Notre Dame has a bit of ground to make up in order to defend its BIG EAST title, but will seek out to do so starting with Saturday's preliminary races at 10:00 a.m. (ET).

Irish Ride Ryan Into Final Day Of League Showdown

Feb. 18, 2011

Complete Results

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Coming from behind to defend her 100 backstroke title on the third day of women’s swimming and diving action at the BIG EAST Conference Championships was sophomore Kim Holden, who bolted ahead of the field to set a league and school record Friday evening at Wright Natatorium. Holden’s 52.99 made her the first swimmer in league history to crack the 53-second barrier in the event.

Holden also added a third-place finish while securing an NCAA B-cut in the 100 butterfly.

But stealing the blue and gold spotlight was Kelly Ryan. The first-year swimmer began to pen her BIG EAST resume by never trailing in the 200 free. After earning her first individual title in that event, she capped off the evening by anchoring a record-breaking 400 medley relay tandem. Ryan sealed the deal after coming off the final wall to take a half-body length lead. Her foursome finished in 3:35.89, besting the previous school and league record of 3:36.20 set in 2009.

“Things got off to a good start for us this morning with a number of good preliminary swims which set the pace for us tonight,” head coach Brian Barnes said. “Kelly’s 200 free swim was a big one, and she’s worked so hard this season and deserved that win. Kim had a fantastic night. She is extremely coachable, and made the right adjustments to benefit herself in each race.

“We were clearly showing good legs in the relay to end the night, and we’ll take this momentum into the final day of competition.”

The Irish are currently second in the standings with 430.5 points.

Notre Dame’s final charge at a 15th straight BIG EAST title begins at 10:00 a.m. (ET) on Saturday with preliminary races. The finals will start at 6:00 p.m.

Live results and video will be available at

400 Individual Medley: Emily Barton posted a 4:27.59 in the prelims and went 4:27.54 in the evening as Notre Dame’s lone representative in the race.

100 Butterfly: Holden followed her morning swim of 54.63 with a 53.83 to place third in the finals … right behind her was Katie Casey (54.47) who also tacked on an NCAA B-cut … Kellyn Kuhlke, the current school recordholder who posted a 53.46 in 2009, was ninth in 55.03.

200 Free: Leading from wire-to-wire was Ryan, whose 1:46.88 was more than plenty to capture her first individual BIG EAST title … second place went to Breann McDowell (1:48.45) of Louisville … Lauren Sylvester surged her way to a sixth-place finish in 1:49.61 … Amy Prestinario led the consoles with a 1:49.33 for ninth.

100 Breast: Samantha Maxwell was out-touched by Louisville’s Therese Bergstrom in the finals … the two seniors extended their healthy rivalry with a fabulous race, as Bergstrom touched in 1:00.15 … Maxwell took second in 1:00.60 … Lauren Stauder (1:02.07) also added an NCAA B-cut while finishing fourth.

100 Back: Trailing by more than one second after the first 50-yard stretch, Holden stormed back to tap in at 52.99, breaking her own school record in the process … it also broke the league record of 53.11, set by Rutgers’ Catherine Whetstone in 2009 … Sarah Dotzel (55.29) shined with a 55.29 to place sixth … Katie Casey (55.84) and Lauren Parisi (56.71) scored points in the consolation round.

400 Medley Relay: Holden started with a 53.31 backstroke, followed by Maxwell’s 1:00.18 breast output … Casey held strong with a 53.73 fly with Ryan flying through with a 48.67 free to give Notre Dame a final time of 3:35.89 … Louisville was second in 3:37.29.