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Irish take Minnesota Invitational

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 20, 2006

The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team successfully defended its title in the Minnesota Invitational this weekend, knocking off three opponents ranked ahead of them on their way to victory.

“This is one of the most prestigious events of the fall season, and we’re excited to win it,” said senior Julia Quinn. “We are excited to go to the U.S. Open in a couple of weeks.”

The No. 20 Irish scored 889 points, besting No. 5 Tennessee (805 points), No. 16 Minnesota, and No. 9 Wisconsin. (643 points each)

“It was a really big deal for us to win this meet,” freshman Vivian Healey said. “Our team did really well overall.”

Through one day of competition, the Irish trailed the Badgers 254-245. Sophomore Casey Wagner scored the lone victory for Notre Dame on day one with a 4:49.89 performance in the 500-yard freestyle, her best time of the season in that event. Senior Katie Carroll, who has already set two NCAA “B” qualifying times this season, finished second in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 2:01.40. Freshmen Ashlee Edgell and Megan Farrell placed third and seventh respectively in the same event. Senior Rebecca Grove placed fifth in the 50-yard freestyle with a 23.84 second performance.

“We practiced very hard for this meet and we’ve been training hard,” Healey said. “We would even practice before each day of this meet.”

Notre Dame captured the lead on day two of the meet, taking a 598-572 lead over the Badgers.

Carroll continued her consistent swimming on day two with second place finished in the 200-yard freestyle and 400-yard individual medley.

The Irish also had scoring efforts from their 200-yard medley relay teams. Johnson, Quinn, senior Jessica Stephens, and sophomore Christa Riggins placed second while Healey, freshman Stacey Nedrud, senior Rebecca Grove, and senior Ann Grove placed fifth.

In their individual events, the swimmers did not claim any titles, but put up strong showings across the board to propel Notre Dame into the lead. Johnson and Barton placed third in the 100-yard backstroke and 100-yard butterfly respectively. Freshman Ashlee Edgell had a third place finish of her own in the 400-yard IM.

The Irish clinched the title on day three with the help of sophomore Claire Hutchinson’s victory in the one-mile swim. Healey made the U.S. Open cut with her fourth place finish in the 100-yard breaststroke, while the divers turned in solid performances. Freshman Natalie Stitt finished eighth in the one-meter dive, while fellow freshman Tiffany Robak placed twelfth. Junior Tara Hyer came in tenth in the three-meter dive.

“This was my first time in something like this and it was a great experience,” Healey said. “We’re in a great position for the rest of the season.”