St. Thomas closed out its third consecutive men's/women's team title sweep in MIAC Swimming and Diving Saturday night. The Purple rode a balanced effort over three days at the MIAC Championships at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.
Coach Scott Blanchard's men won St. Thomas' sixth championship in the last nine years as they surpassed 900 points and toppped runner-up Gustavus by 148 points. The Purple won four firsts and three seconds on the night and has 12 swim and two diving titles on the weekend.
Andrew Grabowski made it seven conference diving titles out of a possible eight in his four-year era as he won three-meter on Saturday to go with his one-meter title on Thursday. He repeated as MIAC Diver of the Year.
Fellow senior Bailey Biwer won the 200 fly -- his 18th career conference title in relays or individual events. Tom Negaard won the 100 free and joined Hunter Nielsen, Zach Wiesen and Warren Melton on the winning 400 free relay.
The Tommie women won the program's third title in a row as they passed 850 points and posted a 110-point victory over the Gusties. St. Thomas had four firsts and three seconds on the night and 11 firsts and nine runner-up places on the weekend.
Katelyn Strauss won the 200 fly and joined on the winning 400 free relay with Tiana Molitor, Alex Howard and Kate Smarjesse. Strauss was in on six MIAC wins this weekend and closed her career with 15 relay or individuals victories in MIAC meet competition.
Nicole Herrli and Ashley Christensen had a near photo finish to go 1-2 in the 200 breaststroke. Kirsten Nelson won the 200 back an took third in the 200 fly.
Other seconds came from freshman Kasey Ericson in the 1,650 free; and Smarjesse in the 200 free. Gretchen Behrens took third in the 1650 free. Fourths were scored by Paige Pawlenty in the 200 fly and Kellie Pruitt in one-meter diving.
The swim-dive success contributed to a huge day for St. Thomas winter teams, who locked up five conference crowns on Saturday. St. Thomas now has captured 423 MIAC regular-season championships.
During Saturday's morning prelims session, the Tommie men advanced one diver and 16 swimmers to the championship finals in four races to just six swimmrrs and four divers for Gustavus, and the UST women qualified 12 swimmers to the championship finals to eight for GAC.