Feb. 17, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – All the months of training have been building towards this, the Atlantic Coast Conference Women’s Swimming & Diving Championships. Twenty University of Notre Dame student-athletes are in Atlanta and set for the four-day meet that gets underway Wednesday with the 3-meter dive prelims.
“This has been our target meet all season long,” said Irish interim head coach Tim Welsh. “We’ve had since last year’s meet to think about this meet and prepare for it. To a large extent, we tend to measure ourselves on what happens at the championships. If this were school, it would be the final exam to end all final exams. It’s cumulative and everything counts.
“The team has been very focused recently. They have been sharper and sharper at practices these last few days. I thought Saturday’s final full practice before we left was excellent. The attention to detail was excellent. You never know, because the pool never owes you a fast swim, but it will let you have one if you’ve trained well and prepared. I think people have trained well and prepared. We are optimistic.”
Both in the pool and on the boards, the Irish will face outstanding competition from their fellow ACC student-athletes. But unlike last year when they were competing at the ACC meet for the first time in program history, the squad should be prepared for the elite nature of the meet this time around.
Held at the Georgia Tech Aquatic Center, the 2015 ACC Championships will feature 13 squads competing for a conference title, including ranked teams Virginia (No. 8), North Carolina (No. 9), NC State (No. 13) and Louisville (No. 20).
Of the 20 Irish student-athletes that are in Atlanta for the meet, 15 competed in finals events at last year’s ACC Championships.
“I don’t think there is any question that we are heading down there with a much bigger appreciation of what ACC Championship level competition means,” said Welsh. “Last year we had no clue. We had numbers on a piece of paper, but that’s different than bodies next to you. I believe there is a full appreciation as to what the ACC brings and I think there is certainly an appreciation for what Louisville brings to the mix. We have dualed them so many times and had such an intense BIG EAST rivalry. I think we have a much more realistic appraisal of what is going to happen at Georgia Tech this week.
“This will be the best diving competition we have been in all year. Having seen and experienced it once, we are aware of it. But we are very confident in our divers.”
Leading the Irish into the ACC meet is senior Emma Reaney, who was the Most Valuable Swimmer at the 2014 ACC Championships after winning three individual events, including breaking the American record in the 200-yard breaststroke (2:04.34) to highlight the meet. Her efforts helped the Irish finish sixth out of 12 teams with 802 points.
This year, Reaney enters the meet ranked first in the 100 breast, second in the 200 breast and fourth in the 200 IM.
“The ACC has improved in her events,” said Welsh. “Unlike last year when she was an unknown person in the meet, she is not anymore. So the field has gotten better and they are aware of her. But the thing about Emma is that she is a competitor. She thrives on racing. Her preparation has been excellent. She had two seasons this school year. In the fall season she was focused on the World Short Course Championships. When that ended in December she switched her focus to the ACC meet and then the NCAA meet beyond that. She’s a great competitor and she knows the competition that will be there.”
Also ranked among the top eight entering the meet are sophomore Catherine Mulquin (100 Free) and junior Catherine Galletti (100 fly). In the relays, senior Courtney Whyte joins Galletti, Mulquin and Reaney on the 400 medley relay squad that is seeded fourth entering the championships.
Joining that foursome is sophomore Katie Miller, who earned all-ACC honors in the 400 IM last year, and a trio of divers in Allison Casareto, Lindsey Streepey and Emma Gaboury that have been incredibly steady this season and do boast impressive performances at previous year’s championship meets.
Action gets underway at 10 a.m. Wednesday with the prelims of the women’s 3-meter dive. The night session begins with the 3-meter final at 5 p.m. before finals swims of the 200 medley relay and 800 free relay.
Admission to this year’s championships is free for fans.
For those that can’t make it to Atlanta, live results are available all weekend, while Thursday, Friday and Saturday night sessions will be streamed live on ESPN3. In addition, @NDwSwimming and @NDDiving will have event-by-event results.
ACC Individual Rankings (Top 8 Only)
1. Emma Reaney (59.04 – converted)
2. Emma Reaney (2:08.27 – converted)
4. Emma Reaney (1:56.94)
T-8. Catherine Mulquin (49.75)
8. Catherine Galletti (53.35)
ACC Relay Rankings (Top 4 Only)
400 Medley Relay
NCAA Individual Rankings (Top 50 Only)
3. Emma Reaney (59.04 – converted)
4. Emma Reaney (2:08.27 – converted)
9. Emma Reaney (1:56.94)
44. Catherine Galletti (53.35)
T-50. Courtney Whyte (1:58.46)
NCAA Relay Rankings (Top 40 Only)
400 Medley Relay
200 Medley Relay
400 Free Relay
NCAA Zone C Qualifiers
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director