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ND Women’s Diving: Divers doing their part to help squad

Nathaniel Lee | Wednesday, February 4, 2009

While most people may focus on the “swimming” aspect of the Notre Dame swimming and diving squad, the Irish divers have also been doing their part in helping the team towards a 13th consecutive Big East title.

Former Chinese national coach Caiming Xie, currently in his 31st season with the Irish, has led his divers to both All-Americans awards and Big East Championships. Caiming has also earned some accolades himself, being named Big East Diving Coach of the Year five times.

“In Big East competition, the only events are the 3-meter and 1-meter springboard dives” Caiming said. “But our women’s divers have been doing very well, winning many dual meets with some big competition like Northwestern and Michigan State.”

This year is no exception, with two outstanding divers leading the way for Notre Dame in the pool and on the springboards. Sophomore Heidi Grossman and junior Natalie Stitt have been leading the Irish all season.

“Natalie and Heidi both have potential to win the Big East, and both qualify for NCAA diving Championships,” Caiming said. “I believe they will do very well at the conference championships this year.”

At the recent Shamrock Invitational, the Irish divers navigated through a strong field of competitors from West Virginia, Denver and Michigan State to help the team improve to 6-2 on the season.

In the 1-meter dive, Grossman took first with a score of 280.70, followed closely by Stitt, who earned a mark of 273.20 to take second place. The results were similar in the 3-meter, where Stitt placed first with an impressive 307.05, and Grossman snagged second with 291.10.

These are just two more excellent performances added to a multitude of wins and top-three performances that the duo has racked up throughout the regular season, including wins over Toledo, then-No. 21 Northwestern, Pittsburgh, and Louisville.

In a sport with only 19 total events, the ability to dominate two of those is essential in the tight Big East. As the Irish prepare for the post-season, Still, Grossman and the rest of Notre Dame’s Women Divers will be an essential part of the Championship seeking team.

Caiming, along with first year swimming head coach Brian Barnes, are certainly sharpening up in these final weeks to prepare for a dominating performance as the postseason starts in two weeks.