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ND Women’s Swimming: No. 25 Irish head to Big East meet

Molly Sammon | Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Going for their 13th consecutive conference title, the No. 25 Irish are taking a long weekend trip to the Indianapolis Natatorium for the Big East conference championship meet, a crucial event for many of the competitors.

The Irish have won 12 straight conference championships. The first change for the girls in preparation for this meet, as opposed to the regular seasonal meets, was implementing a different practice strategy.

“Practices have been much more focused on the details,” sophomore Kellyn Kuhlke said. “Everyone did things specifically for what they need to do to get ready for this week. We finally got some rest.”

As every team from the Big East will be represented in Indianapolis this weekend, this is the event the girls have been preparing for since the season’s start. Some of the most difficult competition for this weekend will be seen from other Big East powerhouses such as Louisville. The Cardinals, ranked No. 23 in the NCAA, are the only team in the conference ranked higher the Irish and could elicit some of the toughest competition of the weekend.

“The relays will be the most competitive events this week. Relays are a true test of depth and teamwork,” Kuhlke said. “They are always the most exciting events because they make a statement, especially on the first night of the meet when we compete in the 800 freestyle relay and 200 medley relay.”

Irish standout athletes to watch this weekend are sophomores Katie Casey (200 fly) and Samantha Maxwell (200 breaststroke). Both are No. 1 seeds heading into the meet.

In the 2008 conference meet, the team broke eight school records. With the exception of one graduated teammate, Caroline Johnson, last year’s team has not changed, which gives much promise towards their goal of a 13th consecutive conference win, a flawless record since 1997.

“I think all of our hard work will pay off and we will come out of the meet with our 13th straight Big East Conference championship,” Kuhlke said.