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Women’s Swimming: Reaney propels Irish surge

Alex Wilcox | Thursday, December 12, 2013

After dropping its first three meets of the season, Notre Dame has turned it around lately, winning its last four, thanks in large part to the performance of junior Emma Reaney.

The All-American from Lawrence, Kan., has made an impact in the pool since arriving as a freshman in 2011. She qualified for the NCAA Championships as a freshman and sophomore and was named a first-team All-American in the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke last season.

This year, Reaney has continued to build on her reputation as one of the top swimmers in the country. She has been named ACC Women’s Swimmer of the Week four times in the first 10 weeks of the season, and has already qualified for this year’s NCAA Championships.

Since this is Notre Dame’s first year in the ACC, Reaney admitted she feels especially honored to receive all the accolades she has.

“I truly am honored,” Reaney said. “I know this conference is loaded with very talented and hard-working swimmers and for them to recognize an ACC newcomer as one of them so many times is a little surreal. It does put a little extra pressure on me to perform well at [the ACC Championships], but I think the team and myself are up to the challenge.”

Despite all of her individual accomplishments, Reaney continues to focus on the team.

“I think our season has gone fairly well, especially the last couple months,” Reaney said. “We started off a little rocky, but I think we learned from our mistakes quickly and applied changes right away. I’m so proud of this team and how far we’ve come since my freshman year and seeing all the hard work we’ve been putting in pay off in a big way this past weekend was very rewarding.”

Reaney said the key to all her success this season is simply hard work and dedication.

“To be honest, just putting my head down and toughing it out,” Reaney said. “I think I’ve worked harder this season than I ever have before, both in the pool and in the weight room, and it’s so nice to be able to get to a meet and know you have that to rely on.”

All her hard work has earned her a spot in the NCAA Championships in March, which Reaney said will allow her to stop worrying about times and just swim.

“It’s definitely a relief,” Reaney said. “Now it’s not so much about the specific time, but simply swimming as fast as you can.”

Even though Reaney herself has already qualified, she is still looking to help her team.

“I want to get a relay or two qualified for NCAAs as well as place high as a team at [the ACC meet],” Reaney said. “If we stay on the upward trend we’ve been on, there’s no saying how high we can go, both in the ACC and the NCAA.”

Contact Alex Wilcox at awilcox1@nd.edu