Tommie women win back-to-back MIAC S&D titles

Tommie women win back-to-back MIAC S&D titles

MINNEAPOLIS – The 2017 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Women's Swimming and Diving Championships concluded Saturday at the University of Minnesota's Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center with the coronation of the University of St. Thomas women for the second-straight season, as well as several outstanding performances to put an exclamation mark on a tremendous three-day event.

Prior to the 2015-16 season, the St. Thomas women had never won a MIAC swimming and diving championship. My, how times have changed. After another impressive performance, Head Coach Scott Blanchard's Tommies won their second title in as many years and have joined a select group of just five programs to have won multiple MIAC women's swimming and diving championships. UST's latest crown saw the team amass 908 total points and win by a margin of 259.5 points over the rest of the field. 


The Tommies took home more hardware as star senior Emma Paulson received her second-straight MIAC Women's Swimmer-of-the-Year award. Individually, three was the magic number for the reigning National Swimmer-of-the-Year, as Paulson won third-straight MIAC titles in the 50-yard freestyle (23.02) and the 100- (55.39) and 200-yard backstroke (1:58.80) events, with NCAA 2016 Selection Times in all three races and a new meet record in the 200-back. Paulson also helped St. Thomas set a new MIAC record of 1:33.49 (ST16) while winning the 200-yard freestyle relay, and she also swam on victorious 400-yard freestyle (3:27.48, ST16) and 200- (1:43.71, ST16) and 400-yard medley relay (3:48.09, ST16) teams. Essentially, Paulson was a perfect 7-for-7, with each event she entered winning and meeting the 2016 NCAA Selection time.  

Diver-of-the-Year honors went to another familiar name, as St. Catherine's Jenna Nagy won the honor for the third time in her career. She was named the MIAC's top diver in 2014 and 2015, then capped her career with the award one more time in 2017. Nagy swept the MIAC titles on both boards, winning the 1-meter title Saturday with a stirring finals performance and a score of 438.35, to add to the 3-meter title she won (451.75) earlier in the weekend. Both scores were NCAA A Qualifying marks.

Nagy's coach, Jake Dunn, was honored by his peers as the 2017 MIAC Diving Coach-of-the-Year, and Women's Swimming Coach-of-the-Year honors were presented to Carleton's Andy Clark for his role in guiding the Knights to a top-three finish, with several impressive individual and relay performances.

After the Tommies, Gustavus finished solidly in second place in the final team standings with a total of 684.5 points. Clark's Carleton team rounded out the top three, edging Northfield rival St. Olaf 477-448. St. Catherine (282) just barely edged Saint Benedict (273.5) for fifth place. Macalester's 191 points were good for sixth, Hamline scored 151 to finish seventh and Concordia (127), Augsburg (89) and Saint Mary's (82) rounded out the rest of the standings.

In addition to Nagy's outstanding performance on the 1-meter board, the final women's diving event saw great scores throughout the finals. St. Olaf's Courtney Miller – last year's Diver-of-the-Year and defending 1-meter champ – also met the NCAA A Qualifying standard with a great score of 409.05. Augsburg's Madeline Moser totaled 373.50 points for a B Qualifying score and one of the Auggies' top highlights of the weekend. Divers 2-through-8 all posted B Qualifying marks.

The first swimming event saw a standout performance from a first-year swimmer, as St. Olaf's Caitlin Croasdell won the 1,650-yard freestyle with a B-cut time of 17:30.66. The other two All-Conference spots went to Gustavus sophomore Linnea Rizzo (17:40.65) – the defending champ in the event – and Sydney Hallmark (17:54.05). In fact, Gusties occupied spots 2-through-5 and they had five of the top eight.

In addition to Paulson's record-setting brilliance in the 200-back, another pair of decorated seniors also starred in a loaded field. Carleton's Maria Wetzel was the runner up with a B-cut time of 2:03.49, and Gustavus' Hayley Booher finished third with a time of 2:06.76. The championship heat saw three Tommies finish in the top six.

The women's 100-yard freestyle saw a trio of outstanding performances atop the medal stand, led by champion Caroline Mather of Carleton and her winning time of 51.44. Just 0.12 seconds back was St. Olaf's Claire Walters and defending champ Kate Reilly of Gustavus was third with a time of 52.00. All three All-Conference swimmers met the NCAA B cut time.  

St. Thomas' Nicole Herrli helped her team win the title by claiming her second-straight championship in the women's 200-yard breaststroke. Herrli repeated in the event thanks to a B-cut time of 2:21.46. Carleton rookie Ada Meyer continued her outstanding MIAC debut by swimming second in 2:24.26, and UST first-year Deidree Voss was right behind Meyer in third (2:24.33). Herrli and Voss led a group of six Tommies in the top eight.

