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ND Women’s Swimming: Barnes confident despite first loss

Cory Bernard | Thursday, October 27, 2011

After a sobering first loss of the season against No. 4 Auburn, the Irish will hit the road hoping to rebound against Pittsburgh, their first Big East opponent of the year.

The Irish (2-1) will face the Panthers (1-1) for the first time since 2008, when they overwhelmed Pitt 223-77. Irish coach Brian Barnes said he has not addressed the potential talent imbalance between the two squads.

“It definitely still applies, but we try to be ready for anyone,” Barnes said of the possibility of a letdown against an inferior opponent. “We haven’t once talked about the strength or weakness of either team, though.”

The Irish will board their bus early Friday morning for the afternoon meet and return immediately afterward.Though the lengthy travel may be an obstacle for some, Barnes said his team is confident in its ability to prepare quickly, both mentally and physically.

“It may be an issue for some, but it may not for others,” he said. “We are approaching this meet knowing we’re going to have to very quickly acclimate when we arrive. We are aware of that and we’ve already talked about it with the team. They’re fine, they’re confident.”

Barnes said his confidence stems partially from the impressive way his team responded after its loss to the Tigers (2-0). He said the Irish overcame the loss and pulled together as a unit.

“We can’t live in the past and we can’t drown in our sorrows,” Barnes said. “We need to move on and that’s what we did. At Notre Dame, we shoot for consistency across the board. You need a majority of the student athletes to form a cohesive group because it’s a struggle along the way. In forming such a cohesive group, it’s a tribute to leadership and it’s a tribute to the team.”

According to Barnes, this cohesion manifested itself in a good week of practice leading into the matchup against the Panthers.

“We have had a strong week of practice this week coming off the loss last weekend,” Barnes said. “The team is very motivated and excited to go out to Pittsburgh and compete against another program in the Big East.”

Notre Dame will square off against Pittsburgh on Friday at 4 p.m.

Contact Cory Bernard at cbernard@nd.edu