2019 MIAC Men's Swimming & Diving Championship Preview

John Loepfe has won both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke races at each of the last two conference championships.
John Loepfe has won both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke races at each of the last two conference championships.

MINNEAPOLIS – The Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) is set to open its 2019 Swimming and Diving Championships on Thursday.

Eight men's teams from around the MIAC will compete in an expanded four-day meet held Thursday-Sunday at one of the nation's premier facilities, the University of Minnesota's Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. Following last season's meet, MIAC membership voted in favor of a one-year trial to expand the conference championship from three days to four.

The University of St. Thomas will be defending its MIAC title for the third consecutive year after the Tommies locked down a fourth straight conference crown - the 15th in program history - last February. UST's current four-meet winning streak is tied for the fifth-longest in MIAC history, trailing St. Olaf's streak of 20 (1980-99), Macalester's 12 (1961-72), Gustavus' six (1955-60) and five (2002-06), and St. Thomas' five (1947-51). Macalester (1929-32) and Hamline (1973-76) also won four consecutive MIAC men's swimming and diving championships. St. Olaf holds the record for total men's swimming and diving MIAC Championships won with 30.

The 2019 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships will be held Thursday, Feb. 14, through Sunday, Feb. 17, with two sessions each day. Thursday's preliminary session will consist only of the men's three-meter diving competition and will begin at 6:00 p.m. (doors open at 5:00 p.m.). Finals for the men's three-meter dive, along with the finals for the men's and women's 800 freestyle relays and 200 medley relays will begin at 7:15 p.m. on Thursday. Morning prelim sessions will be held on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, all beginning at 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 9:00 a.m.). The evening championship sessions on those days will all begin at 6:30 p.m. Doors will open on Friday and Saturday at 5:00 p.m., with doors opening for Sunday's finale at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are available at a single-session rate, with all-session passes also available for fans who plan to attend the entire event. Single-session passes cost $10 for adults and $5 for students, and all-session passes are $60 for adults and $25 for students. Heat sheets are included in the cost of admission. Children ages 5 and under are admitted free, and MIAC passes will be honored for all sessions. No other passes or discounts will be accepted.

All sessions will also be broadcast live online thanks to Webcast America, and fans will be able to watch archived video of each session following the event via Webcast America's site. "Live" results will be available online throughout the meet, with official finishes posted to the MIAC website shortly after each session.


FOLLOW THE ACTION
The MIAC Swimming and Diving Championship homepage features the complete event schedule, qualifying standardspsych sheetvenue information, and ticket policy. The site will be updated throughout the event with heat sheets, stat links, results, recaps, and photos. Fans can also monitor MIAC men's swimming and diving on-the-go thanks to the MIAC mobile app, which is a free download for both Apple and Android devices.

| Championship Schedule | Qualifying Standards | Psych Sheet | Top Times | Diving Leaderboard |


IN THE POLLS
St. Thomas opened the year ranked No. 16 in the TYR/CSCAA Top 25 Poll. The Pre-NCAA Poll will be released on February 27.


FOR THE RECORD
The MIAC is in the process of overhauling its sport record books to provide a better historical perspective of the Conference and the accomplishments of its student-athletes over the last century. The 2019 MIAC Men's Swimming & Diving Record Book contains annual Conference championship information, all-time award winners, MIAC and program record-holders, and more. The information included in the record book is based on available data and research for additional historical documents is ongoing.


KEEP AN EYE ON
Carleton's Andrew Chang (So. | Vancouver, Wash. | Union) will enter the 2019 MIAC Championships with top-10 times in both the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events. Chang clocked a 53.07 in the 100 fly and touched the wall in 2:01.22 in the 200 fly back in January to help the Knights top the crosstown rival Oles in a dual for the first time in a quarter-century.

One of the most accomplished swimmers in MIAC history, Tanner Sonnek (Sr. | North Mankato, Minn. | Mankato West) is the two-time defending champion in the 100-yard breaststroke and will be looking to make it a four-year sweep of the 200-yard breaststroke races at the MIAC Championships. He set the meet records in both competitions last year and also has a conference victory in the 200-yard individual medley (2017) to his name. Named MIAC Swimmer of the Year as a sophomore in 2017, Sonnek currently ranks first among Conference swimmers in the 100 breaststroke (55.83), 200 breaststroke (2:04.98), and 200 individual medley (53.60).

Hamline's Nicholas Grivna (So. | Blaine, Minn. | Spring Lake Park) clocked the seventh-best 200-yard butterfly time in the MIAC this season with a 2:01.11 in December. Grivna - who became the Pipers' first MIAC Athlete of the Week honoree in men's swimming and diving since February 2015 when he was recognized with the award last November - has racked up individual victories for HU in multiple events all season and figures to be a factor in several races this weekend.

Macalester distance swimmer Paul Reischmann (Sr. | St. Petersburg, Fla. | Shorecrest Prep) will be looking to reclaim the conference title in the 1,650-yard freestyle - an event he won in 2017 with a program-record time of 16:05.02. The senior also holds the Scots' record in the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:43.77) and enters the 2019 MIAC Championships leading the conference in both events at 10:04.54 in the 1,000 and 16:40.43 in the 1,650.

Mitchell Dockendorf (So. | St. Stephen, Minn. | Sartell-St. Stephen) has developed into a leader for Saint John's in just his second season of competition. The sophomore swimmer currently ranks third in the MIAC with a time of 52.64 in the 100-yard backstroke and boasts a time of 1:59.86 in the 200-yard backstroke, good for seventh-best in the conference.

Griffin Rades (So. | Shawano, Wis.) had a monster debut at last year's MIAC Championships, setting four Saint Mary's program records with his times in the 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke, and 200- and 400-yard individual medleys. Rades has registered on the MIAC's top times list in seven different events as a sophomore this season, with his best finish coming in the 200-yard backstroke at 2:07.63.

St. Olaf's John Loepfe (Jr. | La Crescent, Minn.) has established himself as the "King of the Backstroke" since his MIAC debut two seasons ago. Loepfe has won both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke races at each of the last two conference championships and will look to keep his streaks alive in 2019. He currently leads the conference with a 50.18 in the 100 and 1:52.95 in the 200. He also boasts the MIAC's best time in the 100-yard butterfly at 50.04.

A conference champion in the 50- and 100-yard freestyles, as well as the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays and 200-yard medley relays last year, St. Thomas senior Tom Negaard (Sr. | Stevens Point, Wis.) leads a very experienced St. Thomas lineup. Negaard will enter his final MIAC meet with the conference's best time in the 100 free at 46.97, and ranks among the league's top-five in the 50 free (third), 100 back (fourth), 100 fly (fourth), and 100 IM (second).