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Women’s Swimming

Galletti stages comeback after hip surgeries

| Tuesday, January 20, 2015

“They say that for every day you’re out of the water, it takes two days to make up,” Catherine Galletti says.

After two hip surgeries kept her out of the pool for five-and-a-half months, Galletti certainly understands how difficult it can be for a swimmer to recover from injury. But with dedication and hard work, she has managed to make an impressive comeback, earning three NCAA ‘B’ cuts and winning 10 races this season.

SwimGraphicEmily Danaher | The Observer

Galletti, currently a junior, had a promising freshman year, competing in three relay events at the NCAA Championships for the Irish. Achieving her goals on the highest stage in her first year was an incredible experience, she said.

“It was the first year of college, so there were obviously a bunch of new experiences — meeting new friends, being on a new team, new coach,” Galletti said. “But going to national championships my first year, by whatever means, was always a goal of mine.”

After such a strong start, Galletti appeared destined for even better things in her second year. That December, however, she discovered she would need surgery on her left hip.

“I found out on the day of my accounting final actually, so that was fun,” Galletti said. “The strategy was just to see how long I could last, but after about a month I made the decision that I needed the surgery.”

During rehab, however, Galletti began to feel a similar pain in her right hip and discovered that it would need surgery as well.

Irish interim coach Tim Welsh, though — who at the time led the men’s team — said he had little doubt that Galletti’s strong character meant she would have little trouble getting back into competition.

“I knew that, first of all, she’s a very strong person and a very tough competitor,” Welsh said. “There was no doubt in her mind that of course she would compete again.”

Sure enough, she did, making her return against Michigan State this year, and she said that she can feel herself returning to form.

“The Michigan-Northwestern meet [on Jan. 9] was the first time I felt like my old self, before I had surgeries,” Galletti said.

Welsh says that he has noticed Galletti’s improvement this year too, not just in her recovery from injury, but also mentally.

Irish junior Catherine Galletti powers through the middle of the 100-yard backstroke during Notre Dame's 219-60 win over Valparaiso on Nov. 15, 2013.Wei Lin | The Observer

Irish junior Catherine Galletti powers through the middle of the 100-yard backstroke during Notre Dame’s 219-60 win over Valparaiso on Nov. 15, 2013.

“What’s been wonderful this year is not only her own personal work ethic, but also that she’s become a very strong team player,” he said. “She supports her teammates; she works for the betterment of the group, and I personally have really appreciated that in her.”

Still less than a year removed from her surgeries, Galletti said she believes she has plenty of time to continue her recovery and improve her performances in the pool. Welsh agrees.

“Without any doubt, she’ll be better next year,” Welsh said. “She’s still not a year out of surgery. She’s doing all of this and she had one surgery right after the other. I don’t think there’s any question that as time passes, her healing will progress; her strength will improve, and her best is still ahead of her.”

“My hopes are just to continue getting better and stronger and being able to help this team improve at ACCs and NCAAs,” Galletti said. “Being able to swim for this University and being able to contribute to the University’s prestige has just been the best experience, and I want to continue that. You’ll have people who either love Notre Dame or hate it, and the people who hate it are just crazy.”

Galletti and the Irish dive back into the pool Jan. 30 for the Shamrock Invitational in Rolfs Aquatic Center.

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About Daniel O'Boyle

Daniel O'Boyle is a senior sports writer living in Alumni Hall, majoring in Political Science. He is currently on the Notre Dame Women's Basketball, Men's Tennis and Women's Soccer beats. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Daniel spends most of his free time attempting to keep up with second-flight English soccer and his beloved Reading FC. He believes Lonzo Ball is the greatest basketball player of all time.

Contact Daniel