Notre Dame Women’s Swimming and Diving Edges Illinois

Photo Credit: Peter H. Bick

SOUTH BEND – The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team picked up wins in 10 of the 16 events to edge the University of Illinois on Friday night, 157-143. Emma Reaney and Catherine Galletti each contributed two individual wins for the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame Press Release

The University of Notre Dame’s women swimming and diving squad won 10 of the 16 events Friday night against Illinois to claim a 157-143 victory over the Illini in the fall home finale at Rolfs Aquatic Center.

Leading the Irish in wins were senior Emma Reaney and junior Catherine Galletti, who totaled two individual wins apiece and also contributed to the victorious 200 medley relay.

Notre Dame also had impressive victories from Catherine Mulquin in the 100 free and in the 200 medley relay.

The Irish swept the top three spots in the 200 breaststroke and the 1- and 3-meter diving events.

Reaney, freshman Sherri McIntee, and junior Genevieve Bradford combined to take the top three spots in the 200 breast. Allison Casareto, Emma Gaboury and Lindsey Streepey took the top three spots in the 1- and 3-meter springboard with Casareto winning the 1-meter event and Gaboury taking the gold in the 3-meter event.

This meet marked the third straight weekend in which the Irish competed. Interim head coach Tim Welsh was proud of his team’s performance and the heart his ladies showed today.

“That [meet] was a challenge, and we talked about how this would be a toughness test,” said Welsh. “We knew Illinois would race well, we knew there would be some close races, and this is a toughness test, and in the end, toughness comes down to heart. I love the heart on this team.”

Welsh also noted the importance of the Irish divers to the victory over Illinois.

“We certainly do not take them for granted,” said Welsh. “We love our divers. They are a huge help to us.”

Emma Gaboury was pleased with her effort off the boards today as she collected a first and a second place finish in the 3- and 1-meter springboards, respectively.

“I dove pretty well. I think I had a really good meet,” said Gaboury. “I was really consistent today—we’ve all been training really hard and I think it is finally starting to pay off.”

Coming off the stretch of three straight weekends with a meet, the Irish have their sights set on the Texas and Iowa Invitationals, which Galletti refers to as a critical point in the season.

“It is a great opportunity for us to measure where we are during the middle of the season, and it tells us what work needs to be done the rest of the way,” said Galletti. “Everyone is really excited.”

The Irish will enjoy a break in their schedule through the Thanksgiving weekend. The women swimmers will resume their schedule when they head to Austin, Texas for the Texas Invitational from December 4-6, while the women divers will compete at the Hawkeye Invitational from December 5-7.

Illinois Press Release

The Fighting Illini swimming and diving team fell to Notre Dame, 157-143, in its second consecutive closely fought meet. However, the Illini still won six events on the evening. Illinois now drops to 3-8 all-time against the Fighting Irish in dual meets and is 3-3 overall this season.

“It would have been great to get the win, but it was a tight meet like we thought that it could be going into it,” head coach Sue Novitsky said. “I thought that today we handled that situation very well. Today we definitely grew as a team and got better as a team.”

Senior Alison Meng put on another great performance in the pool, earning two individual first-place finishes. Meng touched the wall first in the 100 back in a time of 54.55, an NCAA “B” cut time that places her fourth on the Illinois’ all-time top 10 fastest performances list in the event. Meng would go on to win the 200 back as well, setting an Illinois season best time of 2:02.64. Meng also swam a leg in the Illini’s victorious 400 free relay (3:27.52) squad with senior Megan Marchuk and freshmen Gabrielle Bethke and Samantha Stratford.

“Meng had the best meet today,” Novitsky said. “She should be close to having all 10 of the top 10 100 back times in school history now.”

Sophomore Gabbie Stecker stepped up for the Orange and Blue, taking home two individual first-place finishes of her own in the 200 free (1:52.48) and 500 free (4:59.41).

“Gabbie came up big in the 200 free and 500 free,” Novitsky said. “She also had a lifetime-best swim in the 200 IM. She had a very solid day overall and she was one of those that rebounded from last week. She was a lot more relaxed and calm in her races and that definitely helped us out as a team.”

Freshman Nelly Casas claimed her second career first-place finish in the 1000 free with a career-best time of 10:22.51.

The Illini had eight second-place finishes on the evening including sophomore Amelia Schilling in the 200 free (1:53.47) and 500 free (5:01.76), Stratford in the 100 breast (1:04.51), 100 free (52.03) and 100 fly (57.17), junior Sarah Sykstus in the 200 fly (2:03.49), junior Kirsten Zborek in the 50 free (24.35) and Stecker in the 200 IM (2:06.80). Meng, Bethke and juniors Isabella Schamber and Lori Lynn also combined for a second-place finish in the 200 medley relay (1:44.44).

Taking third-place finishes for the Orange and Blue were senior Kayla Dlugopolski in the 1000 free (10:25.64), Lynn in the 200 fly (2:06.65), senior Sabrinne Gibson in the 50 free (24.72), Bethke in the 100 free (52.42), junior Sloane McDermott in the 200 back (2:04.71), freshman Sascha Meyers in the 500 free (5:08.31) and Sykstus in the 100 fly (57.36). In the relays, Stecker, junior Hollie Smith, Sykstus and Marchuk claimed third in the 200 medley relay (1:48.49) and Zborek, Gibson, senior Hailey Booth and Schilling finished third in the 400 free relay (3:33.14).

Eight Illini took home fourth-place finishes including Marchuk in the 200 free (1:54.93), Sloane McDermott in the 100 back (58.53), Meyers in the 200 fly (2:06.91), Bethke in the 50 free (24.77), Zborek in the 100 free (53.31), senior Callan McDermott in the 200 back (2:07.32), Lynn in the 100 fly (57.37) and Sykstus in the 200 IM (2:07.99).

Also scoring for the Orange and Blue with fifth-place finishes were junior Jennifer Coady in the 200 breast (2:23.29) and Dlugopolski in the 500 free (5:13.45).

On the boards, the Fighting Irish overwhelmed the Illini. Senior Erika Murphy led the Illini in both events, scoring a 238.34 in the three-meter dive to finish fourth and a 251.62 in the one-meter dive, finishing in fifth.

“We’re pretty tired and pretty sore so we’re getting them to focus on the details, the things that are easy to look over when you’re tired,” Novitsky said. “We are making sure we are practicing as well and as clean as we possibly can so that when we step up on the blocks at Missouri we’re able to execute the way that we do in practice.”

The Illini will be back in action on Thursday, November 20th for the first day of the Missouri Invitational in Columbia, Missouri.

Results: Illinois vs. Notre Dame

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Author: Emily Sampl

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Emily Sampl, an editorial assistant for Swimming World Magazine, is a freelance writer for USA Swimming and an assistant coach at Boulder High School and Boulder Elks Swim Team in Colorado. Emily graduated with a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University of Colorado and master's degree in sport administration from the University of Northern Colorado.

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