Feb. 19, 1997

Irish in Second, Fifth After First Day at Big East Meet

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Notre Dame’s women’s swimming and diving team stands in second place and the men in fourth after the first day of action at the Big East swimming and diving championships. Competition resumes Thursday at the Werblin Recreation Center at Rutgers University and continues through Sat., Feb. 22. Miami leads the women’s competition 105 points, with Notre Dame second 87 and Villanova third with 83. The Hurricanes also lead the men’s division with 116 points, while Pittsburgh has 91, West Virginia 71 and Notre Dame is in fourth with 69.

Notre Dame’s women’s swimming and diving team won the 200 medley relay in a school record 1:44.97, shattering the old record by 1.85 seconds. The team of Erin Brooks, Brittany Kline, Liz Barger and Linda Gallo were just .07 short of the 1:44.90 needed for NCAA consideration time. In the 200 freestyle relay, Laura Shepard swam fastest 23.97 in the first leg of the relay to set school record in the 50 freestyle, leading the Irish to a second-place finish. The team swam the relay in 1:35.59 behind first-place Villanova’s 1:34.28. In the women’s three-meter diving, freshmen Gina Ketelhohn and Rhiana Saunders placed sixth and 17th for the Irish.

“We are really pleased with our performances today,” said women’s head coach Bailey Weathers. “This was a great start. Last year, we were eighth in the 200 freestyle relay and fifth in the 200 medley relay so I think we turned in the best performances that we could have hoped for.”

Notre Dame’s men’s team placed fifth in the 200 medley relay with a time of 1:33.12. Pittsburgh won with a time of 1:31.61. Captain Matt Rose swam the fastest 50 breaststroke split of the 13 teams in 25.49 to pace the Irish. In the 200 freestyle relay, the Irish took seventh in 1:24.31. Herb Huesman and Tyler Maertz continued to dive well as the two freshmen placed sixth and 13th in the 30-diver event.

“Our relay teams really swam well tonight,” said men’s head coach Tim Welsh. “This is a very positive start for us and we are very happy with our performances.”

The 500 freestyle, 200-yard individual medley, 50 freestyle, women’s one-meter diving and 400-yard medley relay highlight the action Thursday at the second day of the Big East championships.