Junior Christel Bouvron will be the first non-American ever to compete in the NCAA Championships for Notre Dame.

Irish Set For NCAA Championships

March 16, 2005

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[See pdf for notes about ND competitors and ND history in NCAA Championships.]

Two swimmers and one diver will head to Purdue University this week to represent Notre Dame in the 2005 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships. Fifth-year senior All-America diver Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) — who finished third off the one-meter board in 2004 — will be making her third consecutive appearance in the event, while sophomore Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) returns for the second consecutive year, and junior Christel Bouvron (Singapore, Singapore/Raffles Girls’ Secondary School) will make her NCAA debut. The meet runs Thursday through Saturday in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center, with prelims beginning at 11 a.m. (EST) and finals at 7 p.m.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2005 NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will take place Thursday-Saturday in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center on the campus of Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. Each day will feature two sessions: preliminaries beginning at 11 a.m. (EST) and finals starting at 7 p.m. The top 16 student-athletes from the morning session advance to the championship (top eight) and consolation finals (next eight) at night. On Thursday, Notre Dame student-athletes will compete in one-meter diving and the 200-yard individual medley. Friday will be the 400 IM, 100 butterfly, and three-meter diving, while the 200 butterfly is on Saturday. Each participant in the championship final earns All-America honors for the event, while the consolation final qualifiers are honorable mention All-America.

NCAA MEET TO BE SHOWN ON ESPN2 ON MARCH 25: Portions of the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be aired on ESPN2 on Friday, March 25 at 2:00 p.m. (EST).

ALTERNATE: In addition to Notre Dame’s three qualifiers, freshman Caroline Johnson (Springfield, Mo./Glendale H.S.) is the 18th alternate to the meet, based on her time in the 100 backstroke.

IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Since 1990, Notre Dame has been a regular participant in the NCAA Championships. A total of 23 different Irish swimmers and divers have garnered a total of 50 invitations to the NCAAs, with Notre Dame being unrepresented only in ’95 (and not scoring points only in `94 and `95). Since 1979, 21 different student-athletes have earned 43 All-America honors for top-16 finishes.Notre Dame has finished among the top 37 in the team standings in each of the last nine years, highlighted by a program-best 18th-place result in 2000 and a 19th-place finish in 2002. A year ago, the Irish were 25th with 28 points, despite having only two qualifiers.

DUAL-MEET RECAP: The Irish posted a 6-3 record in dual-meet competition, their 16th consecutive winning season and 24th non-losing mark in as many seasons of varsity competition. Notre Dame’s early-season losses came in a triangular meet on October 29 against #15 Arizona State (188-111) and #24 Purdue (169-130), though the Irish were competing without two of their top swimmers: senior Kristen Peterson (honorable mention All-America in 2002) and sophomore Katie Carroll (two-time honorable mention All-America in 2004). Notre Dame did not lose again until January 28, when it fell 161-138 at #17 Michigan. Over the past six seasons, the Irish hold a 53-7 (.883) dual-meet record, including 10-0 campaigns in 1999-2000 and 2001-02. In 10 years as head coach, Bailey Weathers has led Notre Dame to an 86-20 (.811) record in dual meets. Notre Dame also posted its fourth undefeated home record in the last six years, going 4-0 at home, with wins against Evansville, Pittsburgh, Michigan State, and Illinois.

IRISH IN THE CSCAA NATIONAL RANKINGS: The Irish were 23rd in the first CSCAA Dual Meet Poll of the season, but they dropped a spot after losing to ASU and Purdue. Wins in a triangular with Pittsburgh and Michigan State then pushed the Irish back to 21st in mid-November, and they stayed in that position until dropping to 25th on Jan. 27 after beating unranked Illinois by two points (183-181), winning the final relay by .06 seconds. After losing to #17 Michigan and beating a previously-undefeated Oakland team in a two-week span, Notre Dame fell from 25th to be the first team receiving votes, where it ended the season.

