Feb. 21, 2008
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team increased its lead over the 12-team field with 270 points after the second day of competition at the 2008 BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championship at the Nassau County Aquatics Center. The Irish lead over second-place Louisville by 72.5 points. Impressive finishes were turned in by multiple Notre Dame swimmers, including an NCAA ‘A’ cut performance from Amywren Miller and two BIG EAST meet records broken, one Notre Dame record broken and one tied.
Among the many highlights of the day was the prelim performance by Miller in the 50 freestyle. Miller not only had the number one spot going into the finals, but her performance clocked in at 22.39, breaking the BIG EAST meet record of 22.45 set a year ago by Madison Kennedy of Rutgers. The time also tied the Notre Dame school record held by head coach Carrie Nixon. The two will now share the title until the 22.39 barrier is passed.
“Our 50 freestyles were great today,” Nixon said. “It was perfectly executed and Amywren tied my record. That’s pretty cool for a freshman. When I started coaching it was one of my dreams to watch these girls break my records so that was exciting and special to watch today”
Miller’s 22.39 time sealed her chance at the NCAA meet as she surpassed the NCAA `A’ cut time of 22.62. In the finals she once again surpassed that time and wrapped up the race with the BIG EAST victory with a time of 22.42. It is Miller’s first all-BIG EAST honor and BIG EAST championship. Teammate Christa Riggins followed in close behind for third place to also earn all-BIG EAST honors as well as bring in more points for the Irish. It is Riggins 11th BIG EAST honor, but the two Irish standouts would bring more success for the Irish later in the session.
The two, along with teammates Caroline Johnson and Lauren Parisi, teamed up together to produce another record-breaking performance in the 200-freestyle relay. The Irish were in second for most of the race until in the final leg Miller captured the lead going into the final 25 yards.
The squad clocked in with a time of 1:31.07 to set the BIG EAST meet record as well as Notre Dame team record. The BIG EAST record was set in 2006 by a team from Rutgers with a time of 1:31.61, while the Notre Dame record was posted just a season ago at the BIG EAST meet also with Johnson and Riggins members of that team as well.
“The 200-free relay tonight was mind blowing,” Nixon said. “They were so close to the `A’ cut and it looks like they’ll still get to go to NCAAs with the time they produced tonight. They got it in their heads that they could win it and obviously getting the record back in the BIG EAST is a really cool thing. There was a lot of heart in that race and the girls are just rising to the challenge. It’s really great to see the teamwork, especially as these kinds of meets because that’s where it means the most.
Notre Dame holds a considerable lead going into the third day with 270 points. Closest behind the Irish are Louisville in second with 197.5 points, West Virginia in third with 180 points and Pittsburgh in fourth with 171.5 points. The Irish have dual victories over Louisville and West Virginia this season and was defeated by Pittsburgh by only two points. The lead sets the Irish in good position to capture a 12th-consecutive title in the 13-year history. Competition resumes tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. (ET) with prelims with finals to follow in the evening.