Men’s swimming and diving win third meet, women place second

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While most of St. Thomas was outside cheering for the Tommie football team in chilly temperatures and snow flurries Saturday, things were heating up in the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex pool.

In Saturday’s St. Thomas Invitational, a two-day swimming and diving meet, the men’s team won its third consecutive meet and the women’s team took second place. Both teams were coming off Nov. 20 victories at Macalester.

Men’s team wins 13 events in victory

The men’s swimming and diving team won 13 events and scored 1,128.5 points to top UW-Lacrosse (967.5) and Macalester (414).

Freshman Ben Henrickson was involved in five of the wins, including winning the 50 free, winning the 100 free, anchoring two winning relays and swimming in the winning 400 free relay.

The Tommies had plenty of other winners during the day. Sophomore Michael Hoelterhoff contributed to the winning 200 medley relay, 400 medley relay and the 400 free relay. Sophomore Ben Ruhme won the 400 individual medley and 200 fly. Senior Grant Frost won the 100 and 200 breastrokes. Sophomore Ethan Nimens, junior Erik Huls and sophomore Sam Rauchwarter also collected wins for the team.

The team is getting better as the season continues, senior Andrew Spratt said.

“Undoubtedly we’re getting faster,” he said. “That’s just the nature of the season.”

The St. Thomas Invitational marks the halfway point for the season, but the Tommies won’t have a mid-season taper before January, Spratt said. A taper is a reduction in workload following a period of high-intensity training.

“Even without it, I know a lot of our swimmers are hitting some of their best pre-taper times already, which is a fantastic sign with the bulk of our training still to come in January,” Spratt said. “January is a big month for us, and being where we are now in the beginning of December, I think means a lot for this year’s team.”

Women’s team led by senior Becca Ney

Senior Becca Ney won the women’s 50 free and was involved in five second-place finishes Saturday to help the women’s team take second place with 797 points. UW-Lacrosse took a commanding victory with 1156.5 points, while St. Thomas, St. Catherine (689.5), Macalester (320) and Augsburg (12) trailed behind.

Ney took second in the 100 and 200 free; the 400 and 800 relays; and the 200 medley relay.

“Individually, I feel good about my times for this point of the season,” Ney said. “In most of my events I am doing better than I was at this point last season, so that is exciting.  “

Despite trailing behind UW-Lacrosse, Ney said she was happy with how the team performed Saturday.

“I think we swam really well today compared with the rest of the season,” she said. “The meet was a little shorter than we anticipated, so a lot of people had back-to-back swims, but they still swam great even without a ton of rest.”

Freshman Karly Harrod also took second in the 100 and 200 breaststrokes, and sophomore Katie Bromback added more second-place finishes in the 400 IM and the 200 fly.

Hosting St. John’s and St. Ben’s next weekend

Both the men’s and women’s teams are gearing up to host St. John’s and St. Ben’s next weekend.

“We will try to get some good stroke work in this week in order to prepare ourselves for St. Ben’s [and] St.John’s,” Ney said. “We are all hoping for a win, so we are very excited to host.”

Spratt added: “The St. John’s meet, I know for a lot of us, is one of the most fun meets of the season. We’ve already been in a meet with St John’s this season, and the friendly rivalry brings a good atmosphere to the meet, especially for the first time being able to host them in our fast new pool.”

The meet, between only St. Thomas and St. John’s/St. Ben’s, starts at 1 p.m. Saturday.

Miles Trump can be reached at