St. Thomas Women's Swim-Dive came out of Saturday night's session at the four-day conference meet with a nice intangible: Breathing room.
The Tommies' day began with a slim 17-point lead on St. Catherine. Coach Scott Blanchard's team -- seeking a fourth consecutive MIAC championship - ended the night with a 125-point lead over the Wildcats with just seven events to go on Sunday's final sessions.
St. Thomas (517), St. Catherine (392), Gustavus (364), St. Olaf (316) and Carleton (288) hold the top five places in the women's race.
The 100 Butterfly race was a game changer. Freshman Anna Astrup led a 1-2-3-4-5-8 St. Thomas finish that netted a haul of 93 points. Astrup clocked 56.54. Kate Smarjesse, Haley Cassens, Katelyn Strauss, Paige Pawlenty and freshman Ann Van Hout placed 2-3-4-5-8.
The night was capped by the Tommies' second relay victory of the meet, the 200 free relay. Smarjesse, Strauss, Alex Howard and Mira Schroeder edged Gustavus by .20 of a second and St. Catherine by .60 of a second.
Sunday's sessions at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center start at 10:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.