March 19, 2015
GREENSBORO, N.C. – Day one at the 2015 NCAA Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships couldn’t have gone much better for two University of Notre Dame seniors, as Emma Reaney only added to her legacy with an All-America finish in the 200 IM, while Allison Casareto earned honorable mention All-America accolades with a remarkable performance on the 1-meter dive.
On of just three Irish standouts representing the University at this weekend’s meet, the duo of Reaney and Casareto got off to a fast start Thursday morning. Reaney qualified fifth for the finals of the 200 IM (1:55.20) and Casareto claimed 10th in the 1-meter dive prelims (302.05 points).
“This morning went a lot better than I expected,” said Reaney. “Obviously I’ve had some issues with that event in the past, so making it into the top eight this morning made me happy. My breaststroke felt the best it’s felt since last year at this time so that’s really encouraging. I jammed my finger really hard on the wall, reinjuring it from ACCs, but I didn’t notice it at alltonightso that’s good.”
“In prelims I was just trying to truly enjoy each dive one at a time and that seemed to work pretty well until I messed up my fourth dive,” said Casareto. “I was pretty upset thinking about how it wasn’t how I wanted to end my career with that dive so going into the consolation finals I really tried to relax and enjoy each dive and the fact that I know how to do each dive very well, and it ended up turning out for the best.
“It’s exciting because my very first club coach is here on the neutral judging panel and it’s just crazy to have the very first coach in my life be here for the very last meet of my career, so its very emotional.”
In the evening session, Casareto won the consolation finals with a whopping 325.20 points to earn her first honorable mention All-American scroll. If Casareto had placed into the A final, she would have finished fifth with her point total.
With her top-16 finish, the La Habra Heights, California native becomes the first Irish women’s diver to earn honorable mention All-America honors since Jenny Chiang finished 12th on the 3-meter board in 2013. The finish was the highest for a Notre Dame women’s diver since Meghan Perry-Eaton claimed All-America honors in the 1-meter discipline after placing fifth in 2005.
“I’m so proud of Allison,” said interim head coach Tim Welsh. “Here she is at her first NCAA meet as a senior and she places in the top-10 twice (prelims and finals). “I thought she dove beautifully. She is just a real competitor. She really earned this by working hard everyday.”
Meanwhile, Reaney moved past former Irish great Tanya Williams for most All-America scrolls in an individual career by locking up her sixth trophy with a stellar performance in the finals. In her career, Reaney has two All-America scrolls each in all three of her favorite disciplines (200 IM, 100 breast, 200 breast).
Facing off against celebrated Olympian Missy Franklin as well as fellow U.S. National Team members and conference champions, Reaney more than held her own, as she swam the fastest breaststroke split of the finals to help her place fourth overall, her highest finish in the event during her four-year NCAA career.
“That (the finals race) was one of those races where I decided not to think about it because at this point whatever is going to happen is going to and I guess it worked out for the best,” said Reaney. “It felt really good but my arms are going to need a little flush outtonight. I’m excited for breaststroke over the next two days considering my split was even fastertonightthan this morning. I’m really excited and happy to start the meet off on a couple high notes.”
With her All-America trophy, Reaney upped her career All-America/honorable mention All-America total to 11, which places her just one behind former standout Carrie Nixon (2 AA/10 HM AA) for most in program history with arguably her two best events remaining (100 & 200 breast).
“Emma is just so powerful and she’s so efficient,” said Welsh. “That was a really powerful swimtonightand you know the best part of it is where she’s the strongest. Her walls were great, her pushoffs were wonderful. Her breaststroke splits were spectacular. I’m so happy for her.”
The Irish get back to action Friday with their busiest day. Casareto (3-meter dive) and Reaney (100 breast) will compete in one event, while fellow senior Courtney Whyte gets her NCAAs started with prelims in the 100 fly and 100 back.
Fans can follow the action through the live video and live stats links found at the top of the recap.
T-16th – Notre Dame: 24 Points
200 IM (4th – 1:55.13): Emma Reaney
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-AMERICANS (1)
1-Meter Dive (9th – 325.20): Allison Casareto
Senior Emma Reaney
200 IM (4th – 1:55.13)
Senior Allison Casareto
1-Meter Dive (9th – 325.20)
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director