Women's S&D has slim lead near halfway point at MIACs

Photo by B.J. Pickard, MIAC Office
Photo by B.J. Pickard, MIAC Office


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With 13 of 20 events and two days of competition still to go at the MIAC, Tommie Women's Swim-Dive holds an 18-point lead over St. Catherine and a 48-point lead on Gustavus.

Tommie freshman Peyton Ekman pulled out a close win in three-meter diving with a score of 415.70, 3.35 ahead of a St. Ben's athlete. Teammates Janelle Mueller and Kellie Pruitt placed 5-6.

St. Thomas had a productive day in the 500 free as Alex Howard placed third to lead a group of six Toms among the 16 athletes scoring points. Gretchen Behrens, Kasey Ericson, Katelyn Strauss, Molly Vancil and Paige Pawlenty placed 4-5-6-9-12.

The Purple placed third in the 400 medley relay in 3:51.45 with Kirsten Nelson, Ashley Christensen, Strauss and Kate Smarjesse.

Freshman Anna Asrup placed fifth in the 200 IM, and Smarjesse toom fourth in the 50 free.

Saturday's mornign prelim session starts at 10:30 a.m.


Friday mid-day story

Tommie Women's Swim-Dive advanced six athletes to Friday's night eight-person finals and four others to the consolation heats in three prelims races Friday morning.

Friday's 6:30 p.m. session will include women's three-meter diving finals, plus one relay final and three individual finals for each gender. The Toms start the night with 74 points and a four-point lead over St. Catherine early in the team race with 18 events still to be scored.

The 500 free finals has six Tommie swimmers set to contribute points. Gretchen Behrens, Kasey Ericson, Katelyn Strauss and Alex Howard qualified 4-6-7-8 for tonight's eight-person finals. Molly Vancil and Paige Pawlenty qualified 10th and 12th and swim in the consolation heat.

In the 200 IM, Anna Astrup qualified fourth and Deidre Voss qualified 16th.

In the 50 free, Kate Smarjesse qualified ninth and Mira Schroeder qualified ninth. 


Thursday story

Tommie Women's Swim-Dive posted a first place and second place in two relays on Thursday and hold a narrow 74-70 lead on closest pursuer St. Catherine after the opening night of the MIAC Championships in at the U of M Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.

Eighteen events will still be contested over the next three days with a morning prelim session and an evening finals session.

The 800 free relay took second in a school-record time of 7:36.01 with Katelyn Strauss, Kasey Ericson, Alex Howard and Mira Schroeder.

The 200 medley relay team placed first in 1:45.02 with Kirsten Nelson, Ashley Christensen, Anna Astrup and Kate Smarjesse.

Friday's first session starts at 10:30 a.m.



The MIAC Swim-Dive Championships starts a four-day run Thursday evening through Sunday night at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

St. Thomas will attempt to again set the pace in the team races. 

The Tommie men have won four consecutive MIAC team titles, and six of the last nine. The St. Thomas women have claimed the team crown three years in a row. Both teams are bracing for good battles this week.

Here's a look at some of the leaders for the Purple and Coach Scott Blanchard:

  • Senior Katelyn Strauss will attempt to win the 200 fly for the fourth year in a row. She's also the returning champ in the 100 fly and 500 free. Strauss has been a part of 15 MIAC relay/individual crowns so far on her conference-meet career.
  • Senior Alex Howard was a two-event winner individually as a sophomore in February 2017 and is a 10-time career relay winner; she'll have another busy week on relays and other races;
  • Ashley Christensen will attempt to repeat as champion in the 100 breaststroke;
  • Kirsten Nelson will look to win again in the 200 back.
  • Tom Negaard swept the 50 and 100 free races last season as a junior, and is looking to close out his career here and at nationals on a high note. He's already been a part of nine relay/individual crowns in his three seasons, with five other top-three placings.
  • Max Larson will attempt to win his third consecutive 400 IM championship.

On the men's side, St. Thomas expects a strong challenge from Gustavus. The Tommies have a league-best 37 performances ranked in the top five of the conference in individual swim races.

On the women's side, St. Thomas expects strong challenges from St. Catherine and Gustavus. The Tommies will need to rely on depth as they have a league-best 47 performances ranked in the top 10 of the conference in individual events. That includes nine top-three seeds, plus one top-ranked relay.

Thursday has an evening session for men's diving (6 p.m.) followed by two relay finals for both men and women on the U of M campus near Dinkytown.

Friday and Saturday will feature 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. sessions, with Sunday's schedule set for 10:30 and 5:30 p.m.