Feb. 22, 2008
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – With only one day remaining at the 2008 BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championship at the Nassau County Aquatics Center, the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team holds a 139.5 lead over the 12-team field with a total of 525 points. The night again held record-breaking performances by Irish athletes, multiple NCAA `A’ cut markings and stunning victories.
By far one of the most unbelievable performances all night was by Notre Dame’s Christa Riggins as she posted an astounding time of 1:44.89 to smash the BIG EAST record and conquer her own record set last season at the BIG EAST meet of 1:47.82.
Riggins initially broke the BIG EAST record of 1:46.44 set in 2003 during prelims with a time of 1:46.03 and then she went on to break the record again during finals with the NCAA `A’ cut time of 1:44.89. It is one of the top ten times in the event this season in collegiate swimming.
The Irish divers were back in action this evening and they stole the show with four Notre Dame divers making it to the final round. The event remained close throughout all five dives on the 3-meter, but it was Natalie Stitt who came away with the victory with a score of 266.90, knocking of Allison Coleman who went into finals as the No. 1 seed by just .45.
Tara Hyer finished third after going into finals as the No. 4 seed. She finished with a score of 263.50, less than three points back from second place. The points attained by diving undoubtedly helped the Irish expand their dominating lead in the team competition.
Another NCAA `A’ cut performance was earned by Sam Maxwell as she took second in the 100 breaststroke. Maxwell, who has dominated the event all season, maintained her confidence in the swim and battled out a tough race to earn the qualifying time. She swam a time of 1:01.68, just being edged out of first place by Shayna Longacre who won the event with a time of 1:01.49. Her swim was good enough to set the Notre Dame school record, the second of the day for the Irish.
Two freshmen, Amywren Miller and Katie Casey, stepped up huge for Notre Dame, coming in first and second in the 100 butterfly. The pair went into the finals as the third and seventh seeds, respectively, and came out on top with respective times of 54.88 and 55.37.
Caroline Johnson and Maggie Behrens each recorded career bests in the 100 backstroke. Their respective times of 55.34 and 55.54 were not only good enough for personal records, but they also recorded second and third-place finishes for the all-BIG EAST honors.
The final day of action at the 2008 BIG EAST Championship starts tomorrow morning at 10 a.m. with prelims action with final competition to conclude in the evening. With the Irish lead, they hold a top opportunity to earn a perfect dozen BIG EAST Championships with 12 consecutive.