Notre Dame to welcome ACC rivals to campus
Zach Klonsinski | Thursday, November 6, 2014
Seeking to keep improving, Notre Dame returns to the pool this weekend as it hosts Pittsburgh and Virginia Tech for two days’ worth of ACC swimming Friday and Saturday.
The Irish (2-4) fell to in-state rival No. 24 Purdue, 170-128, Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center, yet Irish interim coach Tim Welsh said he was very pleased with what he saw out of the team.
“If you look at our times prior to the Purdue meet and then look at our times in the Purdue meet, we were faster, and we were faster pretty much every event,” Welsh said. “And in most cases, significantly faster, so it was just a good, breakthrough week for us.”
One of the brightest spots of the day for Notre Dame was the diving of Lindsey Streepey. The junior took home the top spot on the podium in the 3-meter diving event with a score of 313.28. Welsh had said before the meet that Purdue diving was always good and that if he had to only watch a few events it would have been the diving ones, and Streepey backed up her coach’s words. She beat Boilermaker redshirt junior Mary Beth Dunnichay, a former Olympian in the 10-meter synchronized dive, to claim the victory.
“Whatever she accomplishes, she does it the right way,” Welsh said. “She works hard; she works conscientiously. She has a great attitude. You just love to see her succeed. But that was a major win for her last weekend. It’s allowed her to become the ACC diver of the week.”
The diving program in general has been a strength so far this season for the Irish. Streepey’s victory Saturday was the sixth for the team already.
“We’ve had great diving here so far this year, and this coming weekend, Virginia Tech divers are great, Pittsburgh divers are great, our divers are great,” Welsh said. “It’s going to be another great diving weekend.”
Another Irish strong suit has been the 200-yard medley relay of seniors Emma Reaney and Courtney Whyte, sophomore Catherine Mulquin and junior Cat Galletti. The quartet picked up its fourth victory in only six meets Saturday, beating the second-place team from Purdue by almost one-and-a-half seconds.
“It was a great way to start off the meet,” Welsh said. “We’ll keep trying to build that relay a little faster, but they’ve been doing a great job.”Reaney and Mulquin have been top performers for the Irish all season, individually as well, and that trend continued against Purdue. Reaney, the reigning NCAA champion in the 200-yard breaststroke, swept the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke events against Purdue. Mulquin claimed a victory in the 100-yard backstroke while also posting a runner-up finish in the 50-yard freestyle to continue the hot start to her season.
“Not only for the younger girls but for all of us, [Reaney] is a model for taking care of business,” Welsh said. “Not only in the athletic world but in any performance world, there’s what they call ‘deliberate practice,’ where you deliberately focus on something that needs to get done, and you work on it until it’s right.
“Emma does that, and she’s good at it. She doesn’t call attention to herself, there’s nothing flamboyant about her, she just takes care of business.”
Mulquin is developing in much the same way, Welsh said.
“She’s very strong, she’s very competitive and she’s very focused,” Welsh said. “She commits herself to do a great job in practice every day. And so when there’s a time to do a great job in a meet on Saturday, been there, done that. She just keeps it going.”
However, while the Irish have shown improvement from the start of the season, there are still areas Welsh said need work.
“I think overall, we could use more team depth,” Welsh said. “Part of that is a function of having a small roster, but we could use more team depth.
“The most important things about this weekend are first that these are ACC opponents. … That brings an excitement all by itself, so we’re looking forward to that. We are swimming back-to-back days, but the whole thing takes place in less than 24 hours, so it’s a very compact, competitive environment.”
The Irish will host their ACC foes Friday and Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center. The teams will get their feet wet starting at 5 p.m. Friday, and then they will dive right back in Saturday at 10 a.m.