Oct 25, 2012, 11:04 AM EDT
The Irish women’s swimming and diving program is in Alabama today, ready to square off against national powerhouse Auburn University. The trip signifies the return of Notre Dame women’s head coach Brian Barnes to his previous home, as Barnes was an assistant coach for the Auburn program before heading to South Bend in 2008 to lead the Irish squad. Barnes was the assistant coach for the Tigers from 2005 to 2008.
Barnes was a part of a tremendously successful Auburn program, as both the Tigers’ men’s and women’s teams won the NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007. During Barnes’ time at Auburn, the men won three SEC championships, while the women collected two titles.
It is that kind of swimming pedigree that Barnes is looking to build in South Bend and he is already well on his way. The Irish have a strong nucleus of swimmers in senior Kim Holden, junior Kelly Ryan and sophomore Emma Reaney. Lead by those three swimmers, the Irish are looking to make a big splash on the national scene at the NCAA Championships later this season. The Irish are aiming to record the program’s highest NCAA finish, which is currently an 18th place showing in 1999-2000.
Notre Dame opened the 2012-13 campaign at the annual Dennis Stark Relays, where they cruised to an easy victory, winning 11 of the 12 relays in the meet slate. While the big three of Holden, Ryan and Reaney all delivered great performances, freshman Catherine Galletti also delivered with a big opening meet, a great sign for the upcoming season.
Tomorrow provides the Irish with a fantastic opportunity to travel to a national championship contender and witness first hand what it will take to compete at the highest of levels. The Irish are looking to improve on last year’s performance against the Tigers when the Irish fell 125-167. The trip is also the first for the Irish women’s program to an SEC school for a dual meet.
Auburn University will be broadcasting the meet live. You can view the meet by clicking here.
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