ND hosts weekend meet
Kit Loughran | Thursday, January 30, 2014
The Irish jump back into their own waters to host the annual Shamrock Invitational on Friday and Saturday.
The No. 24 Irish prepare themselves for a challenging three-session meet with their efforts centered on executing in the lane come competition time.
“The team’s main focus is to race,” Irish coach Brian Barnes said. “It’s an interesting time of the year because we are focusing in on this weekend and then also three weeks down the road to our conference meet.”
Notre Dame is set to dual Iowa. The last time the Irish and Hawkeyes met was at the Hawkeye Invitational from Dec. 6-8. The Irish won the meet to beat out second-place Boise State by 80.5 points.
“We want to focus on putting together our best lineup to beat [Iowa],” junior Emma Reaney said. “It will be a good tune-up for conference.”
After a tough 171-129 loss to Louisville last weekend, the Irish look at the Shamrock Invitational as another opportunity to move forward.
“It’s never good to go on the road and take a loss,” Barnes said. “But what I like about the team right now is that the results get better and better as we move forward.”
“There weren’t any huge issues that needed to be fixed at the Louisville meet,” Reaney said. “We were just tired.”
Last year, the Irish had an impressive performance at the Shamrock Invitational. They defended their home ground with a 309-60 victory over Towson. Reaney won five individual events, including the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard individual medley.
Reaney said the team could view last year’s performance as a motivation for the team.
“I think it’s a good place [for the team] to start,” Reaney said.
Even with the motivation to defend their title, the Irish must endure two days of demanding competition and are not without their challenges.
“The biggest challenge will be stamina,” Barnes said. “It’s a three-session meet, and the amount of work that we are going to have to do within those days and the recovery in between will be challenging.”
“I think our greatest challenge will be remaining positive about how we feel and what our times are since it is a strange point in the season,” Reaney said. “We will have fast suits on but most of us won’t be fully tapered so we will probably feel pretty terrible in the water.”
Despite those challenges, the Irish do have their strengths, and this competition is in their home pool.
“We will be wanting to defend our home pool in front of our families and friends,” Reaney said. “Shamrock is always a fun meet and it’s really easy to get behind each other.”
The Irish host and compete in the Shamrock Invitational on Friday and Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center.
Contact Kit Loughran at email@example.com