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ND Women’s Swimming: Lopsided win sends seniors out in style

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 28, 2008

Notre Dame shellacked Big East rival West Virginia on a day dedicated to sending the team’s seniors out of their last home meet in style.

The 249-116 Irish victory improved the Irish to 4-7 on the season and put them at 2-1 against Big East foes.

Beating West Virginia as badly as they did was a good sign for the Irish.

“West Virginia is very good,” Irish coach Carrie Nixon said. “They have a lot of great underclassmen and should be one of the better teams in the conference.”

The seniors soaked in the moments of their final regular season meet at Rolfs Aquatic Center, as did Nixon.

“This was the first class I had worked with for four straight years, first as an assistant and then as their head coach,” Nixon said. “This is the first group that we all went through the whole journey together.”

The Irish earned the top spots in 17 out of 20 events. Thirteen of the victories came in individual events and four in relays.

West Virginia served as a final tune-up for the team, as the Irish needed to get as much work as possible on their techniques and timing before post-season competition.

Notre Dame clocked in the top three times in both the 200-yard freestyle and the 100 breaststroke.

Surging junior Christa Riggins (1:50.36) won the 200 freestyle and was followed closely by fellow Irish freshman Lauren Sylvester and junior Casey Wagner.

Freshman Sam Maxwell (1:02.61) won the 10 breaststroke for the fourth consecutive meet. Freshmen Amywren Miller and Lizzie Gormley rounded out the top three for the event.

The Irish divers also fared well against the Mountaineers. They earned the first and second spots in both the 1-meter and the 3-meter dives.

Sophomore Natalie Stitt took first place in both the 1-meter (306.89) and the 3-meter (315.00) dives. She was followed in both events by freshman teammate Heidi Grossman, who earned scores of 276.60 in the 1-meter and 295.21 in the 3-meter.

The Irish now have a long break before the Big East Championship in the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y., from Feb. 20-23. They will be pursuing their 12th consecutive Big East title.