On Friday night at Rolfs Aquatic Center at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish prevailed over the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois. It was a hard fought battle for both teams, with the Irish narrowly capturing the win by just 14 points. The final score was 157-143.
Three standout performers claimed wins in both of their individual events at the meet: Notre Dame senior Emma Reaney (100 Breaststroke, 200 Breaststroke), Notre Dame junior Cat Galletti (50 Freestyle, 100 Butterfly), and Illinois senior Allison Meng (100 Backstroke, 200 Backstroke).
In the 200 Medley Relay, the Notre Dame women started strong as the quartet of Catherine Mulquin, Reaney, Courtney Whyte, and Galletti finished first in a time of 1:43.12. They were over a second ahead of Illinois’ A relay of Meng, Bella Schamber, Lori Lynn, and Gabby Bethke. Illinois’ B relay claimed the third spot in 1:48.49.
Freshman Nelly Casas of Illinois won the 1000 Freestyle event in 10:22.51 followed by Notre Dame freshman Molly Treble (10:25.41) and senior Kayla Dlugopolski of Illinois. Illinois also won the 200 Freestyle in a 1-2 punch of Gabbie Stecker (1:52.48) and Amelia Schilling (1:53.47). Elizabeth House of Notre Dame took third in 1:54.35.
Meng of the Fighting Illini won her first event of the night in the 100 Backstroke. She finished in a time of 54.55, followed closely by Notre Dame sophomores Mulquin and Katie Miller in 55.72 and 57.31, respectively. In the 100 Breaststroke, Notre Dame’s Reaney claimed first by over two seconds, finishing in 1:02.66. She was chased by Sam Stratford of Illinois (1:04.51) and Genevieve Bradford of Notre Dame (1:05.07).
Notre Dame’s school record holder in the 200 Butterfly, Bridget Casey, won her signature event in 2:02.54, edging out Sarah Sykstus (2:03.49) and Lori Lynn (2:06.65) of Illinois. Following Casey’s win, Galletti of Notre Dame claimed the 50 Freestyle in 23.89, followed by three Illinois swimmers: Kirsten Zborek (24.35), Sabrinne Gibson (24.72), and Bethke (24.77).
In the 100 Freestyle, Mulquin of the Irish was the only Notre Dame swimmer in the top five, finishing in 51.61. She was followed by Illinois swimmers Stratford, Bethke, Zborek, and Megan Marchuk. Meng of Illinois took the 200 Backstroke in 2:02.64, topping Notre Dame’s Miller and Illinois’ Callan McDermott.
Notre Dame claimed the top four finishes in the 200 Breaststroke, with Reaney, the American record holder in this event, finishing in 2:16.80 ahead of her teammate, freshman Sherri McIntee (2:19.24). Bradford and Danielle Margheret of the Irish took 3rd and 4th place, respectively.
Illinois had three strong performances in the 500 Freestyle as Stecker (4:59.41), Schilling (5:01.76), and Sascha Meyers (5:08.31) finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. In the 100 Butterfly, it was Notre Dame’s Galletti who took first in 56.82, followed by Illinois’ Stratford (57.17), Sykstus (57.36), and Lynn (57.37).
In the 200 IM, Miller of the Irish won in 2:06.56, edging out Illinois’ Stecker in 2:06.80 and Notre Dame’s Bradford in 2:06.80. In the final relay of the night, Illinois’ A relay of Meng, Bethke, Stratfod, and Marchuck won in 3:27.52. Notre Dame’s squad of Reaney, Galletti, Whyte, and Mulquin claimed second place in 3:27.88.
Over in the diving well, the Notre Dame women had an excellent night. In the 1 Meter event, Allison Casereto (315.07), Emma Gaboury (300.07), Lindsey Streepey (289.50) took first through third place. In the 3 Meter event, Gaboury took first place in 323.10, followed by Casereto (292.43) and Streepey (283.81). These diving scores pushed the Irish team score high enough to edge out Illinois after the evening’s close competition.
Final Score: University of Notre Dame 157 – University of Ilinois 143
The Fighting Illini of Illinois will be back in action November 20-22 at the Missouri Invitational in Columbia, Missouri. The Fighting Irish of Notre Dame will next take to the blocks December 4-6 at the Texas Invitational in Austin, Texas.