MINNEAPOLIS – The 2018 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (MIAC) Swimming and Diving Championships got off to an exciting start, as teams from around the league brought their A-game to the Jean K. Freeman Aquatic Center for a pair of sessions on Thursday.
Thursday night's first set of finals saw one MIAC record broken, four 2017 NCAA selection times, four NCAA B-cut times, three NCAA 'A' Qualification diving scores, and five NCAA 'B' Qualification diving scores. After one day, the defending champion University of St. Thomas leads in both the men's and women's team standings, but Gustavus Adolphus College is within striking distance on both sides.
The Tommies were led by junior Katelyn Strauss, who clocked in at 4:59.92 for first-place in the 500-yard women's freestyle and was part of the top-finishing women's 400-yard medley relay team. Not to be outdone, Gustavus junior Maggie Webster claimed a pair of firsts for herself, topping the field in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.25 and aiding the Gustie effort in the 200-yard freestyle relay team win.
On the men's side, both UST junior Tom Negaard and senior Bailey Biwer earned a pair of first-place medals as teammates on the 200-yard freestyle relay team that set a new MIAC record with a time of 1:21.44, and as individuals, with Biwer winning the 500-yard freestyle and Negaard taking the 50-yard freestyle. Senior Andrew Grabowski had another outstanding Conference championship showing as well, winning the 1-meter diving competition with a score of 469.85.
Following each of Thursday 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. Thursday's All-Conference honorees are listed below.
The meet will continue with two more sessions apiece Friday and Saturday. The morning sessions will begin at 10:30 a.m. (doors open at 9 a.m.) and will feature preliminary races, with the evening championship sessions starting at 6:30 p.m. (doors open at 5:30 p.m.). Saturday's championship doors will open at 2:30 p.m. for preliminary heats of the 1,650-yard freestyle and diving.
Tickets are available at a single-session rate, and all-session passes are 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 $50 for adults and $25 for students. Heat sheets are included in the cost of admission. Children 5 and under are admitted free, and MIAC passes will be honored for all six sessions. No other passes or discounts will be accepted.
As in years past, all six sessions will be broadcast live online thanks to Webcast America. Fans will be able to watch archived video of each session following the event Webcast America's site. Real-time stats are available online throughout the event for fans following the action from afar.
The MIAC Swimming and Diving Championship homepage features the complete event schedule, psych sheet, ticket policy and venue information. 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.
The St. Thomas 200-yard freestyle relay team of Tom Negaard, Bailey Biwer, Hunter Neilsen and Charles Hynes set new MIAC, meet and team records with a time of 1:21.44 in the finals, breaking the previous MIAC record of 1:21.55 set by Carleton in 2013.
Augsburg first-year Morgan Mangel set a new Auggie record in the women's 50-yard freestyle with a time of 25.35 in the prelims, breaking the previous mark of 25.39 set by Elizabeth Hilgendorf in 2014.
Concordia first-year Amy Warren broke her own school record in the 200-yard individual medley by racing to a 2:17.13, nearly a full second faster than her previous mark.
Gustavus rookie swimmer Nolan Larson made a name for himself in the men's 200-yard individual medley, winning the race with a school-record time of 1:51.23.
Gustavus junior Maggie Webster secured an NCAA 2017 selection time in the finals, but set a new program record in the prelims with a time of 23.13 in the women's 50-yard freestyle.
Saint Mary's freshman Griffin Rades broke the Cardinals' program record in the 200-yard individual medley not once, but twice on Day 1 of the Championships, touching the wall in 1:58.92 in prelims and besting his own mark less than 12 hours later with a finals time of 1:56.35.
St. Catherine sophomore McKenna Peterson broke the oldest record in program history on Thursday with a finals time of 5:15.31 in the 500-yard freestyle. The previous record of 5:17.51 was set by Peggy Kemp in 1981. Peterson missed the mark by one one-hundredth of a second in prelims.
St. Thomas junior Katelyn Strauss broke her own school record in the 500 freestyle by nearly two seconds, clocking in at 4:59.92 in finals.
2018 MIAC SWIMMING AND DIVING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Men's Team Scores (after day one)
Women's Team Scores (after day one)
2018 MIAC Men's All-Conference Individuals
2018 MIAC Women's All-Conference Individuals
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; ST17 - 2017 NCAA Selection Time; $ - NCAA Diving Zone 11-Dive Qualifying Score.