Feb. 21, 1997
Irish in First Headed Into Final Day
PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Notre Dame's women's swimming and diving team, trailing Miami by 103 points after the first event Friday, overtook the Hurricanes on the third day of competition at the Big East Swimming and Diving Championships at the Werblin Recreation Center at Rutgers University. The Irish lead the Hurricanes by a score of 459-424.5. Notre Dame's men's team improved to sixth place with 212.5 points after starting the night in seventh. Pittsburgh leads the men's competition with 498 points.
The freshmen duo of Liz Barger and Alison Newell lead the Irish as they took first and second in the 100 butterfly, posting NCAA consideration times on the way. Newell set the school record with her time of 55.86 in the trials in the morning session but Barger swam 56.03 in finals to edge Newell by .03 seconds. Laura Shepard and Lauren Relay placed ninth and 10th in the 100 butterfly to give the Irish four of the top 10 swimmers in the 100 butterfly.
Senior All-American Erin Brooks won her second consecutive Big East 100-yard backstoke title with her NCAA consideration time of 55.85, second fastest in school history. Another freshmen pair of Allison Hollis and Molly Beeler were fifth and sixth in the 100 backstroke as Hollis also posted an NCAA consideration time of 56.99. Shannon Suddarth and Brittany Kline took second and third in the 100 breaststroke with two more NCAA consideration times of 1:03.70 and 1:04.13 with Suddarth's 1:03.70 yet another school record.
Linda Gallo and Courtney South took second and third in the 200 freestyle as Gallo set another school record and provisionally qualified for the NCAA championship with her time of 1:50.72. The Irish capped off their night with a win in the 800 freestyle relay in a school record and NCAA consideration time of 7:25.69.
"We had a pretty terrific day," said women's head coach Bailey Weathers. "I was really proud of our team because we came back really well after a disappointing day on Thursday. We put two good sessions together on Friday which has put us in the drivers seat."
Notre Dame's men's team improved to sixth place as Steele Whowell finished second in the 100 breaststroke with his time 57.25. Matt Rose was 11th in 58.43 and Antonio Fonseca was 15th. Chris Fugate was seventh in the 100 backstroke ion 52.40 and Jeff Page was 14th. Herb Huesman placed sixth in the three-meter diving and Notre Dame's men's 800-meter relay team also placed sixth. Ray Fitzpatrick was seventh in the 200 freestyle, Robert Fetter was 12th in the 400 individual medley and Ry Beville was 14th in the 100 butterfly to close out Notre Dame successful day.
The 1,650 freestyle, 200 backstroke, 100 freestyle, 200 breaststroke, 200 butterfly and 400-yard freestyle relay highlight the action Saturday on the final day of the Big East championships.