Notre Dame captured its 13th consecutive BIG EAST title Saturday.

Irish Extend Streak With 13th BIG EAST Title

Feb. 21, 2009

Complete Results | Photo Gallery | – Awards Ceremony

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The longest BIG EAST Conference Championship winning streak just got longer.

The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team put the finishing touches on its 13th consecutive title Saturday at the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI, to extend the league’s longest championship winning streak in any sport.

Notre Dame totaled 828 points, nearly 150 ahead of second-place Louisville (581). Pittsburgh was third with 492.5 points.

Samantha Maxwell set a school and BIG EAST record in the 200 Breast with Katie Casey achieving similar status after her effort in the 200 Fly. In all, Notre Dame broke 11 school records at the three-day meet.

First-year head coach Brian Barnes was honored as the BIG EAST Women’s Coach of the Year and Caiming Xie took away the league’s hardware as the top diving coach. Natalie Stitt took home the meet’s award as the top female diver.

“We talked several times this year about how we are not going to ride on the shoulders of one or two people,” Irish head swimming coach Brian Barnes said. “To win a championship, whether it is an NCAA championship or a conference championship, that’s not what it takes. It takes a team effort and that’s what happened this week.

“It wasn’t just this week – we have prepared for this throughout the entire season,” Irish head diving coach Caiming Xie said. “Overall, the divers did very well this week, whether it was the men or the women. But our goals stretch beyond the BIG EAST Conference meet. Hopefully we can qualify some divers for the NCAA’s next month.”

1,650 Free: Notre Dame was paced by third-place Lauren Sylvester (16:34.68) and fourth-place Casey Wagner (16:40.80).

200 Back: Lauren Parisi went from fourth to second in a flash after a season-best 2:00.67 during her preliminary heat, while Maggie Behrens (1:58.57) made it to the wall just in front of Rutgers’ Catherine Whetstone (1:58.75) to wrap up the morning heats … Parisi went 2:00.39 in the evening and Behrens (1:59.10) was sixth in the final heat.

100 Free: Amywren Miller (49.27) posted the prelim’s second-fastest time with Amy Prestinario (50.72) adding a top 10 finish … Miller’s 49.14 in the finals gave her an all-BIG EAST accolade as she finished second.

200 Breast: Keeping her form that was revealed in the three days prior, Samantha Maxwell (2:12.08) broke her own school (2:12.46) and BIG EAST (2:12.76) record during the prelims … Ashlee Edgell was a few spots behind in 2:17.70 … Maxwell proceeded to finish the finals with another record of 2:10.35 for first … just missing an NCAA A-cut … while Edgell (2:16.41) was fifth.

200 Fly: Kellyn Kuhlke managed to swim a season-best 2:01.11 to win her preliminary heat … Katie Casey laid down a great swim in the morning’s final race with a 1:58.77 to earn the evening’s top seed … she was flanked by Claire Hutchinson (2:02.12) and Emily Barton (2:01.51) … in the finals, Casey proceeded to smash the school and conference records with a first-place 1:57.72 … Kuhlke (2:00.77) was second, Hutchinson (2:00.82) was third and Barton (2:01.56) cleaned up with a fifth-place showing.

400 Free Relay: The tandem of Zeina Shanata, Amy Prestinario, Chrisa Riggins and Amywren Miller tapped in at 3:21.61 and a third-place finish.

3-meter Diving: Natalie Stitt (294.30) picked up her second title of the meet … also earning all-BIG EAST honors was Heidi Grossman (284.30) … in seventh was Lucy Hirt (257.20).