March 22, 2014
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - After making the swimming world pause and take a look at the University of Notre Dame one month ago by setting an American record in the 200-yard breaststroke, Irish junior Emma Reaney put the spotlight back on the South Bend campus by winning the national championship in the event Saturday night by breaking her own NCAA, U.S. Open and American record with a powerful and dominant swim against a loaded field. Her time of 2:04.06 gave her an impressive second and a half cushion over runner-up finishers Katie Olsen (Stanford) and Breeja Larson (Texas A&M), who tied for second with times of 2:05.88.
"I am just so proud I can do this for the University of Notre Dame because I am obsessed with my school," said Reaney. "I don't even think anyone would understand. I don't know right now. It's going to take a while to soak this one in."
The individual title, which is the first in program history, puts a cap on a spectacular junior campaign that saw her dominate the competition throughout the season.
"Well, it's been a couple years coming," said Reaney when asked about her 2013-14 season. "Brian (head coach Brian Barnes) is an amazing coach and he really knows what he's doing. I've basically just put all my trust into him and it's been working. This year has been a long time coming."
Reaney finishes the NCAA meet with three All-America trophies to up her career total to 10. The total breaks down to five All-America citations, which ties a school record, and five honorable mention All-America scrolls. The Lawrence, Kan., native now trails only former Irish great Carrie Nixon, who collected 12 during her career.
The race almost appeared over before it really got started as Reaney dominated from the get go. She had the fastest split every single lap, going out in a remarkable 59.35 for the first 100 and finishing it off with 1:04.71 the final 100.
"Emma knew early on that it was her race," said Barnes. "She attacked it and owned it. It was so obvious to everyone at the pool that the race was hers as soon as she hit her second pull out. It was an amazing swim, especially considering she did it under extreme pressure against an Olympic Gold Medalist.
"It's hard to put into words, but it's amazing for the program. Emma has proven time and time again that you can have elite-level success as a swimmer at Notre Dame."
After scoring 12 points in the 200 IM, 16 in the 100 breaststroke and 20 in the 200 breaststroke, Reaney single-handedly secured the Irish a 16th-place finish, which they shared with ACC foe NC State. Among the teams they beat were ACC members North Carolina, Miami, Virginia Tech, Florida State and Duke and regional foes Purdue, Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Michigan, Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Ohio State.
SATURDAY'S PRELIMS RECAP
The University of Notre Dame women's swimming team turned in another strong morning Saturday on the final day of competition at the 2014 NCAA Championships as four individuals competed in three different events throughout the session.
Reaney secured her third All-America trophy of the championships as she qualified second in the 200 breaststroke, while freshman Katie Miller shattered her personal best in the 200 back to finish 30 spots higher than she entered the meet.
Reaney, who has already finished seventh in the 200 IM and fourth in the 100 breast at this year's championships, will enter the Saturday night session just behind Olympian Breeja Larson (2:05.03). Reaney broke the American record in the event at the ACC Championships with a time of 2:04.34.
Miller entered the 200 back seeded 52nd with a time of 1:56.45 but demolished that previous mark as she jumped all the way up to 22nd with a time of 1:54.76.
Elsewhere in the prelims, senior Christen McDonough closed out her spectacular final season with the Irish by finishing 50th in the 200 breast (2:14.99) and junior Bridget Casey closed out her second consecutive NCAA Championships with a 32nd place showing in the 200 fly (1:57.93).
T-16. Notre Dame: 48 Points
Emma Reaney: 200 Breaststroke (2:04.06)
Emma Reaney: 200 IM / 100 Breaststroke / 200 Breaststroke
Emma Reaney: 100 Breaststroke (57.79) / 200 Breaststroke (2:04.06)
NCAA Championship Complete Results
Katie Miller: 1:54.76 (22nd - Prelims)
Bridget Casey: 1:57.93 (32nd - Prelims)
--Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director