ND enjoys strong first day at conference meet
Alex Wilcox | Thursday, February 20, 2014
There have been just two events in Notre Dame’s inaugural ACC conference championship, yet the Irish have already made an immediate impact and found themselves on the podium.Notre Dame took third in the meet’s first event, the 200-yard medley relay, with a school-record time of 1:37.61. The team of senior Kelly Ryan, juniors Emma Reaney and Courtney Whyte and freshman Catherine Mulquin also earned an NCAA A-cut with its performance.
“I feel great about that race,” Reaney said. “Everyone was so on-point and ready to go. We had pretty much been working 50s for the last couple days. You have to be warmed up as much as you can and I don’t think we could have been any better prepared. We shaved a whole second off the school record and got an NCAA A-cut so I’m thrilled.”
The 200-yard medley has been a strength for the Irish all season. After they swept the podium in the event in their dual meet against Cleveland State on February 8th, Reaney said how it would be a tough decision for the coaches to put together a team for the conference championships, given how many capable swimmers the team had. After Wednesday’s performance, Reaney had no qualms with the coaches’ choices.
“Obviously from the results I think the team was perfect,” Reaney said. “We’ve been practicing and working really hard the past week. This whole team has become so on-point with each other. We’re all on the same page, and it feels really good to have a team like that.”
In the second and final event of the day, Notre Dame placed sixth in the 800-yard freestyle relay. The team of Ryan, Reaney, junior Suzanne Bessire and freshman Katie Miller turned in a time of 7:11.92.
“That race went pretty well,” Reaney said. “I think we were about a second slower than last year. I know I came out hard from the beginning and so I kind of died at the end, but it went well. I think that relay has the potential to be really great. We’re seeing some of it right now, and I think once everyone comes together and gets their 200 right, we’ll be in good shape.”
At the end of day one, Notre Dame finds itself sitting in fourth place. Virginia won both events and is in first place, followed by a tie for second between North Carolina and North Carolina State. Reaney said she is happy with the position the team is in.
“[Wednesday] puts us in a great place,” Reaney said. “I think we’re tied for fourth right now, so out of 11 teams on the first day, that’s pretty good. UVA and UNC are really good, so we’re just trying to keep pace with them.”
Since this is Notre Dame’s first ACC conference championship, Reaney said the Irish weren’t sure what to expect. She said they used experience from previous Big East conference championships to help prepare themselves for the atmosphere.
“Some people were warning us that it was going to be super intense with the Virginia vs. UNC rivalry, but I think coming from the conference where we had a very intense rivalry with Louisville we knew what to expect,” Reaney said. “It actually wasn’t as bad as we expected. I think getting on the podium right away really showed the conference that we’re here and we’re not going away.”
Notre Dame will look to continue its strong start when the second day of the ACC conference championships kicks off Thursday at 11 a.m. in Greensboro, N.C.
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