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ND Women’s Swimming: Juniors find success at NCAA Championship

Chris Allen | Thursday, March 25, 2010

A year ago, the sophomore campaigns of swimmers Amywren Miller and Samantha Maxwell ended with quite different results.

“Samantha got All-American last year, and I got nothing,” Miller, a junior, said.

This year, both swimmers tasted success at the NCAA Championship meet in West Lafayette, Ind., as Miller garnered All-American honors in the 50-yard freestyle, and Maxwell nabbed an Honorable Mention All-American nod in the 100-yard breaststroke. Miller said she was overjoyed with her first All-American honor.

“It was just really exciting. I’ve been there the past two years ranked higher than I was this year and I came away with nothing,” Miller said. “This year I went saying, ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’ Everybody I wanted to be there to support me was there screaming for me, and that was the coolest part.”

The addition of assistant coach Kate Kovenock, who coaches the sprinters on the team, helped Miller set a school record of 22.30 seconds in the NCAA preliminary round. The junior believes her bond with the coach was key in getting her to this point in her career.

“Kate Kovenock is a selfless coach,” Miller said. “After the meet I told her how all of our work together had paid off, and she told me the work was all mine. We’re real lucky to have her.”

Miller’s teammate and friend Maxwell took a slight step down this season, earning an Honorable Mention All-American honor to denote her standing in the ninth-to-16th-place range. Maxwell is nonetheless proud of what is still a remarkable achievement.

“Competing at NCAAs and receiving an All American consideration honor was fun,” Maxwell said. “It’s nice to be able to reach that level in competition.”

Maxwell’s swim of 1:00.69 in the prelims and 1:01.09 in the finals was good enough to net her 14th place in the 100-yard breaststroke. After being named All-American at last year’s meet, Maxwell believes she has work to do to regain that status.

“My goals for next year are to do better than this year. This year I didn’t quite reach my goals, so I will try again next season,” Maxwell said. “Since I was not as happy as I could have been with the way my season ended, I’m looking forward to getting back into a routine and working on my training to get better.”

The two individual performances by Miller and Maxwell served as the capstone to a season in which the Irish dominated their competition en route to a 14th straight Big East championship. With Miller and Maxwell coming back determined to add to their already impressive accolades, the future looks bright for the women’s swimming team.