. Thomas Academy won 15 private school state championships in boys swimming before joining the Minnesota State High School League and has won 15 MSHSL state championships in Class 1A since 1995.

The new aquatic center, on the St. Thomas Academy campus in Mendota Heights, will include a 25-yard pool with eight lanes, a diving board and bleacher seating for 300. The schools hope to complete the project by the 2025-26 boys swimming and diving season.