Dec. 12, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Despite being more than 1,000 miles apart, the University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and the Irish women’s diving squads enjoyed similar success this past weekend, as both groups wrapped up their fall in impressive fashion.
The Irish open up the spring semester Jan. 9, 2015, as they meet Michigan in Ann Arbor on Friday, before battling the Wolverines and Northwestern on Saturday. Notre Dame next competes at home Jan. 30-31 for the annual Shamrock Invitational.
The divers, who were competing at the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa, did well enough to finish in fifth place out of seven teams with 155 points despite not having their swimming counterparts in attendance.
Senior Allison Casareto was spectacular on the 1- and 3-meter boards in winning both events.
After qualifying second on the 1-meter coming out of prelims, the La Habra Heights, California native broke the meet record with 321.40 points in the finals to beat teammate Lindsey Streepey by almost 36 points.
“The 1-meter was really fun because that’s (second place) my favorite position to be in going into finals,” said Casareto. “Being in second place sort of puts me in the underdog role and puts the pressure on the person in first. We do reverse order for the finals, so I get to set the bar and she has to go after me and try to beat it. That’s really comforting to me.”
A day later on the 3-meter, Casareto had a tough prelims and was the last to qualify for that night’s finals. However, she didn’t let that get her down, as she again put together a quality performance to top Streepey by 3.70 points and take the crown.
“3-meter is always inconsistent for me,” said Casareto. “I was not in a good position after prelims. My dive list for the 3-meter is high risk, but high reward. It takes a lot of practice and focus and that’s what I love about it. I had a lot of fun in the finals and my attitude really helped my performance.”
Meanwhile, Streepey was as consistent as consistent gets throughout the meet, as she placed second in all three diving disciplines. After taking runner-up to Casareto on the boards, the Dallas, Texas native claimed second on the platform and broke her own school record in the event with 267.35 points, finishing just two points out of a tie for first.
“Platform is a special event for us since we don’t have a tower at Rolfs,” said Casareto. “With that in mind, our attitude towards the event is very stress free. It’s hard to pressure on ourselves when we don’t get to train on it very often. However, everyone does surprisingly well on it.”
Elsewhere, junior Emma Gaboury claimed third on the 3-meter and fourth on the 1-meter before sitting out the platform with a minor thumb injury, while freshman Annie Crea qualified for the finals on the platform and finished eighth overall.
“Emma did a new dive on the 1-meter that is really tough,” said Casareto. “I’ve honestly only ever seen a few female divers do it in my life. It’s a guy’s dive with the strength required to do it. For her to try a dive like that and still finish fourth was really impressive.”
Highlighting the meet was a clean sweep for the Irish on the 3-meter.
“When we saw 1-2-3 on the board, it didn’t matter to any of us who won,” said Casareto. “We definitely showed our team presence by taking the top three spots.”
In Austin, Texas, the Irish women’s swimmers put their intense fall training to the test against a loaded field that combined for well over a dozen NCAA A cuts.
After three days at the Lee and Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center, it’s safe to say the Irish held their own against some of the nation’s best talent, as the squad notched 13 NCAA B cuts, qualified a whopping 43 swimmers for nightly finals in individual events and lowered personal bests virtually across the board despite All-American Emma Reaney missing the meet while competing for Team USA at the FINA Short Course World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
“When you look at the times we swam in Texas and compared them to the times we were swimming earlier in the year, Texas was a big step forward for us,” said interim head coach Tim Welsh. “That was encouraging all by itself. And then the fact that we were able to come back at night and swim again was another positive. We went there to have a trials and finals meet that had two swims in a day and we got that a lot of the time, so we are very pleased with the results.
“We didn’t have a lot of `B’ cuts going down there, but we had quite a few coming back. Entering the world of NCAA B cuts is like knocking on the door. You have to knock before it’s opened. We have knocked on the door and we now have a better sense of what it’s going to take to open it. The fact that there are quite a few people in that category creates a new level of expectations for the swimmers on this team.”
“It was a pretty elite field to make `A’ finals at,” said Welsh. “Times that it took to win a race down there were some of the leading times in the country this year. It was a very fast meet up top.”
McIntee, who finished first in the `B’ final (9th overall) of the 200 breast in an NCAA B cut time of 2:13.95, has lowered her time in the event by over 10 seconds since the start of the year.
Meanwhile, Treble placed 14th overall in the 500 free (6th `B’ final) by touching the pad in 4:54.18. Since the start of the season, the Massapequa, New York native has cut into her time in the event by over 20 seconds.
“Molly’s time in the 500 free was her best all season by quite a bit,” said Welsh. “She is still trying to catch up from what she lost at the beginning of the year when she was sick. There’s more where that came from. Her mile was also really steady if you look at her splits. So it was a solid weekend for her. There is a lot more in Molly that we hope will come out later this year.”
In the relays, the Irish earned top-10 finishes in the 200 free and 200 medley relays (9th place in each) and the 400 free relay (10th place).
With the fall semester fully in the rear view mirror now, Welsh and his squad must now look to the championship portion of their schedule that is just a couple of months away.
“This weekend gave us enthusiasm, excitement and confidence,” said the 30-year Notre Dame coaching veteran. “It was six sessions in a row. We hadn’t done anything close to that so far and we handled all six of them well, so much so that the sixth session was one of our best. That was a real tribute to the team for getting focused on the last night and having a great session. I left this meet with confidence in the team. Next time we compete in a meet like this, we will go to the ACC meet and need seven good sessions in a row. Between now and then there is work to be done. We aren’t a finished product. But we are planning on being a finished product. There is a lot of excitement on our part to say that the end product this year could be pretty good.”
NCAA B Cuts At Texas Invitational
Catherine Galletti: 100 Fly, 100 Back
Catherine Mulquin: 50 Free, 100 Free, 100 Back
Courtney Whyte: 100 Fly, 200 Fly, 100 Back
Katie Miller: 100 Back, 200 Back
Sherri McIntee: 200 Breast
Genevieve Bradford: 200 Breast
Bridget Casey: 200 Fly
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director