Tommies open Swimming & Diving season in national spotlight

MIAC record-setter Katelyn Strauss returns to lead the Tommies women's team in 2017. (Photo: Mike Ekern)
MIAC record-setter Katelyn Strauss returns to lead the Tommies women's team in 2017. (Photo: Mike Ekern)

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The defending men's and women's team champions of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) will open the 2017-18 swimming and diving season on the national radar, as the University of St. Thomas earned national recognition in both College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Preseason Polls released on Thursday.

The Tommie women will open the new year ranked No. 11 in the nation after ending the 2016-17 campaign with a 14th-place finish at nationals. While replacing the production of Emma Paulsen – who ended her Tommie career as one of the most decorated student-athletes in program history with nine All-America honors and 18 Conference championships – will be no easy task, St. Thomas certainly has the depth to close the gap. Led by All-America junior Katelyn Strauss, who set a new Conference record with a time of 2:03.61 in the 200-yard butterfly at last year's MIAC Championships, the Tommies appear poised to make a run at a third straight Conference title.

St. Thomas' No. 23-ranked men's team returns an equally strong core, with a 42-man roster led by 15 seniors, including Bailey Biwer. Biwer placed 16th in the 200-yard freestyle at nationals last year, earning honorable mention All-America honors to go along with his six victories at the MIAC Championships.

The 2017-18 MIAC Swimming & Diving season officially kicked off last Friday, with Hamline, Macalester and St. Catherine competing in the Macalester Pentathlon. A larger sampling of Conference teams will be in action this Saturday at the UST Relays at St. Thomas. The 2018 MIAC Swimming & Diving Championships will be held February 15-17, 2018 at the University of Minnesota Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center in Minneapolis.


MIAC Men's Swimming and Diving Links: | Home Page | 2017-18 Schedule/Results | 2017-18 News | 2017-18 Athletes of the Week | 2018 MIAC Championships | Team Pages | Top Times | Archives | Record Book |

MIAC Women's Swimming and Diving Links: | Home Page | 2017-18 Schedule/Results | 2017-18 News | 2017-18 Athletes of the Week | 2018 MIAC Championships | Team Pages | Top Times | Archives | Record Book |


KEEP AN EYE ON
Tanner Sonnek | Jr. | Gustavus
The 2017 MIAC Swimmer of the Year and two-time All-American broke the Conference record in the 100-yard breaststroke in addition to claiming the 200-yard individual medley and 200-yard breaststroke crowns as a sophomore last year.

Hodd Gorman | Sr. | Hamline
Last season's third-place finisher in the 500-yard freestyle got off to an excellent start to his senior season last week with victories in the 100-yard individual medley and 100-yard freestyle at the Macalester Pentathlon.

Andrew Grabowski | Sr. | St. Thomas
Five-time MIAC diving champion and reigning Conference Diver of the Year Andrew Grabowski is back for one more season as a Tommie. Grabowski finished first in both the 1- and 3-meter diving events at last year's MIAC Championships.

Caroline Mather | Jr. | Carleton
Winner of the 100-yard freestyle at the 2017 MIAC Championships, Caroline Mather carried her momentum on to the national stage as a sophomore last year, earning All-America status with a seventh-place finish in that event to go along with an honorable mention All-America performance in the 50-yard freestyle.

Helen Jensen | So. | St. Olaf
With top-three finishes in three events at the 2017 MIAC Championships, Helen Jensen got her collegiate career off on the right foot last season. The Ole sophomore will look to continue that trend this year, building off her success in the 200-yard butterfly, 200-yard individual medley and 800-yard freestyle relay.

Alex Howard | Jr. | St. Thomas
Junior Alex Howard has been a part of nine MIAC Championship wins in her first two seasons, with six of them coming in 2017. Howard claimed victory in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle, as well as the 200-, 400-, and 800-yard freestyle relays and 400-yard medley relay.