EAST MEADOW, NY, February 20. THE University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team won its ninth consecutive title Saturday evening at the BIG EAST Championships in the Nassau County Aquatic Center, according to Irish reports.
The Irish ended up winning 11 of the 20 events in the meet – including four on the final day – to score 804 points and finish 191 ahead of runner-up Pittsburgh.
Notre Dame claimed three of the four major awards, as Bailey Weathers was tabbed BIG EAST Swimming Coach of the Year for the sixth time in 10 years, Caiming Xie was named the league’s Diving Coach of the Year, and fifth-year senior Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) was the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver for the third consecutive year.
The final session saw the Irish finish first in four of seven events en route to posting its second-highest point total ever, behind only an 829.5-point effort in 2000. Notre Dame claimed a total of 11 first-place finishes in the meet, its second-highest victory sum ever.
The Panthers, who posted their best finish in the meet since 1991, ended with 613 points, while Rutgers slipped to third with 545 points after being the runner-up in each of the last three years.
Notre Dame’s final-day victories came from Perry-Eaton in three-meter diving, junior Christel Bouvron (Singapore, Singapore/Raffles Girls’ Secondary School) in the 200 butterfly, sophomore Jessica Stephens in the 200 breaststroke, and the team of freshman Caroline Johnson (Springfield, Mo./Glendale H.S.) and sophomores Ellen Johnson (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy), Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy), and Rebecca Grove (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown H.S.) in the 400 freestyle relay.
Perry-Eaton concluded a BIG EAST diving career that ranks among the best in conference history. She became just the second student-athlete ever to be named the league’s Most Outstanding Diver three times, joining Miami’s Jenny Keim (1999-2001). Perry-Eaton’s five conference championships (1-meter in 2003, ’04, and ’05; 3-meter in ’04 and ’05) also match a BIG EAST record, originally set by Tricia Ney of Pittsburgh (1985-88) and duplicated by Keim.
Rookie Tara Hyer (Tampa, Fla./Academy of the Holy Names) finished second in the three-meter event with a score of 431.25 that also extended her season, qualifying her for the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships, slated for March 11-12 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Hyer became just the third Irish diver ever to be named all-BIG EAST, joining a pair of All-Americans: Perry-Eaton and Heather Mattingly (’02). She finished seven points ahead of another freshman, Megan McCandless of Pittsburgh, and improved three spots from her fifth-place finish in prelims. Hyer later competed in the platform diving competition (an exhibition event) and finished first with a four-dive score of 146.25.
Bouvron won the 200 butterfly to complete her BIG EAST sweep of the stroke. She took first with a career-best time of 2:00.07 that was 1.76 seconds ahead of runner-up Kristina Lennox of Villanova. Bouvron also became the first swimmer to defeat Carroll in an individual event at the BIG EAST Championships. The Irish sophomore was foiled in her attempt for a sixth individual title in as many tries, ending up third with a time of 2:02.25.
After being second in the 200 individual medley and third in the 100 butterfly for the second year in a row, Stephens finally claimed her first career individual BIG EAST title, winning the 200 breaststroke by 2.54 seconds over runner-up Katie Maaske of Syracuse. The Irish sophomore posted a career-best time of 2:16.45 that is an NCAA “B” cut. Senior co-captain Georgia Healey (New York, N.Y./Trinity School) finished fourth in her final collegiate race, posting a time of 2:20.36, while Notre Dame’s other captain, Kelli Barton (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral H.S.) was eighth in 2:24.24.
Notre Dame concluded the meet with a victory by over two seconds in the 400 free relay. The Irish turned in the third-fastest mark in school history, a 3:22.03 that was good enough for an NCAA B cut and had been bettered by just eight Division I schools prior to this week. The win gave Carroll her sixth BIG EAST title in seven events in the meet, bringing her career total to 10, which already stands as the fourth-highest sum in Notre Dame history. The victory completed a performance that reestablished Notre Dame as the dominant relay squad in the BIG EAST, as the Irish were first in four of five relays in the meet. Traditionally a power in relays, the Irish had won just one in 2004.
