Oct. 14, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Two successful meets are in the books for the University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team, as the squad gets set to dive into the intense dual-meet portion of its fall schedule that features eight different opponents over the next month.
Irish interim head coach Tim Welsh pulled a lot of positives from the two early meets that saw the Irish beat Michigan State before coming in second to Ohio State at the 50th annual Dennis Stark Relays last Friday.
“We’ve been together about a month so it’s a good time to get a pulse on who we are and what we are doing,” Welsh says. “What I’ve liked about the meets is that they’ve been spirited and energetic. I thought everyone competed with everything they had, as we tried to get a realistic appraisal of where we are and what needs to come next.”
Welsh, who headed up the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving program for 29 years before taking over the women’s program on an interim basis in September, is impressed with how quickly the team has adjusted to the coaching changes that occurred before the season began.
“The team members have been very welcoming and positive about making this transition year work,” Welsh says. That’s been the most encouraging thing. It’s more than a person could ask for and I’m very grateful for that.”
As far as the action in the pool is concerned, Welsh has been impressed with senior captains Bridget Casey and Courtney Whyte, whom Welsh says have had excellent training sessions and shown real leadership by example.
Casey, who is a two-time NCAA qualifier and the school-record holder in the 200 fly, won the event against the Spartans before turning in a clutch swim in the 300 fly relay Friday to out-touch an Ohio State swimmer at the wall.
Whyte, who qualified for her first NCAAs as a junior, swam the lead-off leg of the previously-mentioned 300 fly squad after taking second in both fly events and swimming a leg of the victorious 200 medley relay team against MSU.
In diving, the Irish have been dominant through two meets, despite senior Allison Casareto missing each of the first two competitions after having wisdom-teeth surgery. Junior Lindsey Streepey swept both diving events against Michigan State, before teaming with fellow junior Emma Gaboury at the Dennis Stark Relays to win the 1-meter relay and the 3-meter synchronized relay.
“It’s no surprise, but I’m very grateful that the divers have been their usual steady and consistent selves,” said Welsh. “They’ve trained and competed well. That’s a credit to Caiming (Xie) and the work he does with his group.”
As the Irish enter midterms week with the rest of the Notre Dame student body, the team must also prepare for its first big test this weekend, as it hits the road for a Friday meet against Georgia Tech and South Carolina in Atlanta, Georgia and a Saturday meet versus Auburn and Vanderbilt in Auburn, Alabama.
“My opinion has always been that this week in school academically is always too challenging to look for great athletic performance at the end of it,” Welsh says. “Which isn’t to say that we wouldn’t be glad to see it. Certainly the challenge is there with Auburn and the others. Our expectation is that we will continue to train this week, people will take care of their academic responsibilities, we will get on the road Thursday night and see what we have Friday and Saturday. And whatever it is will be ok because we come back to fall break next week, which will give us a chance to train hard, get extra sleep and get caught up with our school work as we prepare for a tough November and early December.”
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations Director