Oct. 29, 2004
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The 23rd-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team (1-2) came up on the short end in a triangular meet between three top-25 squads Friday evening in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. The Irish lost 188-111 to #21 Arizona State (3-0) and by a 169-130 score against the host, 25th-ranked Purdue (1-1). Notre Dame will return to action on Friday, Nov. 12, when it plays host to a triangular against Pittsburgh and Michigan State at 5 p.m. (EST) in the Rolfs Aquatic Center.
In defeat, the Irish had a number of outstanding individual performances. Sophomore Jessica Stephens (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg H.S.) led the way with a trio of top-three finishes, while fifth-year senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) and sophomore swimmers Ann Barton (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain H.S.) and Ellen Johnson (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) recorded a pair of top-two results apiece. Freshman Caroline Johnson (Springfield, Mo./Glendale H.S.) also provided a first-place finish for the Irish.
Stephens turned in perhaps the most remarkable combination of performances of the night, when she first swam to a runner-up finish in the 100-yard butterfly in a time of 56.07 that stands as her third-best collegiate mark in the event, behind only her two swims at the BIG EAST Championships last spring that were good enough for third place and all-conference honors. She immediately jumped back into the pool and proceeded to win the 400 individual medley, an event which she did not swim at all during her entire rookie season, with a time of 4:25.76. Barton made it a 1-2 Irish sweep in the event, as she took second in 4:26.31, her best time in the event as a collegian. Both Irish swimmers finished ahead of Arizona State senior Cara DeVinny, a 2004 NCAA qualifier in the event who placed fourth. Barton also notched a collegiate best in the 200 butterfly, leading the Irish with a fourth-place result in 2:04.71.
Earlier in the meet, Stephens took third in the 100 breaststroke with a time of 1:05.10 that stands as her collegiate best, despite the fact that she finished 13th in last year’s BIG EAST meet in the race.
Barton’s other runner-up finish also was the back end of a Notre Dame 1-2 finish, following Ellen Johnson to the wall in the 200 backstroke. Johnson won the race with a time of 2:03.88, while Barton finished in 2:05.20 and the nearest other competitor did not break the 2:06.00 barrier. Johnson later swam a collegiate best in the 500 freestyle to finish second with a time of 4:54.86 and she took fourth in the 200 free with a 1:51.81.
Perry-Eaton registered a convincing win in three-meter diving with a score of 327.40 that was more than 30 points better than the rest of the field. She took second in the one-meter competition with a score of 297.55 that trailed that of Purdue’s Carrie McCambridge, who was an NCAA qualifier last spring.
Caroline Johnson delivered Notre Dame’s first race victory of the meet, as she took first in the 100 backstroke with a collegiate-best time of 56.60 for last year’s fourth-place finisher at the BIG EAST Championships. Sophomore Rebecca Grove (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown H.S.) was third in the race with a time of 58.44, and she also was Notre Dame’s top scorer in the 50 free, as well, with a 24.49 that was good enough for sixth place. Johnson also was Notre Dame’s best overall in the 100 free, taking seventh in 53.05.
Another rookie, Natalie Burke (Cape Town, South Africa/Reddam House College), led the Irish in the 200 breaststroke with a fifth-place finish and time of 2:24.27.
The Irish led off the meet by taking third in the 400 medley relay with a time of 3:52.47. That quartet was Caroline Johnson, Burke, Stephens, and senior Katie Eckholt (Omaha, Neb./Marian H.S.). In the final relay, the 400 freestyle, the Irish team of Johnson, Grove, senior co-captain Georgia Healey (New York, N.Y./Trinity School), and Ellen Johnson ended up fourth in 3:32.01.