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ND Women’s Swimming: Irish energizing for Big East meet

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, January 31, 2006

After rigorous training and preparation over the past three months, the Irish women will spend the next two weeks getting ready for tests against the nation’s top competition.

On Feb. 15, Notre Dame will start its postseason in the Big East Championships and continue until the NCAA Championships March 23.

“The NCAAs have been the focus all year,” Irish coach Carrie Nixon said. “Our goal has been to get as many girls to the NCAAs and score as many points as possible.”

To accomplish that goal, Nixon is easing up on workouts for the next couple of weeks.

For example, the sprinters, who need the most rest because of their intense workouts over the course of the season, will be tapering for a full 10 days.

Irish junior Katie Carroll, on the other hand will only be tapering for five days. Since Carroll has already qualified for the NCAAs by attaining an ‘A’ cut time in the 400 IM, the Big East Championships are just another tune up on the road to the national meet.

For the majority of the team however, the Championships will be their opportunity to achieve what Carroll has already done – qualify for the NCAA Championship.

The Irish are currently riding a seven-game win streak in Nixon’s inaugural season as head coach.

Despite Nixon being a part of the program as both a competitor during the 1997-98 season and as an assistant coach in the 2004-05 season, several members of the team needed time to adjust to a new coach.

“At the beginning of the year, everybody on the team just decided to trust her,” Quinn said. “Our performances since then have really cemented that trust, and our confidence in her has grown over the course of the year.”

Despite having their sights set on the national meet, the Irish say they are not going to overlook the Big East Championships. Notre Dame will face a tough Rutgers program, which enters the tournament on a high note after defeating0 No. 12 Penn State 129-112 in its final meet of the regular season.

“We kind of felt that Rutgers was trying to send us a message in their last meet,” junior Julia Quinn said. “We’re still confident, though, because although Rutgers has some stars, they don’t have the depth to match up with us.”