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Women’s Swimming: Three head to nationals in Texas

Molly Sammon | Thursday, March 19, 2009

Three members of Notre Dame’s Big East Championship team will represent the university at the NCAA Championships at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, this weekend.

Sophomore swimmers Amywren Miller and Samantha Maxwell and junior diver Natalie Stitt each qualified for this opportunity by remaining among the most competitive swimmers and divers in the country.

“The competition in Texas is going to be awesome,” Maxwell said. “All of the best collegiate swimmers will be here and they are all going to be ready to swim fast. It’s going to be great to swim against them and have every person in the event be at a high level of competition.”

Maxwell is competing in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events. She currently holds the 17th-fastest times in the nation in both of these events.

Both Miller and Maxwell are making their second appearances at the national championships, but Stitt is participating for the first time. After being named the 2009 Big East Diver of the Year, hopes are high for Stitt’s coming performance in Texas. She will be competing in the one- and three-meter diving events.

“The competition will be really tough, especially competing against girls who I watched on TV this summer competing for the Olympics, but it’s also so inspiring to watch them dive,” Stitt said. “I’m a little intimidated, but watching them makes me want to be able to dive as well as them and it makes me want to be better.”

Miller is competing in the 50 and 100 freestyle events and the 100 fly event. Recently, Miller broke her personal-best time and the school record in the 50 freestyle event, making her the fastest female swimmer in school history with a time of 22.37 seconds. She broke the record at the Big East conference meet, where the Irish took home top honors for the 13th consecutive year.

Over the last week in practice, the girls have been working on perfecting their strokes and dives for optimal results in their toughest meet of the season.

“In preparation for my swims I have just been trying to maintain my stroke and make sure that I am keeping the technical aspect of my swimming where it should be,” Maxwell said.

Beside the technique and stroke maintenance, there is one other driving force that comes into play during the intense competition that these girls will face.

“While consistency and technique are things every diver focuses on, I’ve learned the huge difference that confidence in my diving makes,” Stitt said.