Mullee kick-starts men’s and women’s swimming championships

Junior All-American Peter Mullee started St. Thomas off at the NCAA Division III Swimming and Diving Championships Wednesday, finishing fourth in the 50-yard freestyle preliminaries with a time of 20.51 seconds.

<p>caption (Gina Dolski/TommieMedia)</p>
Junior Grant Frost and his 400 medley relay team compete Thursday. (Gina Dolski/TommieMedia)

Mullee will swim again at 6 p.m. Wednesday in the finals at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. The championships run through Saturday with daily preliminary races at 10 a.m. and finals at 6 p.m.

None of the other Tommie swimmers who competed Wednesday qualified for the finals. Sophomore Erik Huls placed 38th in the 50 freestyle preliminaries. Junior Becca Ney finished 20th in the 50 freestyle. Senior John Stark, Mullee, Huls and freshman Michael Hoelterhoff finished 12th in the 200 medley.

The next couple days will be hectic for the men’s and women’s swimmers.

Men’s team:

  • Mullee will swim in the 400 medley relay Thursday as the ninth seed. Friday he’ll compete in the 100 backstroke as the No. 1 seed. Saturday he’ll swim the 200 backstroke as the No. 1 seed as well as in the 400 freestyle relay as an eighth seed.
  • Sophomore Erik Huls will swim Thursday in the 100 butterfly as the 11th seed.
  • Freshman Sam Rauchwarter will compete Thursday in the 200 freestyle as the ninth seed.
  • Mulleem Huls, junior Grant Frost and freshman Sam Rauchwarter will swim in Thursday’s 400 medley relay.
  • Mullee, Huls, Hoelterhoff and Rauchwarter compete in Saturday’s 400 freestyle relay.

At last year’s NCAA meet, Mullee placed second in the 200 backstroke and ninth in the 100 backstroke. Huls placed 12th in the 100 butterfly and also competed in the 100 freestyle.

Women’s team:

  • Ney will swim Thursday in the 200 freestyle as a 12th seed. Saturday she’ll swim seeded sixth in the 100 freestyle.
  • Senior Jena Root will compete Friday seeded third in the 100 backstroke. Saturday she’ll swim in the 200 backstroke as the 24th seed.

This is the second NCAA championship appearance for Ney and Root.

Root earned All-American honors at the 2009 NCAA meet with a seventh place finish in the 100 backstroke finals. Ney placed 14th in the 100 freestyle.

The men won the MIAC conference title for the first time since 1954 and the women took third place in the MIAC championships.

Rebecca Omastiak and Shane Kitzman contributed to this report.

Katie Broadwell can be reached at