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ND Swimming: Freshmen adapting well to competition

Eric Prister | Tuesday, November 10, 2009

As the Irish look to form their identity in the early part of the season, freshmen Kim Holden and Christopher Johnson have made strides towards becoming part of that identity.

While Holden began varsity competition in the Dennis Stark relays, swimming on multiple relay teams, including the Irish 200 medley relay team which finished in first, Johnson swam in his first event against Oakland and took first place in the 100-yard breaststroke.

The transition from high school competition was difficult for both freshmen.

“Coming from a high school where I was the fastest swimmer to a great team that is full of great swimmers can be tough mentally,” Johnson said.

Despite the transition, both Johnson and Holden stepped into their roles quickly and made an immediate impact, posting the top team score in their best events.

“I was surprised by how quickly I adjusted to the program here after being on the same club team for nearly 10 years,” Holden said. “I’m happy with how I have performed in the first few meets of the season, but I’m definitely excited to see how else I can improve in my events.”

Holden, a backstroke competitor from Mount Kisco, N.Y., has led the Irish in both the 100 and 200-yard backstroke competitions, finishing in second place in both races against Michigan before winning her first individual race against Purdue in the 200-yard backstroke. She has also contributed to multiple team competitions, achieving first-place honors as a part of the 200 and 400-yard medley relay teams.

“All the girls have been very supportive and helpful in these first few months,” Holden said. “It’s easy to think of swimming as an individual sport, but the senior class, especially our captains Megan Farrell and Ashlee Edgell, have done a great job of making team the priority.”

Johnson did not participate in the Dennis Stark relays, but came out strong in his first meet, winning the 100-yard breaststroke against Oakland, a race in which he has recorded a second and a third-place finish as well. His times for the 100-yard breaststroke have been the best on the team, and it is this race that has Johnson’s attention.

“Right now I’ve focused in on the team’s 100-yard breaststroke record,” Johnson said. “I was pretty surprised at some of my early season times just because we had been training so intensely, and I didn’t think I was in shape to race that fast.  I’d say the success comes from the adrenaline and the want to make an impact right away for the team.”

In addition to the individual success, both Johnson and Holden are focused first and foremost on helping their teams reach a collective goal — a Big East championship — a goal which, with their help, is achievable.