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Women’s Swimming: Irish down Louisville, Oakland at Invitational

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 30, 2006

In its last meet before the Big East Championships, the women’s swimming and diving team finished off the season in style, defeating both Louisville and Oakland in the Shamrock Invitational.

With the Shamrock Invitational following a new format this season, all three teams competed against each other, but the scoring took place as if multiple dual meets were occurring.

Notre Dame left no doubt who the best team was this weekend as it defeated Oakland 258-109 and fellow Big East competitor Louisville, 218-148.

The Irish jumped out to a quick start on Friday night as they won all five swimming competitions and took second and third place in the lone diving event.

The better sign from Friday night, though, was the fact the team is still showing signs of improvement.

With a time of 4:52.36 in the 500 freestyle, freshman Casey Wagner not only won the event, but also logged her first NCAA ‘B’ cut time of the season. Not wanting to be outdone, teammate Jessica Stephens posted an NCAA ‘B’ cut time in the 200 Individual Medley with a time of 2:03.63.

Well ahead after Friday night, Notre Dame locked up both meets Saturday morning as it won five of eight events.

With the result already determined, head coach Carrie Nixon made a classy move by using Saturday night to allow some of her swimmers to either scratch or swim in exhibition races, which means they didn’t log any points for their efforts.

“It was a courtesy thing,” Nixon said. We didn’t want to run up the score. It was the gentleman’s thing to do.”

The two wins push Notre Dame’s dual meet record to 5-2 on the season, and the Irish head into the postseason with seven consecutive victories.

In addition to the final results, however, there were some other notable moments for the Irish this weekend.

Senior Courtney Choura, swimming in her final race at Notre Dame, finished in second place for the 200 breast stroke with a time of 2:21.48. Choura, along with senior manager Shannon Trevino, were honored before the meet.

Furthermore, one of the goals coming into the meet for the team was to have every swimmer qualify for the Big East Championships.

That mission was accomplished as the swimmers who had not yet qualified all achieved the necessary times this weekend.

This means the Irish will take a full team to the Big East Championships in two weeks, and the squad is very excited about the position it’s in.

“We’re ready to go and win the Big East,” Nixon said. “The higher goal, and the one that has been the focus all year, is still scoring as many points as we can in the NCAAs and that is what we are going to continue working towards.”