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ND Women’s Swimming: Team prepares for Big East

Joe Meixell | Friday, January 18, 2008

The Irish will have their hands full this weekend as they take on Louisville at the Rolfs Aquatic Center and then travel to Toledo in preparation for February’s Big East Championships.

Only weeks removed from a grueling training trip in Miami, the Irish hope to build off of their strong finish in the Irish Invitational last Saturday against Michigan, Indiana and Illinois and shake off a bit more of the rust they were suffering from.

“I think the girls have dealt with the fatigue really well, but we are definitely not ready for the Big East Conference finals right now,” assistant coach Joel White said.

The Irish Invitational was an important stepping stone for the Irish before they take on Louisville, an important Big East player.

The swimmers seem well prepared to gear up for the run down the stretch.

“The team chemistry the girls have right now is the best I have ever seen,” White said. “They are happier than ever before.”

Notre Dame brings a 3-0 all-time record against the Cardinals to the pool, including two wins during head coach Carrie Nixon’s tenure. This is the second and last Big East team the Irish will face this season before the conference meet on Feb. 28.

“They have one really fast swimmer in each event,” White said. “We are going to have to put someone who can come up with the victory in every event if we want to win the meet.”

Immediately following the event with Louisville, the Irish will travel to Toledo, Ohio, to face the Rockets. This will be the Irish’s second meeting with the Rockets, and the first since 1996. The Irish won that meeting, and they bring a great deal of confidence for Nixon’s first meeting with the team.

“They also have very fast swimmers, but we are hopeful for another win,” White said of Toledo.

Leading the way for the Irish is a strong group of young swimmers, including freshman Sam Maxwell, freshman Amywren Miller and sophomore Megan Farrell.

Junior Casey Wagner is coming off a shoulder injury and is coming on strong for the Irish late in the season, providing a big boost, especially for the 800-yard freestyle relay. She led the Irish relay to victory in the Irish Invitational.

The Irish are young but talented, and that creates a high level of uncertainty as to what to expect down the stretch.

“A young bunch like this is hard to predict,” White said. “But they are definitely not too far off.”