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Women’s Swimming: Irish lead after Day One

By Matt Unger | Thursday, February 28, 2013

On the first day of the 2013 Big East championships at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis, the Irish set the pace. Their 141 points leads the pack of 10 schools at the conference championships so far.

Led by senior Jenny Chiang’s victory in the 3-meter dive – the fourth consecutive 3-meter title in her Big East career – and two first-place relay finishes, the Irish raced to a 34-point lead over second place Louisville.

Chiang became the first diver in Big East history to win championships in the same event four years in a row. But her fourth title did not lack drama as she earned 329.85 points, beating out her Louisville competitor Hannah Good by just 0.85 points.

“It came down to the very last dive, which was good and bad,” Chiang said. “It was good to know that your competition is doing equally as well, but to be able to pull out ahead was just the cherry on top.”

Sophomore Allison Casareto took third in the 3-meter dive behind Good. Casareto and Chiang will compete in the 1-meter dive today.

Meanwhile, the swimming squad swept the only other events of the day with victories in the 800-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay.

In the 800-yard event, sophomore Emma Reaney and junior Kelly Ryan swam their legs of the relay with near identical times of 1:45.88 and 1:45.75, respectively, to build a large lead for the Irish. Sophomore Suzanne Bessire and senior Jamie Malandra then swam the final legs to lead the Irish to victory over second-place Villanova with a school-record time of 7:10.84.

Reaney also swam the second breaststroke leg in the 200-yard medley relay to help lead the Irish to a time of 1:38.74. Senior Lauren Scott set the pace by swimming the 50-yard backstroke leg. Senior Kim Holden and freshman Catherine Galletti closed with times of 23.40 and 22.59 to finish 0.60 seconds ahead of Louisville.

“[Holding first place after day one] is huge because it sets the tone for the remainder of the meet,” Chiang said. “To be able to start the next day with the adrenaline and momentum to carry into individual events will be big for our team.”

The Big East Championships continue at 10 a.m. today at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis. Individual events in the 1-meter dive begin the day, followed by freestyle and individual medley swims. The 200-yard freestyle relay concludes the second-day action.

Contact Matt Unger at munger3@nd.edu