Aug 19, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. -
The University of Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team released a demanding 2013-14 schedule Monday, as the Irish will compete against 12 teams that finished in the top 40 at the 2013 NCAA Championships, including dual meets with seven of those squads. Four of those teams will make at least one appearance at Rolfs Aquatic Center this season.
"Our schedule this year appears to be very rigorous and offer great competition from several different conferences," said head coach Brian Barnes. "The coaching staff always tries to schedule a tough slate for the program because we feel like the team learns a lot about competing by going against challenging competition on a weekly basis."
After opening with the 49th version of the Dennis Stark Relays, where they will compete against national powers Auburn and Indiana in addition to Illinois State, Cleveland State, Oakland and Valparaiso (Oct. 11), the Irish will play host to the Tigers and Hoosiers in a tri-meet the following day (Oct. 12). Auburn (13th) and Indiana (11th) finished just ahead of Notre Dame (16th) last season at NCAAs.
"Our opening weekend is a great way to kick off the season," said Barnes. "The Dennis Stark Relays are always a fun event and are one of our program's best traditions. The next day we jump right into some very stiff competition with Auburn and Indiana. Both days will be a great way to get the 2013-14 season going."
The month of November will see the Irish compete in three dual meets and one tri-meet. November 1 Notre Dame heads to West Lafayette, Ind., to battle Purdue. The Boilermakers finished 19th at the NCAA meet last year. A week later (Nov. 9) the Irish travel to Pittsburgh for a tri-meet with ACC foes Pitt and Virginia Tech. The Hokies tied for 24th last year at NCAAs.
Notre Dame closes out November with a pair of dual meets at Rolfs Aquatic Center against Michigan State (Nov. 15) and Wisconsin (Nov. 16). The Spartans took 36th last year at the NCAA meet, while the Badgers were one spot ahead of the Irish at 15th.
The Irish close out the fall portion of its schedule December 6-8, as the team will head to Iowa City, Iowa for the three-day Hawkeye Invitational. Last year the meet saw a ranked Michigan squad and a handful of other Big Ten squads compete in one of the final national meets before Christmas.
In a yearly tradition of getting away from the winter weather of South Bend, the Irish will make their way South as the swimming team heads to Nassau, Bahamas while the diving team ventures to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The week will primarily be a training trip, but the swimming team will compete against Truman State, while the diving squad will participate in the College Swimming Coaches Association of America 2014 Forum.
Back in the Midwest, Notre Dame gets back to dual-meet action Jan. 11 when it heads to Evanston, Ill., to compete against Northwestern and Michigan. The Wolverines placed 36th at last season's NCAA Championships.
The following week the Irish are back home to play host to long-time rival Louisville (Jan. 18). Despite falling to the Cardinals at the BIG EAST Championships, the Irish (No. 16) bested Louisville (No. 22) at the NCAA meet by six spots.
Heading into February, the Irish close out the 2013-14 home season with the annual Shamrock Invitational (Jan. 31-Feb. 1) and a dual meet against Cleveland State (Feb. 8).
A first for the program takes place Feb. 19-22 as Notre Dame heads to Greensboro, N.C., for the Atlantic Coast Conference Swimming and Diving Championships. There the Irish will compete against six teams that finished in the top 40 of last year's NCAA Championships - North Carolina (No. 12), Virginia (No. 18), Miami (No. 20), Virginia Tech (T-No. 24), Florida State (No. 32) and N.C. State (T-No. 37).
"This year's ACC meet will be a learning experience for everyone as we get familiar with a new league," said Barnes. "The meet will offer a much deeper field than in previous years and we are excited to compete against so many teams that joined us at NCAAs last year."
Following the ACC meet, the Irish look nationally as the divers compete in the NCAA Zone C qualifying meet (March 13-15) before all swimming and diving qualifiers head to Minneapolis, Minn., for the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships (March 20-22).
Last year the Irish set a new school mark with their 16th-place finish. They also racked up 55 points, which was second in school history. Junior Emma Reaney had a breakout meet, scooping in two All-America scrolls (100 and 200 breast) and two honorable mention All-America certificates (200 IM, 400 medley relay). In addition, Kelly Ryan (200 back, 400 medley relay), Kim Holden (200 back, 400 medley relay), Jenny Chiang (3-meter dive) and Catherine Galletti (400 medley relay) also brought home honorable mention All-America honors.
For more information on Notre Dame women's swimming and diving, stay tuned to UND.com or follow the Irish on Facebook (Facebook.com/NDwSwimmingDiving) or Twitter (@NDwSwimming).