New Prague, Minn. / New Prague
St. Thomas' women's swimming and diving hosted its final regular-season meet of the season, and the Tommies and junior Cassandra Panka (New Prague, Minn.) both performed well and appear ready for the upcoming conference championships. Panka finished in the top three in all three of her individual swims, with two of her times eclipsing the previous meet records. For her record-setting performance, Panka was named the MIAC Women's Swimming and Diving Athlete-of-the-Week.
Panka's best performance in a day full of highlights came in the 500-yard freestyle. She won the race with a new meet record time of 5:15.79. She added a second-place finish in the 200-yard backstroke with a time of 2:10.53, and she was third in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:57.63. Her 200-free time also eclipsed the previous meet record and was just 0.17 seconds behind the winner and new record-holder. Her times in those three races all rank in the top eight in the MIAC this season.
The Tommies and Panka hope to be peaking at the perfect time. St. Thomas will take this weekend off to prepare for the 2014 MIAC Swimming and Diving Championships, which will be held Feb. 13-15 at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center in Minneapolis. The MIAC meet will crown the conference's team and individual champions with All-Conference honors and individual awards also on the line.