The Notre Dame swimming community came together last night - and shared stories, smiles, hugs and tears - at a Mass of Remembrance on the 20th anniversary of the University of Notre Dame women's swimming team bus accident. Notre Dame's president, Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., presided, and its president emeritus, Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., delivered the homily at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart. Shortly after midnight on Jan. 24, 1992, in the midst of a heavy snowstorm, a bus bringing the Irish women's swimming team back to campus from a meet at Northwestern University slid off the Indiana Toll Road and rolled over. Meghan Beeler from Granger,Ind., and Colleen Hipp from St. Louis, both freshmen, lost their lives in the accident. Most of the other swimmers, coaches and staff were injured, including Haley Scott, also a freshman, who was paralyzed for more than a week. Some 18 hours after the accident, Father Malloy presided at a Mass in the Basilica for the Notre Dame community to mourn and pray. The Mass on Tuesday was in memory of Meghan and Colleen, in thanksgiving for healing, and in appreciation to members of the Notre Dame and South Bend communities who responded at the time of the accident and beyond. Father Malloy talked about being in a hotel room in Washington, D.C., when he received a call with details of the accident. He flew back to campus the next morning and immediately was driven to the crash site alongside the Toll Road, where he remembered seeing personal belongings strewn by the roadside. The current Irish women's swimming team attended last night, all wearing their long blue winter parkas with Notre Dame on the back that became so familiar in conjunction with the tragedy 20 years ago.
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