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ND Women’s Swimming and Diving: Irish claim top spot as Big East Championships approach

Megan Golden | Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Strong performances on the diving boards this weekend vaulted Notre Dame into first-place as the team heads into the swimming portion of the Big East Championships next weekend.

Sophomore Jenny Chiang opened the meet for the Irish, placing first in the women’s 3-meter dive. Chiang recorded a score of 337.40 to narrowly Louisville’s Hannah Gadd, who scored a 334.80.

“I was very happy with my performance. I feel that I was able to channel my nerves well and use them to my advantage. The team performed very well overall,” Chiang said. “I think everyone did a great job of staying focused and not letting the performance of other teams affect them.”

Senior captain Heidi Grossman placed fourth in the 3-meter dive and was quick to praise Chiang.

“Jenny had a great 3-meter and I’m glad she was able to hold off Hannah Gadd,” Grossman said. “The competition was tough, definitely the most competitive Big East final I’ve been in.”

In the 1-meter event, Gadd placed first with a score of 329.95. Chiang took home second place and Grossman followed in third place with scores of 301.60 and 297.70, respectively.

“Going into Big East, regardless of what place I finished in, I wanted to dive my best and end my season with two great meets, which I accomplished,” Grossman said. “And I am happy I was able to get All-Big East honors on [the 1-meter].”

Grossman emphasized the importance of the team’s composure while competing in front of Louisville’s home crowd.

“I am happy with how both Jenny and I performed,” Grossman said. “We were both composed under the pressure of being at Louisville — they had a lot of fans — and [dove] our best under pressure. Hannah dove well on both boards and had a lot of support from her team, as it was at her home pool.”

Chiang said strong competition throughout the Big East has allowed her to improve individually.

“The Big East has recently become more competitive, which is great. The competition helps us all do better,” she said.

“Hannah Gadd is a great diver and I really enjoy competing against her. It’s always more fun to have a friendly rival to help push you to perform better.”

Chiang and Grossman said they hope Notre Dame’s swimmers will finish the meet strong next weekend.

“Going into the swimming, we are only slightly ahead of Louisville in team points. I’m hoping that we got some momentum going into next week so our swimmers can go into the meet already competitive with Louisville,” Grossman said. “Even though it’s a slight lead, it was important to set the tone going into the next week of competition.”