March 23, 2002
The University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team advanced into three final races on Saturday evening at the 2002 NCAA Championship in Austin, Texas. The Irish were bolstered by Heather Mattingly’s top-eight performance in three-meter diving late Friday night, when the senior became the first Notre Dame diver to earn All-America honors in school history.
Mattingly finished eighth in the preliminaries of the three-meter competition on Friday morning, compiling 182 points to advance into the championship finals. Returning to the diving tank just a few hours later on Friday night, Mattingly maintained her spot by finishing eighth with 517.90 total points. In 2001, the Houston, Texas, native became the first Irish diver to place at the NCAA meet in both boards and her performance at this year’s championship meet makes Mattingly the most successful diver in school history (she also finished 12th in one-meter diving on Thursday to earn honorable mention All-America accolades).
Over in the swimming lanes, senior Kelly Hecking advanced to the consolation finals of the 200 backstroke, finishing 10th in 1:57.45. With honorable mention All-America honors in hand, Hecking will attempt to improve on her 13th-place finish in the consolation finals of the 2001 NCAA meet.
Classmate Carrie Nixon, competing in her fifth event of the championships on Saturday, moved on to the consolation finals in the 100 freestyle. Her 49.65 time puts her 15th in the field entering Saturday evening’s race.
Hecking and Nixon combined with Lisa Garcia and Kristen Peterson in the 400 freestyle relay, which also advanced to the consolation finals. Their 3:23.31 time was the last qualifying spot for the finals, putting them 16th in the field.
Garcia and Peterson were also active in individual competition. Peterson finished 37th in the 200 backstroke (2:02.34), while Garcia recorded the highest NCAA placing of her young career in the 200 butterfly. Her 1:59.28 time left her just one spot out of the consolation finals in 17th place.