Meaghan O’Donnell, a senior at Wayne Valley High School in New Jersey, has verbally committed to swim at the University of Notre Dame.
“I’m proud to be a part of such a great school,” O’Donnell said of her choice to attend Notre Dame. “I can’t wait to swim for the Fighting Irish!”
O’Donnell is a member of the Cougar Aquatic Team in Wayne, New Jersey and is primarily a breaststroke specialist. She has seen steady improvement in her 100 breaststroke over the past three years of high school, from a 1:05 during her freshman year to her current best time of 1:02.10. She dramatically improved her 200 breaststroke over the past few years as well, going from a 2:20 in 2012 to a 2:13.12 in early 2014. This kind of progress indicates that O’Donnell will continue to develop over the course of her senior season, likely entering Notre Dame with even stronger times.
Her current best yards times include:
100 Breaststroke – 1:02.10
200 Breaststroke – 2:13.12
200 IM – 2:05.82
50 Freestyle – 24.16
100 Freestyle – 53.18
O’Donnell will be joining the Irish right after the team graduates their fastest breaststroker in school history: current senior, Emma Reaney. Reaney holds both the 100 (57.79) and 200 (2:04.06) yard breaststroke school records, as well as the American record in the 200 breaststroke. At the NCAA Division I Championships in Minneapolis, Reaney placed third in the 100 breaststroke and first in the 200 breaststroke. She will be graduating at the end of the 2014-2015 season, before O’Donnell arrives on campus.
However, O’Donnell will be still become part of a very strong, competitive breaststroke training group. The current Notre Dame breaststrokers are junior Genevieve Bradford (1:02.34; 2:14.54), sophomore Danielle Margheret (1:02.36; 2:16.08), freshman Sherri McIntee (1:03.09; 2:15.08), and freshman Alyssa Storino (1:04.14; 2:16.45). With times as close as these, there is room for any one of these girls to claim the top times in the breaststroke events. O’Donnell will find herself in the mix right away, likely representing the Irish at the ACC Championships and contending for relay spots.