Freshman Emily Barton

Irish Set To Host Shamrock Invitational

Jan. 22, 2009

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team returns to the Rolfs Aquatic Center this weekend to host the Shamrock Invitational. The Irish last swam in their home pool against Purdue on Nov. 8, and this time will roll out the carpet for Denver, West Virginia and Michigan State.

This will be the fourth time Notre Dame has hosted the Shamrock Invitational, a meet that spans two days and covers three sessions within a championship-style format. Action starts Friday (Jan. 23) at 6:00 p.m. (ET), resumes Saturday morning at 10:00 a.m., and concludes Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame will honor its seniors – Lucy Hirt, Claire Hutchinson, Christa Riggins and Casey Wagner – prior to Saturday evening’s session.

“We’re excited to be hosting the Shamrock Invitational again this season,” Irish head coach Brian Barnes said. “Denver, Michigan State and West Virginia are three programs that will help present a competitive and challenging environment.

“I wish that each of our seniors were freshmen so I could have started my career here with them, and because they are four great young women. They’ve been terrific to work with, and I see a ton of potential in all of them: not just swimming potential, but life.”

Live stats, results, scores and complete meet coverage will be available at

The 24th-ranked Irish (3-2) have dropped a pair of dual meets on the final race over the past two weeks, but look to bounce back with a strong showing against the Shamrock Invite’s field. Denver comes off a dual meet win over Air Force while Michigan State (3-4) brings in Stephanie Fisher and her backstroke performances that could push the Irish swimmers in those events. The Mountaineers (3-7) handed a defeat to BIG EAST Conference opponent Cincinnati while falling to Louisville and Pittsburgh.

“In terms of performance, we’ve had a very good week,” Barnes said. “This team came back very motivated after close meets at Northwestern and Louisville, and I’m not quite sure when that fire is going to come out in the pool. But we’ll have the opportunity to see some pretty good swims this weekend. The team was very focused and determined on Monday and then carried that into practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. They understand the process. We are four weeks away from the conference meet, and we would like to be close to our best, if not our best at that meet. They’re patient, knowing that there are still opportunities to get better.

“This team is in a good spot. Actually, I think we’re in a great spot because our training trip was really successful, last week was very successful, and we’ve started this week out very successful. If one person is having a great workout, then ten people are having a great workout. That has been consistent for the last three and half weeks. Ultimately, at championship time it’s going to come down to not necessarily what you are doing, but it’s what your teammates are doing, and that will work for everybody. I think as a result, this team has the potential to hit at the same time, which is our goal.”