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ND Women’s Swimming: Individuals shine at unscored meet

Eric Prister | Monday, November 23, 2009

The Irish swam well and gained confidence over the weekend in the Hoosierland Invite, an unscored meet that gives an opportunity for teams to look at their individual performances. Notre Dame won 11 out of the meet’s 21 events and posting two NCAA B-cut times.

“Top to bottom, I’m just pleased with the program,” Irish coach Brian Barnes said. “We came out here with the intention to really have fun, and that’s what happened. We came out of this meet with some NCAA ‘B’ times, so it’s just a confident moment. Our team is gaining confidence and we’re improving and it’s a lot of fun.”

Junior Katie Casey and freshman Kim Holden each posted times on the final day of the meet. Casey posted her time in the 200-yard butterfly, a race in which she finished second with a time of 1:59.46, and Holden was victorious in 200-yard backstroke, posting her B-cut time of 1:57.98.

The Irish entered the meet with the goal of improving individually, and did just that, as most of the swimmers improved or stayed consistent with their times so far this season.

“We went in there with good energy and great attitude and great teamwork,” Barnes said. “Really it’s about individual performance and individual improvement and monitoring our own improvement within our own team. As a result, we kind of gained some momentum and had a pretty good weekend.”

The Irish got off to a good start on the first day of the three-day meet, winning four of the six events on day one. Junior Amywren Miller and senior Ashlee Edgell posted individual victories in the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley, respectively, while both the Irish 200-yard freestyle relay and 400-yard medley relay teams also achieved the top spots.

Notre Dame went on to win three out of the seven events on the second day of the meet, earning two individual victories and one from the 200-yard medley relay team, which won its event by a full second. Junior Samantha Maxwell won the 100-yard breaststroke while Holden, Casey and junior Kellyn Kuhlke finished in the top three spots in 100-yard butterfly.

Maxwell was victorious again on the third day, winning the 200-yard breaststroke by two seconds, while Miller, along with junior Delia Cronin and senior Megan Farrell, led a one-two-three finish in the 100-yard freestyle. It was Casey and Holden who stole the show on the final day, however, by posting their NCAA B-cut performances.

“I just think the girls are realizing that this is November, and we peak in February and March,” Barnes said. “If they’re seeing this kind of improvement now, I really believe they’re hungry for more. I think they have a glimpse of the potential of this team.”

The Irish next head to Hawaii after Christmas for a winter training trip before competing again on Jan. 9 in a dual meet against Northwestern, which will take place in the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

“I was really happy with our senior class and their leadership,” Barnes said. “If this team stays motivated and stays confident and comes into it and works hard, I should get out of their way and allow them to be successful.”