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Irish Travel To East Lansing, Return Home To Face #16 Michigan on Saturday

Jan. 28, 2004

THIS WEEK: The 21st-ranked Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team travels to East Lansing, Mich., Friday, Jan. 30, 2004, to face Big Ten Conference-foes Michigan State and Ohio State in a double-dual meet format at the Charles McCaffree Pool. The Irish then return home for a showdown with #16 Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 31, at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Meet time Friday night is 5:00 p.m. EST and Saturday is 4:00 p.m. EST.

ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame, ranked 21st in the country, is 5-1 on the season with dual-meet wins over Tampa, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green, Louisville and Illinois. The only defeat suffered by the Irish was at the hands of 13th-ranked Indiana, 176-124, in Bloomington, Ind., on October 30.

The fall season was tough for the Irish as the squad was slowed by a viral infection in November causing a majority of the team to miss over two weeks of training and 11 athletes to skip the Texas A&M Invitational the weekend of Nov. 21-23. The Irish went on to finish seventh out of seven teams at the Texas A&M Invitational against some of the nation’s best, before finally regaining their form in winning the Notre Dame Invitational and the Puerto Rico Winter Training Trip Meet in Encantada, Puerto Rico on January 4.

Notre Dame started the spring season on a positive note in Ann Arbor, Mich., with a dual-meet victory against Illinois (197-173) at the Michigan Invitational. The Irish did not keep a team score against Michigan in anticipation for the meet this Saturday.

Notre Dame won seven events at the Michigan Invitational, including four by Marie Labosky. The senior won the 200 and 400 individual medleys and the 200 backstroke. She also swam the leadoff leg of winning 800 freestyle relay, along with freshman teammates Ann Barton, Ellen Johnson and Katie Carroll. Other winners for the Irish last weekend were Carroll (100 freestyle), senior Lisa Garcia (200 butterfly) and Meghan Perry-Eaton (3-meter diving).

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE: Michigan State is 1-7 in dual-meet competition this season with its only win against Ball State. The Spartans have faced an extremely difficult schedule losing to Iowa, Florida State, Michigan, Miami, Rutgers, Northwestern and Purdue.

The Spartans are led by Tammy Jones who holds top times in the 100 and 200 freestyle and the second-fastest time in the 50 freestyle. Jones also has the team’s top time in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley. Tesla Hughes sits atop the Michigan State’s best list in the 500, 1,000 and 1,650 freestyle in 2003-04. Courtney Ellabarger leads in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, while Katie Edwards is the top-diver for the Spartans this season.

Interim head coach Matt Gianiodis is in his seventh season with the Spartans and his first in the interim position. He replaces Jim Lutz who left Michigan State due to medical reasons.

ABOUT OHIO STATE: Ohio State is 8-3 on the season with victories over Iowa, Akron, Southern Illinois, Ohio, Bowling Green, Louisville, West Virginia and Cleveland State. The Buckeyes’ three losses are to Big Ten opponents Illinois (178.5-174.5), Indiana (175-67) and Michigan (144.5-138.5) by the narrowest of margins.

The Buckeyes look to swimmers Rebekah Rychvalsky, Gulsah Gunenc, Kylie Lancken, Nicole Maglich, Stephanie Raezer and diver Julie Broms for the majority of their wins. Rychvalsky set a pool record against Michigan in the 200 breaststroke earlier this season, while Gunenc broke two Turkish National records at the European Championships in December in the 50- and 100-meter butterfly. Lancken qualified for the Australian Olympic Trials, while Maglich is the leading sprint freestyler for the Buckeyes. Raezer swam a “B” qualifier earlier this season in the 1,650 freestyle, while Broms is the top diver for Ohio State.

Head coach Jeanne Fleck is in her fifth season at the helm of the Buckeyes.

HEAD SWIMMING COACH Bailey Weathers: Irish head swimming coach Bailey Weathers is in his ninth year at the helm of the Irish roster. During his tenure, Notre Dame has won seven straight BIG EAST Conference crowns and he has been named conference coach of the year five times. Weathers coached 16 different swimmers to All-America honors while at Notre Dame and over 30 swimmers to 63 BIG EAST Championships. He also has coached 17 swimmers to 17 BIG EAST Championship records and every school record has been broken under his tenure. He also 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 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 coaching the Mission Aurora Swim Club in Colorado from 1990-95.