Grove and Caroline Johnson both posted career bests and NCAA “B” cuts in the 100 free. The sophomore led the way with a third-place time of 51.13 that established her as the fourth-fastest Irish swimmer ever in the race, while Johnson’s 51.15 (fifth place, .01 seconds behind fourth and .02 behind Grove) made her the fifth-quickest in ND history. Irish freshman Katie Guida (Alexandria, Va./Georgetown Visitation Prep School) finished 14th in a time of 52.31.
In the 200 backstroke, sophomore Ann Barton (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain H.S.) led the Irish by finishing fourth with a time of 2:02.14. Senior Kristen Peterson (Wichita, Kan./Bishop Carroll H.S.) took sixth with a time of 2:03.15, while Ellen Johnson was seventh in 2:03.92. Sophomore Kiley Gooch (Carmel, Ind./Carmel H.S.) finished 14th in 2:08.13, while freshman Morgan Bullock (Stamford, Conn./Westbury H.S.) was 15th in 2:08.69.
A handful of Notre Dame swimmers will return to action next weekend, at the Boiler-Make-It Invitational, scheduled for Feb. 26-27 at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
See below a chart of notable performances at the 2005 BIG EAST Championships:
NCAA A Cut
Katie Carroll – 400 IM (4:15.55)
NCAA B Cuts
Christel Bouvron – 100 fly (55.19 & 54.75), 200 fly (2:01.46 & 2:00.07) Katie Carroll – 200 IM (2:02.15 & 2:01.35), 400 IM (4:16.85), 200 fly
Rebecca Grove – 100 free (51.13) Caroline Johnson – 50 free (23.45), 100
back (55.52), 100 free (51.15)
Ellen Johnson – 500 free (4:50.29 & 4:49.83), 200 free (1:49.55 &
Jessica Stephens – 200 IM (2:03.01 & 2:02.36), 200 breast (2:17.02 &
200 free relay (Katie Guida, Caroline Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove) –1:32.94
400 free relay (Caroline Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove) – 3:22.03
800 free relay (Caroline Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove) –7:16.95
BIG EAST Titles
200 breaststroke – Jessica Stephens
100 butterfly – Christel Bouvron
200 butterfly – Christel Bouvron
200 individual medley – Katie Carroll
400 individual medley – Katie Carroll
1-meter diving – Meghan Perry-Eaton
3-meter diving – Meghan Perry-Eaton
400 medley relay (Caroline Johnson, Jessica Stephens, Christel Bouvron, Katie
200 free relay (Katie Guida, Caroline Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove)
400 free relay (Caroline Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove)
800 free relay (Caroline Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove)
Notre Dame Records
Ellen Johnson – 200 freestyle (1:49.20)
800 free relay (Caroline Johnson, Ellen Johnson, Katie Carroll, Rebecca Grove) –
BIG EAST Championships Record
Meghan Perry-Eaton – 3-meter diving (555.20)
7 – Katie Carroll: 800 free relay, 200 free relay, 200 IM, 400 IM, 400 medley
relay, 200 fly, 400 free relay
6 – Caroline Johnson: 800 free relay, 200 free relay, 50 free, 100 back, 400
medley relay, 400 free relay
5 – Rebecca Grove: 800 free relay, 200 medley relay, 200 free relay, 100 free,
400 free relay
5 – Jessica Stephens: 200 medley relay, 200 IM, 100 fly, 400 medley relay, 200
4 –Christel Bouvron: 200 medley relay, 100 fly, 400 medley relay, 200 fly
4 – Ellen Johnson: 800 free relay, 500 free, 200 free, 400 free relay
2 – Meghan Perry-Eaton: 1-meter diving, 3-meter diving
1 – Katie Guida: 200 free relay
1 – Tara Hyer: 3-meter diving
1 – Kristen Peterson: 200 medley relay