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ND Women’s Swimming: Team looks to continue title streak

Jared Jedick | Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Notre Dame is again set to put its stamp on history as it goes for its 12th consecutive conference title at the Big East championship this week in East Meadow, N.Y.

The current 11-year streak is already the longest in Big East history in any sport.

“You can’t help but think about a streak like that,” Irish assistant coach Joel White said. “But the girls all know that they can only take care of what they have control over.”

White a variety of factors have allowed the team to sustain its dominance.

“I would have to say that a lot of it comes down to good recruiting,” White said. “We have a great school and some great facilities that allow us to bring in some of the best swimmers out there.”

But White said the most important reason for the squad’s success is the development of swimmers that maximize their potential.

“It is really important to just make people faster,” White said. “And that is a product of mental preparation, training, environment, coaching, support and first-rate facilities. And we have all of that here at Notre Dame.”

The Big East championship runs from today to Saturday at the Nassau County Aquatics Center. The preliminary heats of the individual rounds will be held in the mornings with the finals and the relays taking place during the evenings. The Irish will look to maximize their scores by only swimming in their best events, as each participant can compete in a limited amount of events.

“We hope to qualify for the [NCAA Championship] with as many girls as possible,” White said.

The Irish have fared well thus far against Big East foes, taking a 2-1 conference record into the championship. Their only Big East dual-meet loss was to Pittsburgh in a 150-148 nail-biter. They dominated Louisville 188-111 and West Virginia 249-116 in dual-meet competition this season.

This event is the culmination of a season of hard work for many of the swimmers. All the training, early-morning swimming, dry workouts and the daily grind lead up to the next four days of swimming.

“The secret to success is lasting for the entire four days,” White said. “It takes a lot of focus. The girls just have to take it one event at a time.”

The wildcard for the Irish is the 25-day layoff since their last meet. But the Irish traditionally come out of the break very strong.

“The girls feel really good,” White said. “I have never seen them looking so fast.”

Rutgers, West Virginia and Pittsburgh have the best chances to upset Notre Dame in the championship, but the Irish are confident they will add another trophy to their case.

“If we just stay focused, we will do very well,” White said.