HEAD DIVING COACH Caiming Xie: Caiming Xie is in his ninth season as the head diving coach at Notre Dame for both the men’s and women’s team. During his tenure, he has coached two All-Americans in Heather Mattingly and Meghan Perry-Eaton and was named the 1999 BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Caiming was responsible for the development of Mattingly as she became the first Notre Dame diver to earn All-America honors after placing eighth in the three-meter competition at the 2002 NCAA meet. 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 win the one-meter competition. She also was named the 2003 BIG EAST Diver of the Year 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.

NOTRE DAME HAS 20 BIG EAST QUALIFIERS SO FAR: Notre Dame has 20 women who have qualified for the BIG EAST Championships February 19-21 in Long Island, N.Y. Leading the way is freshman Katie Carroll who has achieved automatic qualifying times in six events thus far in 2003-04 including the 50 and 100 freestyle, the 100 and 200 butterfly and the 200 and 400 individual medley. Freshman Ellen Johnson has five automatic times in the 100, 200 and 500 freestyle and the 100 and 200 backstroke, as does freshman Ann Barton in the 200 backstroke, 100 and 200 butterfly and 200 and 400 individual medley.

Senior Danielle Hulick has posted four “A” times in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 and 200 backstroke, while sophomore Courtney Choura has four in the 100 free, 100 and 200 breaststroke and 200 individual medley. Senior Lisa Garcia also has four “A” times in the 200 freestyle, 100 and 200 butterfly and 200 IM, while freshman Jessica Stephens has qualified in the 100 and 200 breaststroke, 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley.

Other qualifiers for the BIG EAST meet include freshman Abby Strang (500 and 1,650 free and 400 IM), junior Kelli Barton (1,650 free, 200 breaststroke, 400 IM), junior Sarah Alwen (100 and 200 back, 1,650 free), senior Marie Labosky (200 back, 200 IM), freshman Kiley Gooch (200 back), junior Kristen Peterson (100, 200 back), senior Laurie Musgrave (100 and 200 breaststroke), freshman Annie Sweeney (100 breast), junior Georgia Healey (100 and 200 breast), sophomore Christel Bouvron (100 and 200 fly), junior Brooke Taylor (200 fly), senior Meghan Perry-Eaton (one- and three-meter diving) and junior Samantha Raneri (three-meter diving).

Five other athletes including junior Katie Eckholt, freshman Krissy Archer, freshman Rebecca Grove, sophomore Annie Mantey and senior Lisa D’Olier have achieved “B” times thus far, but will have to swim one “A” time to qualify for the meet.

IRISH IN THE BIG EAST RANKINGS: Notre Dame has a number of swimmers who currently rank in the top 10 of the conference including freshman Katie Carroll who has the top time in both the 200 (2:02.04) and the 400 individual medley (4:24.38). She also has the second-fastest times in the 100 butterfly (55.67) and the 200 butterfly (2:03.23) and is ninth in the 50 freestyle (23.87).

Senior Lisa Garcia has the fourth-fastest times in the conference in the 100 fly (56.40) is tied for second in the 200 fly (2:03.23) with teammate Carroll. Garcia is also seventh in the 200 IM (2:05.18). Senior Marie Labosky is fifth in the 200 backstroke (2:01.78) and eighth in the 200 IM (2:05.42) and will appear in the 400 IM when the next reporting period takes place. Sophomore Courtney Choura is fourth in the 100 and 200 breaststroke (1:04.67, 2:20.51, respectively) and seventh in the 100 free (51.97), while senior Danielle Hulick is fifth in the 50 free and ninth in the 100 backstroke (57.67). Junior Kelli Barton is second in the 200 breaststroke (2:19.78) and fifth in the 400 IM (4:26.82), while freshman, and Kelli’s sister, Ann Barton is sixth in the same event (4:27.33). Ann is also fifth in the 100 butterfly (56.75) and sixth in the 200 backstroke (2:02.67). Sophomore Christel Bouvron is fifth with Barton in the 100 butterfly (56.75) and sixth in the 200 butterfly (2:03.60), while freshman Ellen Johnson ranked fourth in the 200 freestyle (1:50:39). Junior Sarah Alwen is ninth in the 1,650 with a time of 17:13.86, while Meghan Perry-Eaton is near the top in both the one- and three-meter diving events. Laurie Musgrave is currently ninth in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.88), while freshman Jessica Stephens is 10th in 1:05.93 and fifth in the 200 breaststroke (2:20.65).

