Golden Girls: Women's Swim-Dive wins fourth MIAC title in row

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


MIAC championships web page/results


Once again in February, St. Thomas Swim-Dive packed up the vans and took its family vacation, five miles away to the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center.

For the fourth year in a row, this "Family" of close-knit Tommies brought home a women's team championship.

After 20 events were contested over four days, the Tommies won six events among 32 top-five finishes to claim the gold plaque.

Ten St. Thomas seniors contributed points this week, and helped the Purple take all four team crowns in their era.

Coach Scott Blanchard's Tommies scored 797 points to pull away to victory. The Sunday suspense was for second place as Gustavus surged late to take silver with a total of 588, a mere one point ahead of St. Catherine at 587. St. Olaf took fourth with 440.

Freshman Anna Astrup added the 200 fly win on Sunday (2:06.83) to Saturday's 100 fly victory, plus her leg on the first-place 200 medley relay. Senior Alex Howard won Sunday's 200 backstroke (2:04.18).

Previous winners this week were freshman Peyton Ekman in three-meter diving, and the 200 free and 200 medley relays that also included Howard, Katelyn Strauss, Kate Smarjesse, Mira Schroeder, Kirsten Nelson and Ashley Christensen.

The Women's Swim-Dive crown was St. Thomas' sixth MIAC team title so far in 2018-19, and 13th top-three finish out of 14 sports contested. The Toms won Men's Golf and Women's Soccer last fall; and so far this winter have won Men's and Women's Basketball; Women's Hockey and Women's S&D. St. Thomas has MIAC runner-up placings so far in Men's Swim-Dive and Women's Cross Country; and third-place finishes in Football, Men's Soccer, Volleyball, Men's Cross Country and Men's Hockey.


Sunday Highlights

One day after the Purple vaulted into a safe lead with 92 points alone from the 100 fly, Sunday's 200 fly provided a 66-point total. Astrup led a 1-2-4-5 finish with Paige Pawlenty, Katelyn Strauss and Kirsten Nelson close behind.

In the 1650 free, Gretchen Behrens (17:19.14) took second and teammates Kasey Ericson and Molly Vancil placed 4-8.

St. Thomas' 400 free relay was second (3:30.69) with Howrd, Strauss, Schroeder and Smarjesse.

In one-meter diving, Kellie Pruitt took third with Ekman fifth and Janelle Mueller sixth.

In the 200 back, after Howard's win, Nelson took fifth and Erin Rudd placed ninth.

In the 100 free, Kate Smarjesse took fifth and Mira Schroeder took 10th.

In the 200 breaststroke, Ashley Christensen placed seventh with Deidree Voss and Melissa Rose 10-12.