One of the top individual moments of the 2017 Championships came in the women's 200-yard butterfly, as St. Thomas sophomore Katelyn Strauss shattered the previous MIAC and meet record of 2:06.45 with her time of 2:03.61, which met a 2016 Selection Time. Fellow UST swimmer Kirsten Nelson was second with a time of 2:09.51, and St. Olaf's Helen Jensen was third with a time of 2:11.28.

The meet ended the same way it began – with a St. Thomas relay win. The Tommies made it a clean sweep of all five relays with a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay as Tiana Molitor, Emma Paulson, Kate Smarjesse and Kate Reilly combined for a 2016 NCAA Selection Time of 3:27.48. St. Olaf also met the NCAA Selection Time in second with a mark of 3:28.29, and Carleton came in third, finishing in 3:33.31.  

Following each of Saturday evening's races, a short awards ceremony was held to honor the top eight finishers. The top three finishers in each event received medals and automatically earn All-Conference honors. Saturday's All-Conference honorees are listed below. Following the conclusion of the meet, there was an awards ceremony to honor the All-Sportsmanship Team, individual award-winners and team champions. The MIAC will have a full breakdown of the 2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving awards on its web site next week.

Fans can re-live all the action from an incredible three days via the 2017 MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships home page, which includes results, recaps, photos and more. Fans can also watch all six sessions on demand or order DVDs of the video webcast courtesy of Webcast America. Fans can continue the conversation on social media via the MIAC's FacebookTwitterInstagram and YouTube pages and the official event hashtag #MIACSD.

The MIAC thanks its gracious host, the University of Minnesota and the entire staff at the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center. The MIAC also thanks host schools Augsburg and Carleton, The Commons Hotel, Elsmore Swim Shop, Webcast America, Meet Manager Dave Luedtke and all the officials, announcers, timers and volunteers.

2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships - Session 6
Results | Team ScoresPhotos (For sale) | Archived VideoEvent Home Page | 


Women's Team Scores (final)

1. St. Thomas - 908
2. Gustavus - 684.5
3. Carleton - 477
4. St. Olaf - 448
5. St. Catherine - 282
6. Saint Benedict - 273.5
7. Macalester - 191
8. Hamline - 151
9. Concordia - 127
10. Augsburg - 89
11. Saint Mary's - 82
Women's Awards

Women's Swimmer-of-the-Year:
Emma Paulson, St. Thomas

Women's Diver-of-the-Year:
Jenna Nagy, St. Catherine

Swimming Coach-of-the-Year:
Andy Clark, Carleton

Diving Coach-of-the-Year:
 Jake Dunn, St. Catherine
2017 MIAC Women's All-Conference Individuals
1-meter Diving
1. Jenna Nagy, St. Catherine, Sr., 438.35, A
2. Courtney Miller, St. Olaf, Sr., 4:09.05, A
3. Madeline Moser, Augsburg, So., 373.50, B

1,650-yard Freestyle
1. Caitlin Croasdell, St. Olaf, Fy., 17:30.66, B
2. Linnea Rizzo, Gustavus, So., 17:40.65
3. Sydney Hallmark, Gustavus, So, 17:54.05

200-yard Backstroke
1. Emma Paulson, St. Thomas, Sr., 1:58.80, R3, M, ST16      
2. Maria Wetzel, Carleton, Sr., 2:03.49, B
3. Hayley Booher, Gustavus, Sr., 2:06.76

100-yard Freestyle
1. Caroline Mather, Carleton, So., 51.44, B
2. Claire Walters, St. Olaf, Sr., 51.56, B
3. Kate Reilly, Gustavus, Jr., 52.00, B

200-yard Breaststroke
1. Nicole Herrli, St. Thomas, Jr., 2:21.46, R, B   
2. Ada Meyer, Carleton, Fy., 2:24.26
3. Deidree Voss, St. Thomas, Fy., 2:24.33

200-yard Butterfly
1. Katelyn Strauss, St. Thomas, So., 2:03.61, M*, ST16   
2. Kirsten Nelson, St. Thomas, Fy., 2:09.51
3. Helen Jensen, St. Olaf, Fy., 2:11.29

400-yard Freestyle Relay
1. St. Thomas, 3:27.48, ST16
    (Tiana Molitor, Emma Paulson, Kate Smarjesse, Alex Howard)
2. Gustavus, 3?28.29, ST16
    (Nicole Lohman, Kennedy Holwerda, Maggie Webster, Kate Reilly)   
3. Carleton, 3:33.31
    (Alex Braiedy, Caroline Mather, Maria Wetzel, Allie Clark)

Key: M - Meet Record; M* - MIAC Record; R - Repeat Champion; R3 - Three-time Champion, R4 - Four-time Champion; A - NCAA 'A' Qualifying Standard; B - NCAA 'B' Qualifying Standard; ST16 - 2016 NCAA Selection Time; NCAA 11 - NCAA Diving Zone 11-Dive Qualifying Score.

2017 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships Home Page |