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ND Women’s Swimming: Irish host WVU in final home meet

Jared Jedick | Friday, January 25, 2008

Notre Dame gets one more chance to take on Big East competition before the conference championships when it faces West Virginia Saturday in the Shamrock Invitational.

The Irish have almost a month off before the Big East meet, which will begin on Feb. 20.

“This is really our last run-through,” coach Carrie Nixon said. “We really want to hone and fine-tune our racing skills.”

The Irish take to the pool for their last regular season meet of the season at the Rolfs Aquatic Center, and for the seniors, this will be their last opportunity to compete in their home pool.

“They are a little nostalgic,” Nixon said. “They are pumped and sad at the same time.”

West Virginia will be Notre Dame’s third Big East opponent this season.

“It is a good chance to flex your muscles and boost your confidence against an in-conference team, and that’s always great,” Nixon said.

This will be only the second meeting between the two schools, with the Irish winning big in a 222.5-147.5 romp in last year’s Shamrock Invitational.

This year will still be a challenge for the Irish, assistant head coach Joel White said.

“West Virginia has some great swimmers,” White said. “We always like to focus on the Big East.”

This last competition will give the team a preview of what it can expect in the Big East championship.

In her final year, possible Olympic hopeful Caroline Johnson has been a top performer for the Irish. Nixon praised the effort Johnson put forth over the past four years.

“She has been a joy to coach from day one,” Nixon said. “She has had a huge impact on the team and I cannot say enough.”

The Irish are swimming well, as they hold the fastest times in the conference in five individual events and one relay.

Freshman Amywren Miller holds the record in the 50-yard freestyle, junior Christa Riggins in the 200 freestyle, junior Casey Wagner in the 1,650 freestyle, freshman Sam Maxwell in the 100 breaststroke, and freshman Katie Casey in the 200 fly.

The Irish also have at least one swimmer in the top five in almost every event. That will be important in the Big East championship format, which favors depth over flair.

Saturday’s meet will consist of a morning and an evening session, the first beginning at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 4 p.m.