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ND Women’s Swimming: Trio of seniors leads inexperienced group

Matt Unger | Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Featuring a roster where 10 of the 23 swimmers and divers are freshmen, the Irish carry more than their share of talented youth. At the same time, the Irish carry the consequence of inexperience as the roster only sports three seniors.

However, this abundance of youth makes the leadership roles of seniors Amy Prestinario, Emily Barton and Gwen Blythe even more important.

Prestinario, who competes in freestyle and individual medley (IM) races, has made her greatest impact on various relay teams, leading the Irish (3-3) to numerous all-Big East honors.

During her freshman season, she helped the 800-yard free relay team finish first at the Big East conference meet and set a school record time of 7:13.51. She was also a member of a 400-yard free relay squad that placed third with a time of 3:19.38 at last year’s conference meet.

As a sophomore, Prestinario swam in 12 individual events throughout the season and made numerous contributions to the relay squads. She earned all-Big East honors with the 200-yard and 400-yard free relay squads, as the relay teams placed second and third, respectively, at the conference meet.

Meanwhile, in the 2010-11 season, she earned the squad’s top time of 23:03 in the 50-yard freestyle in the finals of the Big East championships.

Breaststroke and IM swimmer Barton earned the program’s Beeler-Hipp award during her freshman season, awarded annually to the team’s most outstanding freshman. She also advanced to the finals at the Big East championships in the 200 and 400-yard IM, along with the 200-yard fly.

In her sophomore season, Barton earned top-10 finishes at the Big East championships in the 400-yard IM and 100-yard fly.

Last season, Barton raced to a team-best time of 4:27.54 in the 400-yard IM in the finals of the Big East championships.

Meanwhile, breaststroke and IM swimmer Blythe nearly set a school record in her freshman season in the 100-yard breaststroke with a time of 1:03.90. In her sophomore campaign, Blythe competed in 14 breaststroke events during the season and earned top-10 finishes in the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke at the Big East championships.

The Irish seniors will look to provide additional leadership as the team prepares for the Ohio State Invitational, held from Dec. 2 to 4.

Contact Matt Unger at munger3@nd.edu