Jan. 8, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
After two weeks of winter training in Florida, the women's swimming and diving team will return to its home pool for one of the toughest competitions of the season as the Irish play host to Michigan, Indiana and Illinois on Friday and Saturday at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.
The Irish come off a win against the University of Miami (Fla.), where the Notre Dame women dominated the Hurricanes, 154-88. Head coach Carrie Nixon and her squad will look to continue the success found in Florida with wins over the Big Ten schools.
"We had a great training trip," Nixon said. "It went really well and was probably one of our best ever. I think the girls are really excited to race. That was something we really wanted to emphasize this year during training. We wanted to come into the spring not in hard, hard practice mode, but in racing mode. I think we've done that and we're excited for this weekend. It's really tough competition. Michigan and Indiana are very good and Illinois is also good and always fights hard."
Both Michigan and Indiana travel to Notre Dame as top-25 teams with Michigan ranked 13th and Indiana ranked 22nd. The Irish, who were ranked previously in the season, will go into the competition not only looking to gain another win, but also looking to crack back into the top 25.
The Irish have already met four Big Ten teams in competition this season, including Minnesota, Purdue, Northwestern and Wisconsin, all in dual-meet competition. This weekend's meet will have championship style scoring.
While the women's squad has a balanced team with success coming from each class, the freshmen swimmers have been able to excel for Notre Dame, filling in the gaps left by graduated seniors. Freshmen standouts Katie Casey, Lauren Sylvester, Amywren Miller and Samantha Maxwell have each swam top times for the Irish while capturing individual wins along the way.
"Our freshmen have made a huge difference on the team this season," Nixon said. "Our class last year, the seniors that we lost to graduation, was a really solid group. For our freshmen to come in and fill those shoes immediately has been a really pleasant surprise."
Along with the strong freshmen class, the entire squad will work together this weekend to defend their home pool and defeat the three teams.
Competition for the weekend begins on Friday, Jan. 11 at 4 p.m. and resumes on Saturday, Jan. 12 with two sessions, the first slated to start at 9 a.m. and the final session set for 5 p.m. All competition will take place at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.