The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Women’s Swimming and Diving: Athletes tune up before nationals

Nathaniel Lee | Thursday, March 5, 2009

Coming off of its unprecedented 13th consecutive Big East championship, Notre Dame traveled to West Lafayette, Ind. for the Purdue Boiler-Make-It Invitationals, a final qualifier and tune-up before the NCAA Zone Diving and Swimming Championships.

“We went out there to try and improve times in order to possibly make the NCAA Championships,” Irish coach Brian Barnes said. “The 200 relay team accomplished that.”

Early in the Boiler-Make-It Invitationals, Irish juniors Megan Farrell and Ashlee Edgell made an impact, finishing first and second, respectively, in the 200-meter individual medley. But their times of 2:01.10 and 2:04.11 were short of the NCAA B-cut.

In the 100-meter backstroke, Irish junior Maggie Behrens swam to a second-place time of 55.41, but also came just short of a qualifying time.

In the 100-meter butterfly time trial, sophomore Kellyn Kuhlke found her stroke, touching the wall at 53.96 seconds to earn an NCAA B-cut. Sophomore Katie Casey also managed a B-cut time in the 200-meter butterfly prelims with a time of 1:59.35.

The school record in the 200-meter medley relay also fell this season at the hands of Kuhlke, freshman Colleen Fotsch and sophomores Samantha Maxwell and Amywren Miller. Their first-place time of 1:39.29 was good enough to land the final Irish NCAA B-Cut.

“For the NCAA Championships, an A-Cut is an automatic berth, and then the rankings [of times] determine which B-Cut qualifiers will make it,” Barnes said. Right now we have between two and four athletes that are hoping to get that opportunity.”

Next on the schedule for the Irish is the NCAA Zone Diving Championships, where divers Natalie Stitt, a junior, and Heidi Grossman, a sophomore, will look to make a splash. The qualifying divers will travel to Minneapolis, Minn., March 13 to compete.

“Right now the athletes who might continue are training hard to just get faster,” Barnes said. “We just focus on getting better in order to swim fastest at nationals and being able to make an impact there.”

The Irish swimmers will have to wait an extra week, before leaving for College Station, Texas, to compete for individual and national recognition in the three-day NCAA Championships from March 19-21.