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ND Women’s Swimming: Irish to end season against UM

Molly Sammon | Thursday, February 5, 2009

No. 25 Notre Dame will host Michigan Saturday in its final tuneup before the Big East championships in Indianapolis on Feb. 18-21.

“Michigan has a really great program and they are really competitive,” senior Claire Hutchinson said. “We’re going to have to go into the meet with a really aggressive approach.”

Hutchinson, who swims the 500-yardfreestyle, 400-individual medley and 200-fly events, will be approaching the meet against Michigan a little differently than previous meets.

“The format [of this meet] is more favorable for sprinters and we’re not competing in two of my main events,” Hutchinson said. “So, I’ll have to swim some events that I don’t normally swim during the season, which is always a challenge.”

Though the Wolverines (3-6) are unranked, they just recently dropped from the top 25 rankings and should provide a stiff test for the Irish (6-2).

The last time Notre Dame competed was almost two weeks ago at the Shamrock Invitational, when the Irish hosted Michigan State, Denver and West Virginia.

In that meet, sophomore Samantha Maxwell took first in the 200-breaststroke and fellow sophomore Katie Kasey took first in the 200-butterfly. The 400- and 200-freestyle relay team, consisting of Megan Farrell, Zeina Shanata, Amy Prestinario and Amywren Miller, also won both of their events.

Though these freestyle relays have been Notre Dame’s stronghold for the duration of the season, Michigan also boasts a strong relay lineup. Four more Shamrock Invitational events were first places awarded to the Irish.

With the Big East championships quickly approaching, the Irish have already begun to change their practice routine.

“[We] have started resting for Big East,” Hutchinson said. “Our yardage has gone down, and we’ve started to focus more on our speed and technique in practice.”

Saturday’s meet concludes the regular season for both the Irish and the Wolverines.

“It is a great last chance to race before the end of the season,” Hutchinson said.