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ND Women’s Swimming and Diving: Irish stand second at Big East

Brian Hartnett | Sunday, February 12, 2012

Notre Dame’s divers helped spur the Irish to a strong showing at the Big East diving championships in Pittsburgh over the weekend. A first-place finish and multiple top performances vaulted the team into second place in the overall Big East team standings.

Junior diver Jenny Chiang brought home the victory for the Irish in Saturday’s 3-meter dive event, finishing with a score of 320.90 to win the title by 11 points. Chiang has now won three consecutive 3-meter dive titles, becoming only the sixth individual and second diver to win three Big East titles in one event.

“It’s definitely exciting to win the title for the third year in a row,” Chiang said. “I was a little disappointed after the 1-meter dive, but I came through in the 3-meter.”

Chiang placed third in Friday’s 1-meter dive event, finishing one place behind Irish freshman Allison Casareto.

Casareto concluded the event with a score of 283.80, edging out Chiang by three points and falling just four points behind the winner, Connecticut’s Danielle Cecco. This performance earned Casareto and Chiang All-Big East honors, marking the first time Casareto has received such honors and the fourth time for Chiang.

Casareto also reached the finals in the 3-meter dive, placing seventh with 247.45 points.

“Allison performed really well for her first Big East meet,” Chiang said. “To be able to come in as a freshman and accomplish what she has is huge.”

With the divers’ strong performances, Notre Dame currently sits in second place in the Big East women’s team standings. The Irish, who have accumulated 71 points, sit three points behind Louisville heading into the swimming portion of the Big East championships.

Chiang attributed the team’s success over the weekend to the divers’ consistency and sharp mental focus gained during practice and competition.

“Being consistent and able to handle pressure are key in competitions,” Chiang said. “We have managed to stay mentally focused and not let pressure affect our performances.

“I think that these abilities come largely through practice, which is a big time commitment both in-season and during the off-season.”

Notre Dame will look to build on the success of the diving team when the swimming team heads to Pittsburgh to compete in the Big East swimming championships, which run Wednesday through Saturday. The Irish will attempt to win an unprecedented 15th title in only 17 years as a Big East member.

Contact Brian Hartnett at [email protected]