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ND Women’s Swimming and Diving: Ryan’s victories guide team

Issac Lorton | Monday, January 30, 2012

Sophomore Kelly Ryan’s four victories at Michigan State on Jan. 21 helped propel her team to a 218-82 victory to break Notre Dame’s four-match losing streak and earned her the honor of being last week’s Big East Swimmer of the Week.

“Kelly really deserved this award,” Irish Assistant Coach Kate Kovenock said. “She is coming off an outstanding training trip in Hawaii. She really stepped it up. Her focus was incredible and she was making herself stronger and her team stronger.”

Ryan’s performance at Michigan State consisted of three individual victories in the 50-yard freestyle race (23.65) the 100-yard backstroke event (56.08), the 200-yard backstroke (2:02.60), and she notched a fourth first-place as a member of the 400-freestyle relay team (3:28.64).

“As far as her performance at Michigan State, it wasn’t a big surprise to the people on the inside — the coaching staff and swimmers — that she posted some impressive times,” Kovenock said.

Ryan holds the fastest times in the Big East Conference for four individual events; the 50-yard freestyle race (23.17) the 100-yard freestyle event (49.62) the 100-yard backstroke competition (53.60) and the 200-yard backstroke race (1:55.66). She set all of these conference top times on Dec. 2 at the Ohio State Invitational.

“Kelly comes through when we need her, especially in relays,” Kovenock said. “She swims her heart out; not just for herself, but for her teammates as well.

Ryan is part of two relay teams holding the Big East Conference’s fastest times. She swam the 400-freestyle relay team alongside senior Amy Prestinario, freshman Emma Reaney and freshman Hannah Bowen, which produced the fastest time to date of 3:20.93. Ryan, along with Prestinario, Reaney and sophomore Sarah Dotzel, is also part of the 400-yard medley relay team that holds the fastest time of 3:59.59. The relay teams posted both these record times at the Ohio State Invitational.

“She is versatile and can swim anything,” Kovenock said. “Kelly was recruited as a backstroker, but we saw something in her freestyle too.”

Kovenock said he is not sure what events they need Ryan to race for the conference event, but said she will no doubt be an important part of Notre Dame’s Big East meet roster.

“We are two and a half weeks out of the Big East meet and the coaches are having a hard time deciding where Kelly will swim,” Kovenock said. “But one thing is for sure, Kelly is going to race and post fast swims. The biggest thing though, is she will provide momentum for the team.”

Ryan and the Irish will return to action for a dual meet at Ball State on Saturday before they head into the Big East meet Feb. 10-12.



Contct Isaac Lorton at [email protected]