Feb. 19, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team is set to compete in the 2008 BIG EAST Swimming & Diving Championship on Wed., Feb. 20 until Sat., Feb. 23 in East Meadow, N.Y., at the Nassau County Aquatics Center. The Irish will make a bid for their 12th-consecutive BIG EAST title and third under head coach Carrie Nixon. The string of championship titles is the most consecutive wins by any program in conference history.
The Irish have faced three BIG EAST teams throughout the season and hold a record of 2-1 against conference squads. Early in the season on Nov. 9 the Irish fell to Pittsburgh in a very close meet that came down to the final event where the Irish No. 1 relay team was disqualified. Pittsburgh took the meet, 150-148, scraping by for the win.
The second BIG EAST opponent came later in the season with Notre Dame met up with Louisville at the Rolfs Aquatic Center on Jan. 18. The Irish showed total domination as they earned the victory over the Cardinals, 188-111, earning the conference win.
The final meeting with a BIG EAST squad came on Jan. 26 when the Irish played host to West Virginia at the Shamrock Invitational. Notre Dame rocked the Mountaineers, 249-116, and boosted their conference record to 2-1. The win and confidence leads the Irish into the BIG EAST championship this week.
Led by senior Katie Carroll, the Irish prevailed over Rutgers by 228 points, totaling 758 points, to take the championship crown. Carroll was named the Women’s BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer after taking the victory in four events–the 800-freestyle relay, 200-freestyle relay, 500-freestyle and 400 IM. Through the duration of the meet, Carroll earned seven all-BIG EAST honors, taking her total to 28. Her all-time total was a new Irish record for BIG EAST action.
During the championships, the Irish captured seven BIG EAST titles between eight swimmers in both individual and relays events. The team also earned 32 all-BIG EAST accolades amongst 12 swimmers and divers. The Irish were able to set three school records at the championships, two relays and two individuals. Making new marks for the Irish in the record books were Christa Riggins (200 free), Carroll (400 IM) and the 800-free relay (Riggins, Casey Wagner, Megan Farrell, Carroll) and 200-free relay (Caroline Johnson, Riggins, Carroll, Rebecca Grove).
To end the meet, in only her second season as the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving head coach, Nixon was honored as the Women’s BIG EAST Coach of the Year. The awards and records accumulated at the meet showed true domination by the Irish.
After finishing third in their initial appearance (1996), Notre Dame has won each of the last 11 BIG EAST titles.
Current head coach Nixon (’02) was an 18-time BIG EAST champion, while 2000 graduate Elizabeth Barger won 11 titles and her classmate, Shannon Suddarth, was victorious eight times. The Irish also have been recognized for excellence by the conference on various occasions, as former Irish head coach Bailey Weathers was tabbed the BIG EAST Coach of the Year five times (1997-99, 2001-02, 2005) and Caiming Xie has been the 2004-2007 conference diving coach of the year.
Three Irish student-athletes – Linda Gallo (1998), Nixon (2000), and Katie Carroll (2004, `07) – have been the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Swimmer, while Meghan Perry-Eaton was the meet’s Most Outstanding Diver from 2003-05.