MIAC swimmers & divers set for NCAA Championships

MIAC swimmers & divers set for NCAA Championships

SHENANDOAH, Texas – The 2017 NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Wednesday through Saturday in Shenandoah, Texas, and the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) will be extremely well-represented with 11 individuals qualifying in 19 total events and six qualified relay teams all in action.

The MIAC student-athletes will have a lot of opportunities to make a splash on the national stage, with seven individual qualifiers and six relay teams on the women's side – led by reigning National Swimmer-of-the-Year Emma Paulson of St. Thomas. The men have four swimmers who qualified in six events. Beyond those qualifiers, the MIAC will also have numerous optional entries, as all qualified swimmers have the option to compete in up to three events.


The women's list is again led by Paulson, who returns as the defending national champion in each of her three individual events – the 50-yard freestyle, the 100-yard backstroke and the 200-yard backstroke. She enters the meet seeded second in the 50-free (23.02) and 100-back (55.39) and third in the 200-back (1:58.80).

Paulson will also swim on all four qualified Tommie relay teams – the 200-yard freestyle relays (seeded second), the 200-yard medley relay (seeded 10th), the 400-yard freestyle relay (seeded 11th) and the 400-yard medley relay (seeded 12th). Paulson will be joined by Haley Cassens, Tiana Molitor and Melissa Rose in the 200-medley. She'll team with Alexandra Howard, Molitor and Katelyn Strauss in the 200-free. Howard, Paulson, Rose and Strauss make up the 400-medley team and Howard, Molitor, Paulson and Kathryn Smarjesse will swim in the 400-free relay.

Strauss also qualified as an individual in the 200-yard butterfly, where she's seeded seventh with a time of 2:03.61, and will be an optional entry in the 100-yard butterfly. Howard will be an optional entry in the 200-yard freestyle, as will Rose in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The Gustavus women are also well-represented with Kathleen Reilly qualifying in the 50-free (4:28.03, 17th) and Gustie relay teams qualifying in the 200-freestyle (seeded 10th) and 400-freestyle (seeded 14th). Reilly will team up with Kennedy Holwerda, Nicole Lohman and Margaret Webster in both races. The Gusties will also be optional entries in the 200-medley relay, 400-medley relay and 800-freestyle relay. Reilly will be an optional entry in the 100-fly and 100-free and Webster will be an optional entry in the 50-free field.

St. Catherine, Carleton and St. Olaf also have individuals headed to Texas, led by MIAC Diver-of-the-Year Jenna Nagy, as the St. Kate's senior qualified for nationals on both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards. Carleton's Maria Wetzel qualified in the 200-back (2:01.78, 11th) and 400-yard individual medley (4:28.03, 17th) and will add an entry in the 200-yard individual medley, and fellow Knight Caroline Mather is seeded eighth in the 50-free (23.32) and 18th in the 100-free (51.44) with an optional entry in the 200-free. St. Olaf's Claire Walters also qualified for nationals in both the 50-free (23.48, 21st) and 100-free (51.55, 21st) and is an optional entry in the 100-fly.

On the men's side, Gustavus will send a pair of swimmers, and St. Thomas and St. Olaf each had one swimmer qualify for nationals. MIAC Swimmer-of-the-Year Tanner Sonnek qualified for the Gusties in the 100-breast (55.10, eighth) and 200-breast (2:02.12, 14th) and will be an optional entry in the 200-IM. Teammate Matthew Allison qualified in the 50-free (20.49, 15th) and he'll also be an optional entry in the 100- and 200-free races.

St. Thomas' Bailey Biwer qualified in a pair of events. He's seeded eighth in the 500-free (4:28.61) and 15th in the 200-free (1:39.64) and he'll add an optional entry in the 100 free. St. Olaf's John Loepfe qualified in the 100-back (49.48, 14th), and will add optional entries in the 200-back and 200-IM.

The championships will be held at the Conroe ISD Natatorium in Shenandoah, Texas.  The Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference and the City of Shenandoah will serve as hosts.  A total of 527 participants (479 swimmers and 48 divers) will compete in the championships.

Student-athletes qualified for the swimming portion of the championships by meeting the established minimum time for the events in which they entered.  Divers will be determined by performances achieved at the regional diving meets Feb. 24-25.  The complete lists of all swimmers competing in the championships  - including team-by-team entries and the officials psych sheets - are available at http://www.usaswimming.org/ncaa.

NCAA.com will video stream all sessions Wednesday through Saturday of the championships.

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