The Champs are here
Nathaniel Lee | Monday, February 23, 2009
There was no stopping Notre Dame this weekend, as the Irish set 11 school records on their way to extending the longest Big East Conference Championship winning streak for any sport with their 13th straight crown.
The squad controlled the meet from start to finish, wrapping up with a total of 828 points, a runaway victory over second place Louisville, who finished with 581. ?
“We really had a good performance, and it came from everybody,” Irish coach Brian Barnes said. “A lot of girls stepped up across the board, and our depth and team commitment was the deciding factor. That’s what championship teams do.”?
In competition on Friday, the Irish set the tone for the day behind the performances of juniors Ashlee Edgell and Megan Farrell in the 400-yard individual medley. The pair tagged up in 4:15.17 and 4:16.42 for the top two spots. Next, in the 100-yard butterfly, sophomore Kellyn Kuhlke ran away from the field in 53.46 for first place, breaking the school record set in the preliminaries set by fellow sophomore Amywren Miller. ?
Sophomore Samantha Maxwell was the next swimmer to steal the show, obliterating both school and conference records to win the 100-yard breaststroke in 1:00.38.
Maxwell was soon followed by junior Maggie Behrens, who set a school record of her own in the 100-yard backstroke in 54.11 to grab second place. ?
Behrens, Kuhlke, Maxwell and Miller combined in the last event of the day, the 400-yard medley relay. The four star performers once again crushed the school and conference records with a time of?3:36.20 for the win. ?
On the last day of competition, the Irish continued to bring down the hammer on the rest of the field. To start the day, sophomore distance specialist Lauren Sylvester grabbed third place in the 1,650 freestyle in 16:40.80. Next, Miller added to her awards with second place in the 100 free in a time of 49.14. ?
Maxwell wrapped up her championships in the 200-yard breastroke, where she continued the school and conference record-breaking trend with a speedy 2:10.35 for the win.
Wrapping up the day, junior Natalie Stitt snagged her second win of the meet in the three-meter dive with a score of 294.30, while sophomore Heidi Grossman’s 284.30 earned her the third spot.
Junior Zeina Shanata, freshmen Amy Prestinario, senior Christina Riggins and Miller combined for a 3:21.16 third place effort in the 400-yard freestyle relay.
“All season we have talked about swimming well and being confident and working like a team,” Barnes said. “It takes more than one or two stars to win a title, and at this meet we performed like a team and won like a team.”
“It wasn’t easy coming into this team in August with no familiarity with the program, but the team really embraced me,” Barnes said. “I am so lucky that I have a motivated group who believes in what I believe in, and we are going to continue to learn and grow.”
The Irish will travel next to the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind. to prepare for the NCAA Zone Diving Championships March 13-14 and NCAA Swimming Championships March 19-21.