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ND Women’s Swimming: ND sweeps Michigan State for conference victory

Andrew Cardoza | Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Irish started the second half of their season off with a bang Saturday, winning all 16 events en route to a 218-82 victory over Michigan State.

Sophomore swimmer Kelly Ryan turned in a standout performance for the Irish (4-5), placing first in three events — the 50-yard freestyle (23.64), 100-yard backstroke (56.08) and 200-yard backstroke (2:02:60). Ryan jumped out to an early lead in the 200-yard backstroke and paced herself to earn the first place finish. The sophomore also helped lead the 400-yard freestyle relay team to victory by swimming the final leg.

Notre Dame’s 16th and final victory came from the diving team. Junior Jenny Chiang continued her strong season by winning the 3-meter diving event with a tally of 342.83 and placing second in the 1-meter diving event with 287.40 points.

“We got a lot of big performances from our underclassmen,” Chiang said. “They were very confident and it brings a lot of confidence to the younger part of the team. They overcame the pressure and had one of the best meets of the season.”

Several underclassmen stood out, particularly freshman Emma Reaney, who had another stellar meet for the Irish. Reaney took first in the 200-yard freestyle and 100-yard butterfly, and contributed to a victory in the 400-yard freestyle relay. She has been a key asset for the Irish this year, as she was named Big East Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week three times this season — a conference record.

Chiang said this meet will be a major building block for the second half of the season, especially with the team entering conference play next weekend.

“This meet brings a lot of momentum,” Chiang said. “We now know we can beat great teams like Michigan State. We competed at a very high level and it gives us a big boost going into Big East play within the next couple of weeks.”

With Big East play fast approaching, the team will draw on its experience during training trips in Hawaii and Puerto Rico over winter break, which Chiang said brought the Irish together.

“The training trip made the whole team closer,” Chiang said. “Even though diving is an individual sport, knowing that you have the support of your teammates is big for confidence. We have gotten closer with team chemistry.”

Notre Dame continues its home stand this weekend when it hosts the Shamrock Invitational on Friday and Saturday.

 

Contact Andrew Cardoza at acardoza@nd.edu