March 17, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Notre Dame fifth-year senior All-American Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) qualified for the championship final in one-meter diving for the second year in a row and sophomore Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) earned a spot in the 200-yard individual-medley consolation final for the second time in as many years in Thursday preliminary action at the 2005 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. The finals session will begin at 7 p.m. (EST).
Perry-Eaton posted a score of 287.15 points to qualify seventh and earn a spot in the championship final, which will see the top eight divers compete on Thursday evening, all starting over again with zero points. The third-place finisher in the event in 2004, she was surrounded by Indiana University divers, finishing 1.50 points behind Christina Loukas and .45 points ahead of Lisa Silvestri. Another Hoosier, Cassandra Cardinell – who was a U.S. Olympian last year, taking seventh in synchronized platform diving – was ninth with 279.95 points.
The NCAA’s zone C dominated the event, taking six of the top nine positions. Blythe Hartley of USC – who took fifth in last year’s Athens Olympics in springboard action and was a bronze medalist in synchronized platform competition – was first in prelims, though, with a score of 310.35, while Hawaii’s Qiong Jie Huang was next with 309.50 points. Following her was Iowa’s Nancilea Underwood (302.10) – the zone C champ – as well as Miami’s Jenna Dreyer (300.85) – who was 17th at the Athens Olympics off the springboard – and Purdue’s Carrie McCambridge (292.35). Perry-Eaton and Huang (8th) are the only two divers to have reached the final eight in each of the last two years.
Perry-Eaton has competed against all of the Big Ten divers previously this year. She beat Underwood and Silvestri in both prelims and finals at last weekend’s zone meet, held in the same facility. Loukas beat the Irish veteran in both rounds last weekend, while McCambridge was behind her in prelims, but then registered a victory in the finals. McCambridge was the only diver to beat Perry-Eaton – on either board – in the 2004-05 season before last weekend’s zone meet, as she notched a victory off the one-meter board on Oct. 29 in a dual meet.
Her afternoon performance has assured Perry-Eaton, three times the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver, that she will be an All-American for the second year in a row. She will become just the third Notre Dame student-athlete – and first diver – to be a multiple-time All-American on the Division I level, joining five-time All-American Tanya Williams (also four honorable mentions) and current assistant coach Carrie Nixon, who was a two-time All-American (10-time honorable-mention selection). Perry-Eaton also has guaranteed that she will conclude her career with each of the top three finishes ever by Irish student-athletes in one-meter diving at the NCAAs. In 2003, she just missed the championship final, ending ninth. The top finish by any other Notre Dame diver in the event was a 12th-place result by Heather Mattingly in 2002.
Carroll won her heat, posting the second-fastest yards time in Irish history (2:00.74) and claimed the final spot in the consolation final by .07 seconds. Carroll went out quickly on the butterfly leg, finishing it in 25.92, her fastest-ever split after 50 yards in the 200 IM that was seventh-quickest among all swimmers on Thursday morning. She covered the backstroke portion in 29.95, which had her ahead of Irish record pace (56.04) at the halfway mark, with a time of 55.87. She fell off that with a split of 36.69 in the breaststroke 50 before closing with a mark of 28.18 in the freestyle portion.
The product of the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club, who had been seeded 26th with a time of 2:01.35, was one of 19 swimmers to break 2:01.00 in prelims, and she barely edged Nicole Mackey of Hawaii for the final spot in the evening. She will be joined by Stanford’s Laura Davis (9th, 1:59.60 in prelims, .35 out of championship final) and Kristen Caverly (T-10th, 1:59.84), Tennessee’s Megan Tomes (T-10th, 1:59.84), Justine Mueller of Michigan (12th, 1:59.91), Katie McCann (13th, 2:00.10) and Candace Weiman (15th, 2:00.38) of Florida, and Auburn’s Julie Stupp (14th, 2:00.25).
Thirteen of the spots in the evening finals of the 200 IM were taken by swimmers from the Southeastern Conference (nine) and the Pacific-10 Conference (four), with Carroll (BIG EAST), Mueller (Big Ten), and Texas A&M’s Danielle Townsend (Big XII) completing the group.
The only consolation-final qualifier that Carroll has competed against already this season is Mueller, whom she lost to by .44 seconds (2:04.28-2:04.72) on Jan. 14 in the Rolfs Aquatic Center and then defeated by 3.06 seconds (2:03.75-2:06.83) on Jan. 28 in Ann Arbor. Carroll and McCann were the top two finishers in last year’s consolation final, with Notre Dame coming out on top by .88 seconds (2:12.28-2:13.16 – meters times).
Carroll is one of just five swimmers to have earned evening appearances in the 200 IM in both of the last two years. Joining her in that group are McCann (10th in ’04, qualified 13th), Auburn’s Kirsty Coventry (2nd in ’04) – who was the top qualifier Thursday with a pool record of 1:56.67 – and the Georgia duo of Tricia Harm (12th in ’04, qualified 6th) and Mary Descenza (14th in ’04, qualified 5th).
Carroll, the 2004 and ’05 BIG EAST champion in the race, was 11th in prelims last year in the 200 IM before going on to take ninth in the evening. With her morning swim on Thursday, she has assured herself of being named honorable mention All-America. A year ago, she gained those honors in both individual medleys. Carroll will leave the meet claiming both of the top two finishes ever by an Irish swimmer at the NCAAs in the 200 IM. The top result prior to her swim last year was 18th by Tanya Williams in 1992. Williams twice was named honorable mention All-America in the 200 IM (1992 and ’93), when competitors placing 17th-32nd gained the distinction. The current rules award the swimmers finishing ninth-16th with honorable mention All-America. Carroll will become the ninth Irish student-athlete to gain All-America mention on three or more occasions.
Carroll’s prelims time is the fourth-fastest swim in the race ever by a Notre Dame competitor, behind only three of her times from her rookie campaign. The top two marks in school history – 1:58.52 and 1:59.55 – came from the 2004 NCAAs and are converted from short-course meters times. Carroll’s 2:00.65 from last year’s BIG EAST Championships is the fastest-ever yards time by a Notre Dame swimmer. In addition to the top four marks, Carroll boasts six of the top 10 times in the 200 IM in Irish history.
The Irish sophomore continued a trend of moving up considerably from her seeding in big meets. At the 2004 NCAAs, she was seeded 22nd in the 200 IM before taking ninth, while rising 21 spots from her seeding (35th) in the 400 IM to finish 14th. At the 2004 United States Olympic Trials, Carroll rose 12 spots from her seeding (35th) to finish 22nd in the 200 IM.
Notre Dame is assured of scoring at least 12 points on Thursday, making 2005 the 10th consecutive year – and 14th in the last 16 – that the Irish will have scored points in the NCAA Championships. A year ago, Notre Dame finished 25th with 28 points.
For complete results of the NCAA Championships, please see http://www.ncaasports.com/swimming/womens/championship-results/2005/d1.