Irish dive into NCAA championship races
Katie Heit | Thursday, March 20, 2014
Eight Irish swimmers begin competition at the NCAA championships Thursday at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Min.
By bringing eight swimmers, Notre Dame ties its program record for most swimmers in to travel to the national competition. Of the Irish competitors, six are competing at the NCAAs for the first time.
In preparation, the Irish have been following a strict workout plan, according to junior Emma Reaney.
‘We have pretty much been doing a plan of ‘one day on, one day off’,” Reaney said.
Reaney enters the meet ranked in the top five in all three of her events, taking the No. 5 spot in the 200-yard individual medley, the No. 4 in the 100-yard breaststroke and the No. 1 spot in the 200-yard breaststroke. Reaney enters the meet with the national record in latter event with a time of 2:04.34, a record she set at the ACC Championships two weeks ago.
Reaney said she hasn’t yet felt the pressure from possessing the national record in her event.
“I still don’t feel like the girl that people are coming after,” Reaney said. “I’m just here to swim fast and have a good time, just like I was last year.”
Freshman Katie Miller matched Reaney’s event count as she qualified in the 400-yard individual medley and was invited to compete in two events, the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard backstroke. Junior Bridget Casey was an automatic qualifier in the 200-yard butterfly and was invited to compete in the 400-yard individual medley.
Rounding out the individual performances for the Irish is senior Christen McDonough, who qualified in the 100-yard breaststroke and was invited to compete in the 200-yard breaststroke.
In addition, freshman Catherine Mulquin, senior Kelly Ryan, and juniors Courtney Whyte and Suzanne Bessire will be participating in the three Irish relays.
Reaney said preparation for the championships hasn’t solely been about swimming.
“We went to the Chicago suburbs to Kelly Ryan’s house this past weekend to have a mini spring break since we didn’t get a real one,” Reaney said. “It was fun to relax with all the girls and eat home-cooked food away from campus for a couple of days.”
Reaney said much of the Irish preparation has involved relaxing and enjoying the ride.
“For us, it’s just a goofball city,” Reaney said. “We are already having so much fun just being here and seeing old friends. We’re all feeling pretty great in the water and can’t wait to get started tomorrow.”
Reaney said the Irish are focused but won’t get overly wrapped up in the competition.
“We obviously want to move up in the standings in everything and [get to the finals] in the relays,” Reaney said. “Other than that, I’m just looking for best times. I think as long as we keep having fun and stay relaxed, we will do amazing things. “
The Irish dive into NCAA competition Thursday, with the first round of trials beginning at 11 a.m. and finals beginning at 7 p.m.