March 21, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - The University of Notre Dame women's swimming team turned in another strong morning at the NCAA Championships Friday as personal records were plentiful highlighted by Emma Reaney's school-record swim in the 100 breaststroke that qualified her second for Friday night's final.
"We had an awesome morning of swimming," said head coach Brian Barnes. "Our 400 medley relay team was far more organized than yesterday and I was very pleased with the team's response in terms of how they approached the race and executed it. Bridget (Casey) laid it all out there in the 400 IM and showed courage and poise as she won her heat. Katie (Miller) has shown tremendous growth this season and has a bright future. There is so doubt in my mind that she will organize a great day of swims tomorrow. Christen (McDonough) had a poised swim in the 100 breast and it was right near her best time despite competing at her first NCAAs. That says a lot about her right there. Emma (Reaney) stepped up in her 100 breast swim and looked fantastic. I'm excited for her and for Notre Dame as she heads to the finals."
Reaney clinched her second All-America citation of the week with a strong showing in the 100 breast as she qualified second for the night's finals with a blistering time of 58.08. She led off with a time of 27.54 for her first 50 yards and 30.54 for the final 50.
With another All-America citation, Reaney is now tied for second in school history with nine All-America or honorable mention All-America scrolls in her career.
In the 400 IM, Miller placed 25th (4:11.66) and Casey took 45th in a personal-best time of 4:17.16. Since the end of last season, the Lower Gwynedd, Pa., has lowered her time in the event by over three seconds.
In addition to Reaney, McDonough also had a good swim in the 100 breast as she placed 27th and hovered around her personal best (1:00.65).
The 800 free relay team of Ryan, Reaney, Suzanne Bessire and Miller finished off the day with a seventh-place showing in the prelims as they competed against 12 teams in timed finals. The top 16 relays that didn't swim this morning will swim in the finals tonight.
Ryan got the Irish off to a phenomenal start in the event as she set a personal best with a 200 split of 1:46.37.
"Kelly's swim in the leadoff position was the highlight of the meet so far for me," said Barnes. "In the final swim of her Notre Dame career she stepped up and had a lifetime best. There is no bigger compliment that a swimmer can give a coaching staff than to end a career with a best time. She embraced the moment and made it count. It was so awesome to see and honestly I was inspired by it.
"After her teammates embraced her at the end of her swim, I told her that `I would do this all over again.' That at some point I hope to have a team full of Kelly Ryan's because we would have an amazing program. I'm going to miss her. She's been a huge part of the improvement that we have made over the last four years. She has taught me so much and it's inspiring to see how she finished career. She was teaching the coaching staff again what Notre Dame means to her. I also want to recognize Kate (assistant coach Kate Kovenock) for how much she has done for Kelly. She has been a huge part of her development here at Notre Dame."
Friday night's finals get underway at 8 p.m. (ET). Fans can follow along through ESPN3 and live results. Links for both are at the top of this story.
NCAA Championship Complete Results
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director