Irish set for final dual meet
Kit Loughran | Thursday, February 6, 2014
The Irish will return to competition in their home pool against Cleveland State on Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center.The No. 24 Irish will take on out-of-conference opponent Cleveland State in their last meet before the ACC Championships begin Feb. 19.
“The big focus for this meet is to get some last minute racing in before ACC’s,” junior Bridget Casey said. “We are really focused on ACC’s in less than two weeks and have already started tapering for the championship, so this meet against Cleveland State is our last opportunity to really get up and get going before conference.”
Notre Dame will maintain its home-pool advantage for the second consecutive weekends after hosting the two-day Shamrock Invitational at Rolfs Aquatic Center last Friday and Saturday. The Irish capitalized on having home-pool advantage at last week’s Invitational after winning 16 out of 20 events to defeat Iowa 263-106.
“The Shamrock Invitational was a great meet for us, for some of our girls it was their big taper meet and they swam very well,” Casey said. “We were all wearing racing suits for Shamrock to get a feel for racing in suits before our big conference Championship [because Coach Barnes] is big on preparation and getting a feel for racing in fast suits.”
“This weekend [against Cleveland State] is another great opportunity for us to get on the blocks and race and see what we can do.”
Cleveland State enters this meet after a 181-114 win over Illinois-Chicago (UIC) on Saturday and, like the Irish, have one more chance to see what it can do in the pool.
Senior Alex Johansson carried the Vikings against UIC with first place finishes in the 200-meter medley relay, 50-meter free, 100-meter fly, and 400-meter free relay. Johansson leads the Vikings this season in the 50-meter free, 50-meter yard fly and 400-meter medley relay.
Just as the Irish prepared for the ACC championships by wearing racing suits in the Shamrock Invitational, the Irish are using this meet against Cleveland State to test possible adjustments to their lineup, Casey said.
“We are switching up our line-up a little bit for this meet and we get to swim events that we don’t normally get to swim,” Casey said. “This meet against Cleveland State is our last opportunity to really get up and get going before conference.”
Though this will help the Irish prepare for conference, switching up the line-up also poses its threats.
“Our biggest challenge against Cleveland State is that we are going to be in different events than usual, Casey said. “I am confident that we will step up and swim fast, however we do not have as much practice in ‘off-events’.”
While the Irish will rest up until Saturday before taking on the Vikings, Cleveland State competes against Valparaiso in its last conference meet of the season Friday.
As the season comes to a close, the Irish are ready to finish out the season strong with this last meet against the Vikings, Casey said.
“Our mindset going into this meet is to race, be competitive, and have fun,” Casey said. “This meet is our last dual meet of the season and Tim Welsh’s last dual meet as well, and we look forward to honoring Tim and to swimming fast one last time.”
The Irish and Vikings square off Saturday at noon at Rolfs Aquatic Center.
Contact Kit Loughran at [email protected]