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ND Women’s Swimming: Stitt, Maxwell and Miller go to NCAA’s

Nathaniel Lee | Friday, March 20, 2009

Junior diver Natalie Stitt and sophomore Samantha Maxwell began competing Thursday at the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships at Texas A&M, which runs through Sunday.

Stitt, Big East Diver of the Year, placed sixth at?her NCAA Zone diving championship last week to earn a berth at the NCAA?championship finals, joining sophomore teammates Amywren Miller, who?will compete in the 50 free, and Maxwell, who earned a spot?in the 200 breast.  

Miller swam the 50 free Thursday in the preliminaries in 22.47,?placing her at 26th overall.  She was unable to?advance to the finals, and ended her sophomore season with a strong?performance in a tough field.?

“Twenty-sixth in the country is good; this meet is so selective and elite that?just making it is an enormous honor,” head coach Brian Barnes said.?”We had higher goals, but the 50 is such a tight event that the?slightest things can throw a time or position off.”?

Miller expressed similar sentiments on her performance.?

“Based on my performance in the Big East, it was a huge honor just to?make it to NCAA’s again, so I just wanted to have fun while trying my?best,” Miller said. “Today there were things I thought I could have?done better, but my time was faster than at this meet last year, so I?can’t complain.”?

Stitt also performed for the Irish Thursday, earning a score of 245.30 in her?1-meter dive, enough to place 32nd in the nation, but also short?of the finals.  Today she will compete in the 3-meter event.?

“I was a little intimidated since there are a ton of amazing divers?here, even Olympians,” Stitt said.  “Today I got some nerves out,?and tomorrow I just need to have confidence in my dives. Seeing all?these great girls makes you want to be like them, so I will have to?keep working hard to build on my momentum from this season to the?next.”?

Barnes also seemed impressed with Stitt’s first dive at the?national collegiate level.?

“Natalie is a very good diver, and she is experiencing this level for?the first time,” Barnes said. “She will gain experience from today?and I think perform better on the three.”?

Maxwell will take to the pool for the 200 breast on Saturday as?the last Irish swimmer at the competition.?

“Coming out for a second time should really help me have a good feel?for the competition,” stated Maxwell. “We have been building up to?this all season, so my goal is just to set a good time to build upon?and come back here again next season.”