NOTRE DAME WINS NINTH CONSECUTIVE BIG EAST TITLE: Notre Dame won 11 of 20 events en route to winning its ninth consecutive title at the BIG EAST Championships, finishing with 804 points, 191 clear of runner-up Pittsburgh. Notre Dame claimed three of the four major awards, as Bailey Weathers was named the conference’s swimming coach of the year for the sixth time in nine years, Caiming Xie was the league’s top diving coach for the second consecutive year, and fifth-year senior Meghan Perry-Eaton became just the second diver in conference history to be the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver on three occasions (2003-05). Perry-Eaton was one of three double winners for Notre Dame in individual action, as she swept the springboard events for the second year in a row to bring her career total of BIG EAST titles to five, matching the conference record for divers. Sophomore Katie Carroll – the 2004 BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Swimmer – claimed six conference championships, winning both individual medleys, as well as all four relays on which she swam (200 and 400 medley, 200 and 400 free). Junior Christel Bouvron, a two-time Olympian for her native Singapore and first-time NCAA qualifier in 2005, swept the butterfly events, while sophomore Jessica Stephens took first in the 200 breaststroke. Notre Dame also won four of the five relays and posted six runner-up finishes in individual action. The streak of nine straight championships is tied for the second-longest run of BIG EAST titles ever by any school in any sport. All of those championships have come by more than 110 points.

IRISH HEAD COACH: Head coach Bailey Weathers is in his 10th year at the helm of the Irish program. During his tenure, Notre Dame has won nine consecutive BIG EAST Conference crowns, posted an 86-20 (.811) record in dual meets, and he has been named conference coach of the year six times. He is one of just three coaches ever to win nine consecutive BIG EAST championships in any sport. Weathers has coached 17 different competitors to All-America honors while at Notre Dame and over 30 student-athletes to 70 BIG EAST titles. He also has coached 18 student-athletes to 19 BIG EAST Championships records and every school record has been broken under his tenure. He has coached seven College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-Academic selections and 12 honorable mention academic All-Americans. Before coming to Notre Dame, Weathers coached at South Carolina, where he was a three-time Metro Conference Coach of the Year and had two top-12 NCAA finishes. Before South Carolina, he was at Southern Illinois where he was named the 1986 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year after placing fifth at the NCAA meet. He also has been an assistant coach at the University of Texas and Indiana University, and a coach of the Mission Aurora Swim Club in Colorado from 1990-95.

IRISH HEAD DIVING COACH: Caiming Xie is in his 10th season as the head diving coach at Notre Dame for both the and women’s and men’s teams. During his tenure, he has been responsible for the development of the only two diving All-Americans in Irish history – Heather Mattingly and Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.). Mattingly earned All-America mention three times, highlighted by an eighth-place finish in the 2002 NCAAs. The next season Perry-Eaton became the first Notre Dame diver in history to win a BIG EAST Conference title when she defeated Miami’s Katie Beth Bryant to take the one-meter competition. She also was named the 2003 BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver after placing second in the three-meter event. The then-junior went on to place ninth at the 2003 NCAA meet on the one-meter board. Last season, she followed that up with another league Most Outstanding Diver award, sweeping the springboard events. Also in 2004, Perry-Eaton became the first Notre Dame diver ever to win a title in the NCAA Zone C Championships and went on to take third at the NCAA meet, just 3.30 points behind the national champion. On the men’s side, Caiming has coached the top two divers in Notre Dame history: Herb Huesman and Andy Maggio. He has been named his conference’s top diving coach on five occasions, including in the BIG EAST in 1999, 2004, and `05. Caiming also has a great deal of international coaching experience, serving as diving coach for the Chinese Olympic and national team from 1977-90, being recognized as the Chinese National Diving Coach of the Year twice (1986 and ’87). His divers have won a number of medals in international events, including a gold in the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona, Spain, by Sun Shu-Wei.