2011 BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championship

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - BIG EAST teams have wrapped up their regular seasons and are preparing for the BIG EAST Men's and Women's Swimming & Diving Championships, which begin in Louisville, Ky., at the University of Louisville on Friday, Feb. 11 with the first day of diving events. The event concludes on Saturday, Feb. 19 with a senior ceremony and final events. The swimming portion of this year's event will begin on Wednesday, Feb. 16. BIG EAST Among the Nation's Best The national polls list Louisville as the only ranked BIG EAST school on both the men's and women's sides. The Cardinal women stand at No. 15 in the College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) ranking, while the men are No. 19. Notre Dame's men's and women's squads are listed in the receiving votes category of both polls. The Irish women have 30 votes in the poll, while the men are receiving 14. The West Virginia women are receiving votes with three. Notre Dame Women Look To Keep Streak Going in 2011 The Fighting Irish women have been the reigning BIG EAST champions since 1997 and look to push their streak to 15 straight years. Louisville has finished as the championship runner-up for the last three years and looks for its first BIG EAST title. Louisville Men Seek to Defend League Crown and Home Turf Host Louisville looks to not only defend its title, but also the Ralph R. Wright Natatorium. The Cardinals spoiled the Irish's hopes of a third straight championships crown, earning UofL's first BIG EAST title in 2010. Seven Different BIG EAST Schools Earn Weekly Awards Each week of the season, the BIG EAST selected a men's and women's BIG EAST Swimming and Diving Athlete of the Week. A total of 18 awards were received by eight different schools. Louisville sophomore Carlos Almeida led all swimmers with three Athlete of the Week awards. Men's Athlete of the Week Week 1: Pedro Oliveira, Louisville, So. Week 2: Karim Zayed, Connecticut, So. Week 3: Carlos Almeida, Louisville, Jr. Week 4: Frank Dyer, Notre Dame, Fr. Week 5: Carlos Almeida, Louisville, Jr. Week 6: Carlos Almeida, Louisville, Jr. Week 7: Adam Maczewski, Pittsburgh, So. Women's Athlete of the Week Week 1: Aileen Cole, Louisville, So. Week 2: Rachael Burnett, West Virginia, So. Week 3: Jacquelyn Ward, Rutgers, Jr. Week 4: Raine Thompson, Louisville, So. Week 5: Therese Bergstrom, Louisville, Sr. Week 6: Therese Bergstrom, Louisville, Sr. Week 7: Caitlin Trant, Pittsburgh, Sr. Records Are Meant to be Broken Last season in Pittsburgh, nine BIG EAST Championship records were broken. Louisville junior Carlos Almeida broke the 200-yard breaststroke record, while Notre Dame senior Sam Maxwell claimed the women's record. She holds both of the breaststroke records, after setting the 100-yard time in 2009. Las year West Virginia sophomore Mandie Nugent recorded the best 100-yard butterfly time in BIG EAST Championship history. In 2009, nine Championship records fell. A Most Outstanding Return There will be no shortage of talent on hand in Louisville, especially considering three of the four Most Outstanding Swimmer/Diver award winners from last year's championships are making their return to the pool. Both MVP divers return in Notre Dame's West Villaflor and Louisville's Hannah Gadd,while Most Outstanding Swimmer Maxwell returns for Notre Dame. BIG EAST Web Coverage/Live Streaming BIGEAST.tv will be streaming live coverage of the 2011 BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championships beginning today. The men's and women's diving championships will begin Friday, Feb. 11 and span through Sunday, Feb. 13 at the Ralph R. Wright Natatorium in Louisville, Ky. The swimming portion of the championship will kick off on Wednesday, Feb. 16 and run through Saturday, the 19th.