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Thursday, May 23, 2024
The Observer

ND Women's Swimming: Boilermakers edge Irish

The Irish won nine of the 16 events at their dual meet against Purdue on Friday evening, but one mistake allowed the Boilermakers to slip by and take the win, 152-148.

No. 19 Purdue (2-0) pulled ahead in the points total in the first race of the night when the Irish "A" team was disqualified for an early take-off in the 400-yard medley relay.

"We had one costly mistake at the beginning of the meet, and that's just athletics, that's just the way it varies," Irish coach Brian Barnes said. "You false start on a relay, and it's a big hole you're going to put yourself in early in the meet."

Despite a frustrating start, the No. 18 Irish (0-2) won seven of the next 12 races, and - just as importantly - raced well and scraped up points by finishing in the top five, even when they didn't get the win.

"We showed more depth than we did last week against Auburn," Barnes said. "[Sophomores] Courtney Whyte, Melissa Scott, Bridget Casey [all stood out today]; Bridget Casey came off the thousand and swam the 200[-yard] fly and won the 200[-yard] fly. We're seeing some good depth out of [sophomore] Suzanne Bessire, who was third in the 100[-yard] free. I need to look at the results to get everybody's name outside of the ones winning the events, but in dual meets like this you need a little more depth than that."

Barnes also praised his divers, who earned 27 of the 38 points awarded in the one-meter and three-meter events.

"Our divers did a really good job, [senior] Jenny Chiang and [sophomore] Allison Casareto," Barnes said. "We won both boards, and they did a fantastic job."

The Irish had overcome their early deficit and led 144-139 going into the last event of the night, the 400-yard free relay. As in the first relay, a small misjudgment sealed the victory for the Boilermakers. With 50 yards left to swim, Notre Dame's "A" anchor, freshman Genevieve Bradford, had pulled even with Purdue's Lauren Gustafson, but on the second to last turn of the race, she slapped her foot against the pool deck. She finished the race and held off Purdue's "C" team to earn second place and four points for the Irish, but she had to be helped out of the water and off the pool deck.

"It's uncommon," Barnes said about this sort of injury. "I think it was a combination of a couple things; I think there was a tremendous amount of excitement from her end and since she was traveling very quickly and just misjudged the turn at the 50, caught the wall too close."

Despite the close loss, Barnes said he was pleased with his team's attitude and their progress from the previous week's 166-132 loss at Auburn.

"I think we've come together pretty well as a team," Barnes said. "We competed."

The Irish aim to secure their first dual meet victory of the season when they host Pittsburgh at the Rolfs Aquatic Center next Friday.

Contact Vicky Jacobsen at