Feb. 12, 2010

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – One year after finishing 247 points ahead of second-place Louisville at the 2009 BIG EAST Swimming and Diving Championships, Notre Dame heads to this season’s league meet in hopes of bringing home an unparalleled 14th consecutive team title. A win for the Irish would extend the league’s longest winning streak by any team in any conference-sponsored sport.

Hosted by the University of Pittsburgh with action taking place at Trees Pool, the two-week event begins Feb. 12 and concludes Feb. 20. The swimming portion of this year’s event will starts on Wednesday (Feb. 17) in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Notre Dame (2-5) is receiving votes in the latest College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) ranking.

Each of the sessions can be viewed live and on-demand at BIGEAST.tv. Preliminary and final results along with daily recaps will be available at UND.com. For up-to-the-minute results and scores, sign up for IRISH ALERTS text-messaging services at UND.com.

As the defending champion off the 1- and 3-meter boards, diver Natalie Stitt will lead the Irish charge as the diving portion of the event begins Feb. 12. Stitt, who participated in the 2009 NCAA Championships, was the Most Outstanding Female Diver at last year’s league meet. Her two titles in 2009 were among the 10 events won by the Irish. Also in 2009, Brian Barnes was named the women’s swimming coach of the year while Caiming Xie earned the hardware as the top women’s diving coach.

Three Irish student-athletes – Linda Gallo (1998), Carrie Nixon (2000), and Katie Carroll (2004, 2007) – have been the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Swimmer, while Meghan Perry-Eaton was the meet’s Most Outstanding Diver from 2003-05.

In all, Notre Dame has won 106 races at the BIG EAST Championships since 1996. Eleven of those came in 2005 while 14 were earned in 2000.

Notre Dame finished third in the league meet in 1996, its first season as a member of the BIG EAST. The team has proceeded to win each meet every year since.