Oct. 5, 2007
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team scored 226 of 822 points at the Dennis Stark Relays, the opening meet of the season, taking first place by 60 points. Five teams from nearby universities joined the women in the waters of Notre Dame. The Irish engaged in many close races with Illinois State and Ball State University swimmers and consequently, the two latter teams finished in a tie for second with 166 points. Oakland University finished 4th (142), Valparaiso University placed 5th (104), and Marquette University was 6th (18).
The 300-yard free relay began as a close race between Notre Dame and Oakland. Going into the final lap of the race, the two anchor swimmers were even. After the turn, Notre Dame’s Miller was slightly ahead with an explosion of speed from the Irish swimmer marking the final lap. The two swimmers from Oakland and Illinois State were powerless and unable to maintain the pace, resulting in a two body-length victory for Notre Dame.
The water’s of the Rolfs Aquatic Center shimmered with the reflection of Irish swimmers as they propelled through the depths during the 400-yard backstroke relay. After completing the first lap in second place, freshman Lauren Parisi (Hauppauge, N.Y./Hauppauge) finished her lead-off leg out in front of the pack. By the time Meg Reynolds (Alpharetta, Ga./Wesleyan) exited and senior and team captain Katie Guida (Alexandria, Va./Georgetown Visitation Prep) entered the water, the Irish had gained a two body-length lead over Valparaiso. They continued to expand this lead through the end of the race. Freshman Amywren Miller (Grosse Pointe Woods, Mich./The Peddie School) finished for the Irish more than 5.5 seconds ahead of second place Oakland.
The combined efforts of Irish swimmers Lexie Shue (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona Del Mar) and Lauren Sylvester (Philadelphia, Pa./Germantown Academy) produced another victory for Notre Dame in the 1,000-yard free relay. The two women proved themselves unstoppable to the rest of the field. Shue gained the lead with her opening split, with the lead growing as Sylvester came in to the finish. The two athletes combined for a total time of 10:02.78 and won the contest by almost 25 seconds.
The arms of Irish backstroker Maggie Behrens (Munster, Ind./Munster) sliced the waves and powered Notre Dame to an early lead in the 200-yard medley relay. Each subsequent member steadily expanded this lead to give the Irish a first place finish with a time of 1:49.00. This time was three seconds ahead of the runner-up Ball State relay squad.
Notre Dame finished the Dennis Stark Relays with a tremendous display during the final event–the 400-yard free relay. Illinois State led off during the beginning of the race, but by the time the first swimmers had exited the water, Notre Dame was in a three-way tie for second place. During the third leg, Valparaiso took the lead, however, the gap started to fade as Notre Dame’s Christa Riggins (Phoenix, Ariz./Sunnyslope) charged through the waves and chased down the leader. By the time Riggins finished, Notre Dame had a slight lead. After Miller entered the water, the Irish broke away in a record-breaking finish of 3:31.01, over than 2 seconds faster than the previous record.
The Irish swimmers will be back in action on Oct. 19 at 5 p.m. at the Rolfs Aquatic Center vs. swimming powerhouse USC. The match-up occurs on the eve of the Notre Dame vs. USC football game at Notre Dame Stadium. Results will be available on the official Notre Dame athletics web site (www.und.com) and the Notre Dame Sports Hotline (574) 631-3000.