Big East: Relays Spark Louisville

The University of Louisville swept  the first two relay events  as the first day of the BIG EAST Swimming Championships got underway Wednesday night at the Ralph Wright Natatorium.  The Cardinal women stand in first 145 points, ahead of Notre Dame (132). The Cardinal men stand in third with 133 points, trailing Notre Dame (191) and Pitt (157) as the results which include the diving points from a week ago.

“Stating the obvious, we got a great start in session one,” said U of L head Arthur Albiero.  “Maybe we surprised some people but our goal was to swim our best. And all the 16 guys swam their career best.  The 800-free relay wanted to prove they are legitimate and they may have done that.  Our goal is to get to the NCAAs.”

For Notre Dame it was all about getting better.  “These were two strong performances for us, especially in setting a school record in the 200 medley relay,” Irish men's coach Tim Welsh said. “Maybe we came out a bit too aggressive at the beginning of each relay, and perhaps we were a bit too keyed up. This is what we went to school for all season, and we’re going to come back even stronger tomorrow.”

“Setting the school record in the 200 medley relay was nice for the team, but we have to remember that this is a seven-session meet,” Irish women's coach Brian Barnes said. “Our women need to keep their heads on straight and take this one swim at a time. From this point on, nothing is going to hinge on anything we did tonight. It will hinge on how we approach each and every swim from here on out, which will help us understand the pace of the meet.”

In the women’s 800-free relay, the University of Louisville foursome took the conference crown posting a time of 7:11.10. The Cardinals’ Lindsey LaPorte finished her leg in 1:48.43 to touch third.  Breann McDowell  took  the lead in the second leg with a leg of 1:47.14.  Eszter Povaszay opened up the lead to almost a full body lead of nearly three seconds with a split of 1:48.32.  Sarah Andrews’ anchor leg of 1:47.21 was enough to hold off a serious threat from WVU’s anchor Rachael Burnett, who swam the fastest leg of the entire race (1:45.69). The Mountaineers finished second with a time of 7.11.32.