NOTRE DAME, Indiana, October 4. A clean sweep of the Dennis Stark Relays' 12 events in front of a packed house at the Rolfs Aquatic Center gave the Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team its first victory of the 2008-09 season Friday evening. The Irish won each of the 10 races and both diving competitions to post 280 points, the highest total of any women's team in the 25-year history of the event.
"We were successful in what we sought out to do but there's still a lot of work to be done," said Irish head coach Brian Barnes, who was leading Notre Dame into competition for the first time since taking over the program in August. "There is a ton of potential here, and that's what we're excited about. We're learning where we are, and now it's time to figure out where we need to go."
Notre Dame (280) cruised to the win over the six-team field with Ball State (198) and Illinois State (195) taking the next two spots. St. Mary's (101) was next in line in front of Cleveland State (70) and Marquette (48). Next up for the Irish is a two-day dual meet at Washington State (Oct. 24-25).
The 200 Medley Relay (1:47.44) performance posted by Colleen Fotsch, Samantha Maxwell, Kellyn Kuhlke and Amywren Miller set a new meet record. Miller and Fotsch joined Gina Mancini and Christa Riggins in the evening's first event, setting the pace for Notre Dame's win with a 1:37.42 in the 200 Free Relay.
Lauren Parisi, Maxwell, Kuhlke and Keri Masterson topped the field in the 400 Medley Relay (4:00.76) while Katie Casey, Amy Prestinario, Lauren Sylvester and Claire Hutchinson duplicated the feat in the 800 Free Relay (7:50.51).
Touching the wall nearly eight seconds ahead of the opposition was the 400 Individual Medley (4:06.67) tandem of Miller, Emily Barton, Ashlee Edgell and Megan Farrell. After sweeping the 400 Fly Relay (3:56.98), 400 Back Relay (3:57.72), and 400 Breast Relay (4:35.04) the Irish found their streak in jeopardy during the middle phases of the 1,000 Free Relay. But Zeina Shanata staged a late surge to help post a 10:23.89 along with Sylvester to claim the gold in the meet's longest race.
Parisi, Maggie Behrens, Farrell and Prestinario capped off the racing portion of the meet with a win in the 400 Free Relay (3:36.21).
Divers Heidi Grossman and Tiffany Robak teamed to register wins in the 1-meter diving relay (480.25) and 3-meter synchronized diving (206.20) events.
Special thanks to Notre Dame for contributing this report.