South Bend, Ind., July 4 – HEAD Coach Bailey Weathers recently announced the return of Carrie Nixon to the Notre Dame campus.
Nixon, one of the most decorated student-athletes in any sport in Notre Dame history, has returned as an assistant coach for the women's swimming and diving team. Nixon is a former NCAA record holder in the 50-yard freestyle who won 18 BIG EAST titles and earned All-America honors on 12 occasions.
Nixon replaces Anne Marie Stricklin. Stricklin moves to Dallas where her husband Bread will continue as an assistant commissioner for Conference USA which is relocating its office’s to the Lone Star state. "I'm definitely sad to be leaving Notre Dame," said Stricklin. "It's been a terrific experience over the past two years. I've really enjoyed working with the women's and men's swimmers. They are a great group of individuals, and I am sad to be leaving them. I wish them nothing but the best of success. I will definitely keep tabs on them."
Weathers expressed sadness over the loss of Stricklin but is very pleased with the return of Nixon, who was an assistant coach for the Clemson University men's and women's teams last season. "I'm really looking forward to working with Carrie," said Weathers. "She did a great job as an athlete here, and she excelled in coaching at Clemson. I think her future in coaching is extremely bright. She adds a huge dimension to our program, understanding the University and what it takes to be a great athlete here at Notre Dame, and the sacrifices that go with that. She also has a wonderful personality, one that will really complement where we are going as a program."
"I'm very excited," said Nixon. "It's a great opportunity for me, and I think this team has a great opportunity for tremendous success in the next couple of years. I really think we have some fast swimming ahead, as well as a great future for Irish swimming and diving. I'm glad to be back here. I've missed Notre Dame a lot in the time I've been away, and I am very glad to come back home."
During her time at Notre Dame, Nixon was twice tabbed an All-American and 10 times honorable mention All-America. She won 18 BIG EAST titles – six individual and 12 relays – which stands one shy of the Irish record. In 2000, Nixon set the NCAA record in the prelims of the 50 free and finished fourth in the final, a result that still stands as the best-ever by a Notre Dame swimmer. She also was tabbed the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Swimmer that year.
Nixon holds the Notre Dame in the 50 (22.39) and 100 free (49.18), as well as the 100 butterfly (54.07). She also swam on four relay teams that still hold Irish records: the 200 free (1:32.01), 400 free (3:21.25), 200 medley (1:41.93), and 400 medley (3:40.98). The BIG EAST Championship records still feature Nixon in three events – 50 free (22.58), 200 free relay, and 400 medley relay – and her time of 22.94 in the 50 in the 1998 Notre Dame Invitational is the pool record for Rolfs Aquatic Center, as is the 3:45.77 mark by the 400 medley relay team she anchored in the 2001 Shamrock Invitational. Nixon was voted Notre Dame’s MVP three times.
She graduated from the College of Arts & Letters in May of 2002 as a preprofessional studies/anthropology and computer applications double major. As a senior, Nixon was honored with the Francis Patrick O'Connor Award, which recognizes one female and one male Notre Dame student-athlete who best exemplify the spirit and leadership the University embodies in their actions and inspirations to their respective teams.
Nixon graduated from Ouray High School in Ouray, Colo., as its valedictorian in 1997. She was a five-time Colorado state high school champion. Nixon was the state's high school swimmer of the year in '97. She was second in both the 50 and 100 in the 1997 NISCA National High School Championships.
Weathers and Nixon will helm a 2004-05 squad that returns 19 of 26 monogram winners from a team that was 8-2 in dual-meet action, won its eighth consecutive BIG EAST title, finished 25th in the NCAA Championships, and 20th in the final CSCAA dual-meet national rankings. The Irish will return their top competitor in 11 of 16 individual events next season, and four of the top five performers in every event but one will be back for the '04-05 season.