Feb. 19, 2010
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – Junior All-American Samantha Maxwell crushed the BIG EAST Conference, Notre Dame and Trees Pool record Friday evening after winning the 100 breast in 59.64, the nation’s fastest time in the event this season. The win was the fourth career individual title for Maxwell at the BIG EAST meet, and the second straight in the event for the Irish standout. Maxwell, whose performance earned her and automatic berth into the NCAA Championships, was second in the 100 breast as a freshman in 2008.
“It was pretty exciting to win the race, and it has been fun to swim with (Louisville’s) Therese Bergstrom as we have a friendly rivalry between us now,” Maxwell said. “As for the final time itself, I know there are a lot of other conference meets going on but I hope it stays competitive. I’m just happy to be able to help put the team in a position to win the BIG EAST title.”
Maxwell led the rally as Notre Dame regained the overall lead by opening the evening session with a 3:36.45 to win the 400 medley relay title. The relay was the nation’s third-fastest time of the season. After the session was said and done, Notre Dame (558.5.) sat above Louisville (532) and West Virginia (359) in the standings. Pittsburgh (309.5) was fourth among the 11-team field.
Also getting a piece of Friday’s spotlight was freshman Kim Holden (53.88), who shelved her first BIG EAST individual title with a win in the 100 back to set a school and pool record.
“Our team stepped up to the challenge tonight after we put ourselves in a good position this morning to score points in the finals,” Irish head coach Brian Barnes said. “This is close to the best we’ve been all season, in terms of the team clicking at the same time. The evening session started with a great relay and even more tremendous swims in every race after. The point production was there for us when we needed it.
“And for Samantha to achieve such an accomplishment – it was incredible to see her hard work pay off once again. What an awesome swim for her, and that’s just one of the many sparks we’ve had at this meet as the entire team keeps getting better with each session.”
The final day of the meet kicks off Saturday (Feb. 20) as the prelims at Trees Pool start at 10 a.m. (ET).
400 Medley Relay: The race was close until Maxwell blew the field out of the water with a 59.38 100-yard breaststroke effort … Katie Casey kept the Irish ahead as Amyrwen Miller closed the door with a 48.88 in the final stretch … along with Holden’s leadoff, the foursome’s 3:36.45 smashed the pool record set by Villanova (3:44.94) in 1993.
400 Individual Medley: Ashlee Edgell (4:19.28) was seeded third heading into the finals with an NCAA B-cut time and Megan Farrell just snuck into the final evening session with a 4:22.55 … it was a three-way race heading into the breaststroke portion of the finals, with Louisville’s Leslie Vanwinkle gaining the edge into the 100-yard free … Edgell stayed stroke-for-stroke with West Virginia’s Rachael Burnett (4:14.91) until the final 50 yards to finish third in 4:16.93 … Vanwinkle (4:12.03) won the event to set a pool record … Emily Barton (4:22.87) was second in the consolation heat.
100 Fly: The Irish placed four swimmers into the final round … Holden (54.12) was second and Kellyn Kuhlke (54.25) earned third-place points … Katie Casey (54.58) was sixth and Miller (55.24) tapped in for eighth.
100 Breast: Maxwell (1:00.69) set a pool record with the nation’s sixth-fastest time while placing first in the prelims … Shannon Suddarth (’99) previously held the top Trees Pool mark (1:02.07) set during the 1998 league meet … later in the evening Maxwell went 59.64 in the finals, breaking her own school and league record, earning an NCAA A-cut with the country’s fastest performance to date.
100 Back: Holden (54.23) came out of the prelims with the event’s top time for a pool record and NCAA B-cut … her 53.88 in the finals gave her the win and another NCAA B-cut … Maggie Behrens (55.46) also got an NCAA B-cut while placing fourth … Casey (56.23) was eighth in the finals … the consolations saw Keri Masterson (56.46) take first and Lauren Scott (57.02) touched third.