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ND Women’s Swimming: Sweep is aim for the Irish

Joe Meixell | Friday, January 20, 2006

After leaving Michigan in its wake last weekend, the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team will attempt to complete rip through the water of the entire state of Michigan when they travel to East Lansing to take on Michigan State Saturday.

Not only are the Irish going for a state sweep, but they are also swimming for their sixth consecutive victory – a victory that appears to be very much within this team’s reach.

The Spar-tans come into the contest with a dual meet record of 2-2, including a loss to the same Michigan team that Notre Dame just defeated.

Notre Dame has another advantage. While the Irish are resting Friday night, Michigan State will be competing in a meet against Oakland.

“The fact that Michigan State is in action Friday night is probably a slight advantage for us,” Irish coach Carrie Nixon said. “They’ll probably be a little tired on Saturday, but the fact that it’s their home pool will probably even that advantage out.”

While Michigan State may not present an overbearing challenge to the Irish, Nixon still sees Saturday’s meet as a good opportunity for her team. She said this weekend will be an opportunity for many swimmers on the team to swim in off-events, events they don’t normally get a chance to participate in.

“Doing the off-events is a luxury,” Nixon said. “We can fine tune some areas that we aren’t able to against a team like Michigan because we have to put all our swimmers in their best events in those meets.”

While the team’s immediate focus is on this weekend’s meet, the Irish have the corner of their eye on the bigger picture. With only two more dual meets until the Big East Champion-ships, the season is entering the home stretch, and the team has adjusted its training accordingly.

This is the last week of intense training for the team before swimmers will begin a “taper.” Similarly to the players in other sports, the swimming team has its most intense training early and then continually eases up as they approach their goal. For the swimming and diving team, that will be the Big East Championships.

Beyond their desire to obtain their sixth consecutive victory, the Irish are placing this weekend’s meet in the context of the bigger picture.

“This and next weekend are our final two chances to learn how to race,” Nixon said. “It is our priority to get better every time we compete.”