The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



ND Women’s Swimming: Ryan and Reaney lead ND at NCAAs

Brian Hartnett | Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Irish concluded their season with a strong showing at the NCAA Swimming and Diving championships in Auburn, Ala., on March 15-17. Led by the performances of sophomore swimmer Kelly Ryan and freshman swimmer Emma Reaney, the Irish finished the meet in 22nd place, the best showing for a Notre Dame team since 2002.

Competing in the NCAA championships for the first time, Ryan excelled in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing the race in a time of 1:53.67 to shatter her personal record in the event by two seconds and finish seventh in the event.

For her performance in the 200-yard backstroke, she earned prestigious All-American accolades, awarded to swimmers who finish in the top eight of the finals for an event.
Ryan also competed in the 100-yard backstroke, finishing 27th in the overall field, and in the 100-yard freestyle, finishing 44th in the event.

Ryan attributed her success in the championships to enthusiastic support from her teammates, especially her counterpart in the championships.

“I think one of the keys to my success was definitely the support of my teammate, Emma Reaney,” Ryan said. “We were the only two swimmers that made it, but she’s one of my best friends on the team and her support really helped, since we always train together and she’s pushed me throughout the year. I also felt really prepared by my coaches and confident that my training would help me be on the same level as some of the fastest swimmers in the country.”

Reaney turned in a stellar showing of her own, as the freshman wracked up three Honorable Mention All-American accolades, given to swimmers that finish anywhere from ninth to 16th in an event. Reaney began her championships by finishing ninth in the 200-yard individual medley on March 15, breaking her own school record with a time of 1:55.67.

Reaney finished 11th in the 100-yard breaststroke the following day with a personal best time of 59.81, and capped her streak of impressive performances by finishing 14th in the 200-yard breaststroke on March 17.

Ryan said that Reaney’s top-notch showing on the national level is only a small part of her contribution to the team, as she has also developed into a key leader in her first year.

“Emma is a really big asset to the team,” Ryan said. “She is a leader by example and by word who has really helped our team improve this year, so it’s been great to share this season with her.”

The combined performances of Ryan and Reaney helped the Irish earn 30 points overall, allowing the team to finish 22nd in the field of 49 teams.

Junior diver Jenny Chiang also competed in the championships for the Irish diving team, finishing 17th in the 1-meter dive event with a score of 289.50. Chiang missed qualifying for the 16-person finals by a narrow margin of two points, but her performance represented the highest finish for an Irish diver since 2005.

Chiang qualified for the NCAA championships after placing second in the 1-meter event at the NCAA Zone C Diving championships on March 9. She earned an impressive score of 598.05 points to place second in the talented field of 61 divers.


Contact Brian Hartnett at bhartnett@nd.edu