Feb. 16, 2012
Pittsburgh, Pa. – Notre Dame freshman Emma Reaney added another chapter to her historic first year in the Irish blue and gold on Thursday night at the BIG EAST Swimming Championships as she blew past the field in the 200 IM to claim the gold medal in a Notre Dame, meet and pool record time of 1:56.42.
Notre Dame trails rival Louisville, 304-212, entering day three.
The three-time BIG EAST Women’s Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week battled with Louisville freshman Tanja Kyllianen for much of the first two legs of the event, but turned it on in impressive fashion during the breaststroke to propel her to first place. She becomes the first Notre Dame women’s swimmer to win the 200 IM since 2007, when freshman Ashlee Edgell won the event in 2:02.08.
The time of 1:56.42 lowered her own school mark (1:57.67) and also broke the meet and pool record of 1:57.83 set by Louisville’s Leslie Van Winkle in 2010. The time puts her fifth in the country as most conference meets get underway. She remains the elite freshman 200 IMer in the land.
The 200 free relay team just missed out on first place by .18 seconds, as Louisville touched the pad in 1:31.47 compared to Notre Dame’s 1:31.65.
Elsewhere in the night cap, junior Gracie Fredlake claimed 12th in the 500 free, senior Emily Barton placed 15th in the 200 IM, freshman Hannah Bowen finished ninth in the 50 free and senior Amy Prestinario touched the pad in 10th in the 50 free.
Friday’s action gets underway at 10 a.m. with the prelims for the 400 IM. As a reminder to fans, a live stream of the entire meet can be found at BIGEAST.org.
500 Free: Fredlake was the only Irish swimmer in the consolation finals or finals of the 500 free. She finished fourth in the consolation finals and 12th overall by turning in a season-best swim of 4:51.88 to earn Notre Dame five points.
West Virginia’s Rachel Burnett won the event in a new meet and pool record time of 4:39.63, breaking her own meet record from two years ago.
200 IM: Reaney won her first BIG EAST individual title in the 200 IM, cruising past the field in an NCAA B-cut time of 1:56.42. The time was a new school record, which she had set in December, and was also a meet and pool record. Reaney was neck and neck with Kyllianen through the fly and back legs, but pulled away with her patented strong breaststroke. Reaney upped her career 200 IM finals record to 7-0.
Barton also finished 15th in the event, seventh in the consolation finals, to earn one point for the Irish. Her time of 2:04.03 in the finals lowered her season best from the 2:04.15 she swam in the prelims on Thursday morning.
50 Free: Bowen (23.19) and Prestinario (23.34) went first and second in the 50 free consolation finals, to earn ninth and 10th place finishes, respectively. Bowen’s time was a new season-best as the duo earned 16 points for the Irish.
Cincinnati’s Liz Hansson won the race in 22.96.
200 Free Relay: In a photo finish, Louisville touched the pad just .18 seconds ahead of the Irish in the 200 free relay. Neck and neck at the final turn, the Cardinals’ Aileen Cole and Notre Dame’s Lauren Scott churned through the water on the final leg with Cole stretching to the finish just a little quicker. The time was the fastest for an Irish 200 free relay team all year.
1. Louisville 304
2. Notre Dame 212
3. West Virginia 192
4. Connecticut 183
5. Pittsburgh 164
6. Rutgers 138
7. Villanova 133
8. Cincinnati 131
9. Seton Hall 52
10. Georgetown 51
11. Providence 43