Oct. 10, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – One day after former head coach Dennis Stark’s 91st birthday, Notre Dame honored the patriarch of the University of Notre Dame swimming and diving program with the 50th annual Dennis Stark Relays. The Irish women’s swimming and diving team finished in second place (184 points) behind first-place Ohio State (194 points), and defeated Illinois State (138 points) and Olivet Nazarene (92 points). Notre Dame claimed victory in the 300 fly relay, 1-meter diving relay and 3-meter synchronized diving events while collecting eight runner-up finishes.
American record-holder Emma Reaney teamed with Courtney Whyte and Bridget Casey to highlight the meet for the Irish, winning the 300 fly relay in 2:48.49. Reaney powered through the second leg of the relay, giving Casey and the Irish the lead. Casey sealed the victory for Notre Dame, out-touching Ohio State at the wall to win the event.
“I had already done two races before that so I was a little tired,” said Casey. “I am a butterfly swimmer and the 200 fly is my best event so I couldn’t let her (the Ohio State swimmer) win. I was really excited that I could get the first win for the team. I put my head down and finished the race.”
Notre Dame had 15 swimmers and divers participate in at least one winning or second-place relay over the course of the meet. Interim head coach Tim Welsh was pleased with what he saw from the team.
“First, the opening tribute to Dennis was just spectacular,” said Welsh. “Fighting Irish Digital Media always does a superb job and that video was great. What was exciting about this afternoon for us was there was an awful lot of racing in a very short time. The total time of the meet was shorter than an afternoon practice and people swam three, four or five times with all-out effort every time. It was good competition and a good training environment. Relays are team events and have a lot of spirit to them. We love the commitment to racing.”
The Irish duo of Lindsey Streepey and Emma Gaboury swept the 1-meter diving relay and the 3-meter synchronized diving events, both of which are unique for the collegiate season.
“This is a really fun meet because we don’t normally get to do this, especially on the one meter where you are diving with someone else and relying on them,” said Streepey. “Three meters is also really fun because it is synchronized and Emma and I only do it in the summer at Senior Nationals. It is a really relaxing way to get into the season.”
Junior Genevieve Bradford and sophomore Katie Miller led the Irish with four runner-up showings apiece while Casey added an additional two runner-up finishes to her gold-medal performance in the 300 fly relay.
“We had a tough week of training and that definitely played a part in the meet, but we came together and toughed it out,” said Bradford. “I think we did well all things considered. It was a good meet.”
The Irish will have to balance their training with their studies as midterms start next week before the team heads south for some top competition.
“Each week has been a little more challenging for us. Next week athletically is a huge challenge as we are on the road facing two teams Friday and two teams Saturday,” said Welsh. “Academically next week is a midterm week so it is a big challenge. We have seen over the past couple of weeks that we are tougher as we go on and we appreciate the challenge next week will bring.”
The Irish head to Atlanta, Georgia and Auburn, Alabama next weekend for two meets. On October 17th, the Irish will swim against host Georgia Tech and South Carolina beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET. The following day the Irish will take on host Auburn and Vanderbilt at 2:00 p.m. ET.
NOTRE DAME VICTORIES (3)
NOTRE DAME RUNNER-UPS (8)
400 Individual Medley Relay (4:02.34) – Bridget Casey, Suzanne Bessire, Genevieve Bradford, Katie Miller