Jan. 10, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After a full week and then some of training and fun in Nassau, Bahamas and Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the University of Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team is ready for the first competition of 2014 as the Irish dual Michigan, Northwestern and Rutgers at 2 p.m. ET (1 p.m. CT) Saturday in Evanston, Ill.
The Irish (4-3) are just about five weeks away from their first Atlantic Coast Conference Championship meet and got back to work after Christmas with their annual training trip South with the swimmers heading to Nassau and the divers venturing to Fort Lauderdale.
Head coach Brian Barnes was with the swimmers in the Bahamas and praised the group for an outstanding trip.
"A training trip in the middle of winter break is perfect for the team because they are able to concentrate solely on training with school not in session," said Barnes. "We were able to increase the intensity and I thought the team responded well. I challenged the team to go down there with the intention of getting better and they did just that. We had a heck of a time. The team also improved their team chemistry as they put in hard work and showed determination all while displaying positive attitudes.
"The opportunities to get better are getting less as we move closer to championship season so we are pleased that we were able to get the second semester off to a great start on this trip."
While the swimmers were in Nassau, the divers had a week in Fort Lauderdale that culminated in the CSCAA 78th annual Mike Pepe 1-Meter meet, where junior Allison Casareto took second (288.05 points) to highlight a contingent of four Irish women's divers that competed against Oakland, Ohio and Arkansas.
The divers are coming off an outstanding fall as Casareto along with the sophomore tandem of Lindsey Streepey and Emma Gaboury all locked up spots at the NCAA Zone C meet in the three diving disciplines (1M, 3M and platform). Eight times the Irish earned a first-place finish in either the 1- or 3-meter dive highlighted by a Casareto victory on the 1-meter at the elite Hawkeye Invitational against 24 competitors. Casareto and Streepey each earned ACC Women's Diver of the Week accolades during the fall.
Not to be outdone, the swimmers put together a fine fall campaign of its own as personal bests fell on an almost weekly basis. Junior Emma Reaney enters the spring as the top competitor in the 200 breaststroke in the country after her school-record performance at the Iowa Invitational in December (2:05.85). Reaney is also sixth in the nation in the 100 breast (59.22) and 200 IM (1:55.18). For her efforts, the Lawrence, Kan., native earned four ACC Women's Swimmer of the Week awards.
Elsewhere, senior Christen McDonough sits 21st in the country in the 100 breast (1:00.51) and three relay teams are ranked in the top 25 nationally. The 200 free relay squad of McDonough, senior Kelly Ryan, sophomore Catherine Galletti and Reaney are 24th (1:31.55), while the 200 medley relay team of freshman Catherine Mulquin and Reaney, Galletti and Ryan sit 21st (1:39.80). Finally, the 400 medley relay team of freshman Katie Miller, Reaney, junior Courtney Whyte and Ryan are 15th (3:36.84).
"We had a very good fall as we won four dual meets in a row and then took the Hawkeye Invitational to end the first semester," said Barnes. "The highlight for us was definitely Iowa as we performed so well as a team as many busted out with personal-best performances."
The Irish are seeing the Wolverines, Wildcats and the Scarlet Knights for the first time this season, but are very familiar with all three opponents. Rutgers is a former BIG EAST foe, while Michigan (185-115) and Northwestern (205-95) fell to Notre Dame last season at Rolfs Aquatic Center.
"All the teams we will see Saturday are in similar situations," said Barnes. "All had training trips and all will be competing for the first time in 2014. We will enter the meet looking to be competitive as we approach this weekend as one leg of the journey to the ACC meet. We have our eyes on the championship portion of the season so we need to get the second semester started on the right foot by competing well against these three teams."
For fans that can't make the trip to the Northwestern Aquatic Center, live results will be available with a link available at UND.com.
Saturday's Order of Events
200 Medley Relay
400 Free Relay
2013-14 School Records
Emma Reaney - 2:05.85
ACC Rankings (Top 3 Only)
1. Emma Reaney - 59.22
1. Emma Reaney - 2:05.85
1. Emma Reaney - 1:55.18
200 Medley Relay
400 Medley Relay
NCAA Rankings (Top 25 Only)
6. Reaney - 59.22
21. Christen McDonough - 1:00.51
1. Reaney - 2:05.85
6. Reaney - 1:55.18
200 Free Relay
24. McDonough / Ryan / Galletti / Reaney - 1:31.55
200 Medley Relay
21. Mulquin / Reaney / Galletti / Ryan - 1:39.80
400 Medley Relay
15. Miller / Reaney / Whyte / Ryan - 3:36.84
-- Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director