March 21, 2015
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – In her final race as a University of Notre Dame student-athlete, senior swimmer Emma Reaney claimed fourth in the 200 breaststroke (2:07.10) to earn All-America honors in the event for the third year in a row.
The All-America swim put the finishing touches on an Irish career for Reaney that transformed the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving program from one that won BIG EAST titles to one that had a serious national presence at the NCAA meet.
A career that featured over a dozen conference titles and several academic awards ends with a program-record 13 All-America or honorable mention All-America citations in addition to her national championship in the 200 breaststroke (American record 2:04.06) in 2014, which was the first for a Notre Dame men’s or women’s swimmer or diver.
“None of the lasts have come close to hitting me yet,” said Reaney. “Last football game, last home meet, last swim. It’s still all very surreal. All things considered, I was just happy I was able to make the top eight in all my events and get that ND up on the podium three times for my last meet and hopefully make Tim (Welsh) proud for his last meet. I’m excited to get back to training and do it all over again, but I’m also very sad that that’s the last time that I’ll be representing Notre Dame.”
Saturday night, Minnesota’s Kierra Smith had too much, as she touched the pad in 2:04.56 to top Virginia’s Laura Simon (2:06.65), Stanford’s Katie Olsen (2:07.06) and Reaney.
“I’m pretty emotional right now,” said interim head coach Tim Welsh. “I’m glad I had a chance to do this this year. I wish I had done a better job of it. I’m very proud I had the chance and grateful for what everyone did for us. I’m proud of what our team did. I’m extremely proud of the people that are here. I thought Emma was wonderful. It’s been a hard year for everybody. Thanks forever. We’ll all take Notre Dame with us forever.”
In the morning session, the Lawrence, Kansas native tied for second with a time of 2:07.18.
Elsewhere in the morning session, senior Courtney Whyte turned in her best swim of the NCAA Championships with a 34th-place finish in the 200 fly (1:57.72).
“My last race I took it out like I normally do, but I tried to bring it back faster and leave everything in the pool. I ended up coming back faster in my last 50 than I did at ACCs, so it paid off. It wasn’t a best time, but it was a second-best time, so I was pretty happy with it. It was quite the way to go out, competing at the pinnacle of your sport of collegiate swimming. It was amazing to come here with two other seniors and compete for Notre Dame.
“It feels weird to be done with swimming, but I don’t think it’s hit me yet. I think when I get home and I don’t have to wake up for practice in the morning or go to afternoon practice or lift weights, that’s when I’ll realize it’s over for good and I won’t be competing in competitive swimming any longer.”
Notre Dame finished 21st at the championships with 55 points.
21st – Notre Dame: 55 Points
HONORABLE MENTION ALL-AMERICANS (1)
1-Meter Dive (9th– 325.20): Allison Casareto
Senior Emma Reaney
200 IM (4th– 1:55.13)
100 Breast (3rd – 58.43)
200 Breast (4th – 2:07.10)
Senior Allison Casareto
1-Meter Dive (9th– 325.20)
3-Meter Dive (18th– 320.55)
100 Fly (46th– 53.51)
100 Back (46th– 54.67)
200 Fly (34th – 1:57.72)
–Russell Dorn, Assistant Media Relations