Nov. 12, 2004
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The 24th-ranked University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team (3-2) registered victories against Pittsburgh (172-128) and Michigan State (199-101) Friday in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Fifth-year senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) and swimmers Christel Bouvron (Singapore, Singapore/Raffles Girls’ Secondary School) and Jessica Stephens (Bloomsburg, Pa./Bloomsburg H.S.) led the effort, each winning two individual events as part of the 10 Irish victories.
Stephens was victorious in the 200 breaststroke and individual medley. She barely missed an NCAA “B” cut in the former, coming in just 0.04 seconds shy with a career-best time of 2:18.31 that was more than four seconds quicker than her nearest competitor. It was 0.28 seconds faster than her best time in last year’s BIG EAST meet, in which she qualified third and finished fifth. It was the fastest time by any conference swimmer this season by more than two seconds, and only 21 Division I competitors have gone quicker this season. Senior co-captain Kelli Barton (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral H.S.) came in third with a time of 2:22.55.
In the 200 IM, Stephens touched out Pittsburgh’s Kathy Siuda for first place with a time of 2:06.34. She nearly won a third individual event, but was edged by another Panther, Lindsey Tiberio, in the 100 breaststroke, finishing 0.08 seconds behind with a runner-up time of 1:05.22.
Bouvron won both butterfly events. In the 200-yard race, an event in which she finished 32nd in the Athens Olympics last summer competing for her native Singapore, the Irish junior turned in the fastest time by any BIG EAST competitor yet this season in the race. She topped the field by nearly two seconds en route to a time of 2:02.56, which ranks 24th in Division I this season. That mark is her best since going 2:02.28 in taking eighth place in the 2003 BIG EAST Championships. Bouvron led a 1-2 Irish finish in the event, as senior Brooke Taylor (Orlando, Fla./Lake Highlands Preparatory School) was the runner-up in a season-best 2:04.40, which was still 1.61 seconds better than anyone else in the field.
Bouvron won the 100 fly by nearly one second, in a time of 57.18, while sophomore Ann Barton (Scottsdale, Ariz./Desert Mountain H.S.) was third in 58.17 and Taylor was fourth with a 58.23.
Stephens and Bouvron also helped Notre Dame lead off the meet with a victory in the 200 medley relay, covering the breaststroke and butterfly legs, respectively. That quartet, which featured freshman Caroline Johnson (Springfield, Mo./Glendale H.S.) on backstroke and sophomore Rebecca Grove (Yorktown Heights, N.Y./Yorktown H.S.) anchoring, finished first with a time of 1:46.01, which Notre Dame bettered last season only in the BIG EAST meet.
Perry-Eaton has now won five titles in six events this season. She was hardly challenged on Friday, as she first won the one-meter competition by 54 points with a score of 303.90 before taking the three-meter victory with a mark of 302.60 that was more than 25 better than the rest of the field.
Sophomore Ellen Johnson (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) picked up wins in both individual and relay competition. She took first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:51.50 before leading off the 400 free relay with a split time of 53.42. That relay, which had Caroline Johnson, senior Katie Eckholt (Omaha, Neb./Marian H.S.), and Grove follow Johnson into the water, finished in a time of 3:30.42 that is the top time in the BIG EAST thus far this season and 25th in Division I. Johnson nearly won the 500 free, as well, but she was touched out at the wall by Pittsburgh’s Siuda, ending in a time of 4:55.16 that was 0.07 seconds behind.
Ann Barton led a dominant performance in the 200 backstroke, which saw the Irish take four of the top five positions. She finished first with a time of 2:02.96 that is the top time in the conference this fall, while Ellen Johnson was second in 2:03.54. Senior Kristen Peterson (Wichita, Kan./Bishop Carroll H.S.) came in fourth in 2:08.04, while freshman NoÃƒÂ©mie Brand (Pointe-Claire, Quebec/Phillips Exeter Academy [NH]) took fifth with a time of 2:08.74.
In addition to helping the two winning relays, Caroline Johnson was the runner-up in the 100 backstroke with a time of 57.99, while Grove took third in 58.92. Johnson was Notre Dame’s top finisher in the 100 free, ending up third in 52.65, the top time for an Irish swimmer in the race this season. Grove, meanwhile, led the team in the 50 free, with a third-place time of 24.32 that also was a Notre Dame best for 2004-05.
Notre Dame took third and fourth in the 1,000 freestyle, with sophomore Abby Strang (St. Simons Island, Ga./Bolles School) coming in as the top Irish finisher with a time of 10:21.35 that was more than 16 seconds faster than her performance in the last dual meet. Kelli Barton outtouched Pittsburgh’s Kate Butrie by 0.01 seconds for fifth with a mark of 10:23.16.
The Irish were victorious in their lone dual meet against a BIG EAST Conference foe. Notre Dame also remained perfect against both the Panthers – having won all nine all-time meetings – and the Spartans, whom they have raced three times.
Notre Dame will return to action next weekend, as it heads to Bowling Green for a dual meet on Saturday, Nov. 20 at 1 p.m.