Jan. 30, 2010
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Senior diver Natalie Stitt set a University and Rolfs Aquatic Center record Saturday off the 3-meter board with a score of 376.20, leading the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team to a pair of dual meet wins to wrap up the Shamrock Invitational. Stitt, the defending BIG EAST champion in the 1- and 3-meter events, bettered Heather Mattingly’s school record (351.15) set on Jan. 26, 2001. Furthermore, she bumped ahead of the pool record (333.82) established by Meghan Perry-Eaton on Jan. 12, 2002.
Stitt’s performance was flanked by four more wins by the Irish (2-5), who picked up dual meet victories over Denver (275-94) and Iowa (260-110). No. 21 Missouri dealt Notre Dame a 190-180 setback. Iowa defeated Denver, 225-143, while Missouri downed by Iowa (269-101) and Denver (276-93).
Notre Dame also received NCAA B-cut swims from Samantha Maxwell (100 breast) and Kim Holden (200 back). The additional Irish wins were posted by Megan Farrell (400 IM), Maxwell (100 breast), Holden (200 back) and the 400 free relay squad.
“This morning was a bit of a challenge as we’re still looking for our legs in the water,” Irish head coach Brian Barnes said. “We are on the front end of our rest for the BIG EAST Conference Championships, but we are still looking for our legs in quite a few cases. The meet got competitive after this morning when Missouri posted a number of great swims, and our coaching staff was focused on how we were going to out-perform ourselves from the second session. I felt we did that, and the team preformed better tonight than they did this morning. It was a challenge for them, being the last session of the meet. It is a brutal meet, and they responded to the challenge.
“I think this is a great preview for the upcoming BIG EAST meet. I believe this team is a good team; it is a very good team. We have not shown our strongest team collectively yet. I think this team is getting closer and closer each day to clicking on all cylinders, and they have the chemistry to all fire at the same time.”
Notre Dame now looks ahead to the 2010 BIG EAST Championships hosted by Pittsburgh. The defending champions take part in the league’s diving action Feb. 12-14 with the swimming portion held Feb. 17-20 at Trees Pool. Notre Dame seeks its 14th consecutive BIG EAST title to extend the league’s longest streak by any team any sport.
200 Medley Relay: Holden led off for the Irish, posting a solid backstroke split (26.75) … Maxwell erased the slight deficit with a blistering breaststroke split (28.32) … Lauren Scott (25.24) kept the Irish neck-and-neck with the squad from Missouri for the butterfly … Amywren Miller (22.74) hit the pool blazing, but her strong final 25 yards was not enough to overtake the lead … the Irish settled for second (1:43.05) behind the Missouri squad (1:42.98) of Cassie Cunningham, Rachel Ripley, Kim Jasmer, and Lisa Nathanson.
400 Individual Medley: Farrell took a half-second lead over the field as she touched the wall going into the backstroke leg … she fell behind slightly on the backstroke, but quickly reestablished her lead on the breaststroke portion of the swim … Farrell kept her tight hold on the lead through the freestyle and cruised home to finish in 4:27.07 for the gold medal win … Ashlee Edgell took fourth for the Irish, touching in with a time of 4:31.02.
100 Butterfly: The duo of Holden (56.27) and Katie Casey (56.31) were unable to catch up to the early bell-ringer, Colleen Gordon (55.15) of Missouri … they still took the second and third spots to harvest points for the Irish.
200 Freestyle: Farrell started off strong and led through the first half of the race … a late surge by Missouri’s Kim Jasmer (1:49.89) was too much to handle though, and Farrell (1:51.46) settled for third.
100 Breaststroke: Maxwell continued her breaststroke dominance by leading from the first pullout to the final wall … she topped the field with an NCAA B-cut time (1:02.54).
100 Backstroke: Holden (56.07) took an early lead, but a late charge by Missouri’s Dominique Bouchard (55.74) relegated her to a very close second-place finish.
800 Freestyle Relay: The squad of Gracie Fredlake (1:53.26), Farrell (1:51.77), Lauren Sylvester (1:51.37) and Malandra (1:54.61) took third in 7:31.01 during in the distance relay … Missouri’s quartet of Kim Jasmer, Colleen Gordon, Stephanie Rovic and Francie Szostak took first (7:24.02)
3-meter Diving: Stitt demolished an eight-year old pool and team record, scoring an unprecedented 376.20 to win the event … Heidi Grossman took second (298.00) … Missouri’s Christina Gailey rounded out the podium with a score of 287.00.
1,650 Freestyle: Fredlake (16:59.58) swam her way to a second-place finish in the ultimate distance event of the meet … Sylvester (17:10.10) took the fourth position … Missouri’s Colleen Gordon took the gold in 16:48.53.
200 Backstroke: Holden darted out to an early lead at the 100-yard mark (58.80) … a spirited chase by Missouri’s Bouchard was not enough to reel her in and Holden out-touched her (1:59.13 to 1:59.17; both NCAA B-cut times) to win the gold … Lauren Parisi took sixth (2:05.31).
100 Freestyle: Miller brought home another medal on the evening, placing third overall in the race (51.44) … Missouri’s Lisa Nathanson grabbed first with a time of 50.65 … Amy Prestinario took fifth (51.85).
200 Breaststroke: Maxwell (2:17.55) came up short in the distance breaststroke, coming in second for one of the very few times this season … Denver’s Grace Kittle snagged the gold with a readout of 2:17.30.
200 Butterfly: Casey (2:01.82) came tantalizingly close to gold in the penultimate event, but ended up taking silver in the race … she was chased down by Missouri’s Colleen Gordon (2:01.54) over the last 50 yards.
400 Freestyle Relay: Notre Dame ended the night on a high note … Prestinario (52.29) led off the last relay … Farrell dove in next and laid down a 51.86 split … Holden (51.91) helped close the gap … Miller chased down the leading Missouri swimmer with a blistering 49.97 anchor split to secure the gold for the host Irish.