Oct. 25, 2012
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AUBURN, Ala. - Auburn's women's swimming & diving team will take to the waters for the third straight weekend as they welcome the Notre Dame Fighting Irish to the James E. Martin Aquatic Center for a 4 p.m. Friday dual meet.
Admission is free to all Auburn home swimming & diving meets. At Friday's meet, fans can register to win an authentic AU swim cap signed by head coach Brett Hawke. Friday is also Boys & Girls Club Day.
The Auburn women are 2-0 in dual meet action on the season after a season-opening thrashing of Alabama two weeks ago and a 218.5-78.5 win over LSU last Saturday. The Tigers have won 25 of 29 total events contested in those two meets, including 24 of 25 swimming races.
Junior Olivia Scott has led the way for the Tigers in the early part of the season, posting two wins in the 200-yard individual medley and a victory in the 100 butterfly against LSU. Scott currently owns the nation's fourth-fastest time in the 100 fly (53.71) and sixth-best in the 200 IM (2:01.59).
Also making an immediate impact have been four newcomers in the backstroke events. Freshman Jillian Vitarius was named the SEC's Freshman of the Week after a pair of wins in the 100 and 200 backstroke against LSU. Her time of 54.40 in the 100 back is the nation's fourth-best, and her 200 back time of 1:56.98 is the third-best in the country so far this year. She has had help from fellow freshmen Sarah Reynolds and Caitlyn Forman, along with junior transfer Aubrey Peacock, who all have times in the 200 back that rank in the nation's top 30.
Senior Micah Lawrence, a 2012 Olympian, has been unbeatable in the breaststroke events thus far in 2012-13, and senior distance specialist Katie Gardocki is a perfect 4-for-4 in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle.
Notre Dame will be swimming in its first dual meet of the 2012-13 season. The Fighting Irish opened the season at the Dennis Stark Relays, winning 11 of 12 relays at the meet. Notre Dame was the runner-up at last season's Big East Championships and finished 22nd at the NCAA Championships here in Auburn. The Irish are led by junior Kelly Ryan and sophomore Emma Reaney, who both earned All-America honors last year. Ryan finished seventh in the 200 backstroke and Reaney was a three-time All-American with scoring swims in the 100 breast, 200 breast and 200 IM.
Brian Barnes is in his fifth season as head coach at Notre Dame after spending three seasons as an assistant at Auburn. While on the Plains, Barnes helped the men's and women's teams to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007 along with three straight SEC titles for the men and two for the women.
Last season, Auburn went to Notre Dame and came away with a 167-125 victory at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. It was the first meeting between the programs in a dual meet setting.
Friday's meet will follow a 16-event format and begin at 4 p.m. with diving taking place during the breaks. Live video and live results will be available through AuburnTigers.com, and fans can follow @AuburnSwimming for updates during the meet.