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ND Women’s Swimming: ND nears conference meet

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 21, 2008

The Irish swimmers picked up a split this weekend, drubbing Big East rival Louisville on Friday, 187-113, before traveling to Toledo the next day for a close-fought loss to the Rockets, 158.5-141.5.

The swimmers extended their all-time record against the Cardinals to a perfect 3-0 in a Big East match that the Irish hope is a sign of how things will be in the Big East championship in a month.

“It is always great to beat an in-conference team,” assistant head coach Joel White said. “This gave us a look at some of the competition we will see in the Big East, and that is always important.”

Junior Christa Riggins stole the show for the Irish against Louisville and is quietly putting together her best year. Riggins won four events, including the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard freestyle, the 200-yard freestyle-relay and the 200-yard medley relay.

“Christa has been more consistent than ever before, and she would be the first to tell you that,” White said. “She is much more in control of her racing and that has us really fired up.”

The Irish were able to pull out the victory in many of the races. Junior Claire Hutchinson won the 1,000-yard freestyle and the 200-yard butterfly. Freshman Lauren Parisi won the 100 and 200-yard backstrokes, freshman Sam Maxwell won the 50, 100 and 200-yard breaststrokes, freshman Amywren Miller won the 50-yard freestyle. Junior Casey Wagner won the 500-yard freestyle.

Despite their blowout of the Cardinals, the Irish know that the Big East championship will not be quite so easy.

“We know that we are going to have our work cut out for us in a month,” White said. “We are going to have to be at our peak.”

The Irish unexpectedly fell at the hands of Toledo the next day.

“Toledo swam very well, much better than they’ve been all year, and they surprised us in that,” White said.

The Rockets evened up the all-time dual-meet record between the two schools at 1-1 and snapped Notre Dame’s two-meet win streak.

“We messed around with the line-up a little, tried some other people out in different relays to see what they could do,” White said.

Lexi Shue was able to win the 1,000-yard freestyle and set a new pool-record in Toledo. Her time of 10:05.09 broke the previous record of 10:08.62, and was also a season best for Shue.

Sam Maxwell continued to impress in the breaststroke, winning both the 100 and 200-yard breaststrokes once again.

The Irish come home for their next meet against West Virginia in the Shamrock Invitational on Saturday. This will be Notre Dame’s final regular season competition before the Big East championship.