Meghan Perry-Eaton SETS NOTRE DAME RECORD ON THREE-METER BOARD: Senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton is well on her way to earning her second consecutive BIG EAST Diver of the Year honor in 2004. Perry-Eaton was undefeated on the season until finishing second the one-meter board against Michigan and Illinois two weeks ago. Until then the native of Brandon, Fla., had swept both boards against North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Louisville, Bowling Green, Wyoming and Northeastern and also was victorious at the Texas A&M Invitational this season.

The Michigan Invitational was not a total loss for Perry-Eaton though as she came back the next night to set a school record on the three-meter board for six dives with 335.85 points, breaking her own record of 333.82 set at the same meet in 2003. She also has recorded a season-high score of 315.82 for six dives against Pittsburgh on the one-meter board.

Last year, the senior became the first Notre Dame diver to claim BIG EAST Diver of the Year honors after winning the one-meter board and placing second on the three-meter event. Her victory on the one-meter event was also the first individual diving win for an Irish athlete at a BIG EAST Championship. Perry-Eaton then went on to finish ninth on the one-meter board at the NCAA meet, earning honorable mention All-America honors.

Marie Labosky WINS FOUR EVENTS AT MICHIGAN INVITATIONAL: Senior Marie Labosky is gearing up for the BIG EAST and NCAA meets as she won four events at the Michigan Invitational two weeks ago. The native of Churchville, Pa., won the 200 and 400 individual medleys, the 200 backstroke and swam the first-leg of the winning 800 freestyle relay. Labosky recorded a “B” qualifying time in the 400 IM (4:50.11) and finished four seconds ahead of teammate Katie Carroll who currently holds the top time in the BIG EAST Conference in the event. Labosky also won the 200 backstroke by over three seconds and the 200 IM by two seconds over Michigan’s Sara Johnson.

THE FRESHMAN CLASS GETTING NOTICED: The freshman class has also made an immediate impact for the Irish in 2003-04. Against Tampa, six different freshmen were credited with wins, while two others would have claimed victories if they did not swim exhibition. Winners against Tampa included Ann Barton, Katie Carroll (twice), Kiley Gooch, Rebecca Grove, Jessica Stephens and Abby Strang. Other winners would have included Grove and Ellen Johnson if they had not been competing exhibition.

The freshmen also performed well against Indiana as Barton and Carroll both were winners for the Irish and Carroll continued her impressive season with wins in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley against Pittsburgh. In the tri-meet against Bowling Green and Louisville, Carroll and Johnson won two events, while Barton, Grove and Stephens finished first in their races as well.

At the Puerto Rico Winter Training Trip Meet, Carroll won the 100 freestyle shattering the meet record in the process, while Barton also accomplished the same feat in the 200 backstroke (Barton also placed second in the 100 backstroke). Carroll was also a part of the 200 medley relay which set a meet record in Puerto Rico.

Other who make up the freshman class include Krissy Archer, who has a “B” time for the BIG EAST meet; diver Tyne Feheley who saw her first action of the year against Wyoming and Northeastern in Mission Viejo, Calif., Grace Galagan, Meghan Linnelli and Annie Sweeney, who has qualified for the BIG EAST meet in the 100 breaststroke.

Christel Bouvron WINS SIX MEDALS AT SEA GAMES: Sophomore Christel Bouvron won six medals including three golds, two silvers and a bronze at the 2003 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) in early December in Hanoi, Vietnam. The sophomore won an individual gold in the 200 butterfly and was a member of the gold-medal winning 4×100 medley relay and the 4×100 freestyle relay, while winning silver in the 4×200 freestyle relay. She also won a silver medal in the 400-meter freestyle and a bronze in the 100 butterfly.

In the 4×100 medley relay, the Singapore team of Bernardette Lee Jing Fei, Nicolette Teo Wei Min, Bouvron and Joscelin Yeo Wei Ling finished first in 4:20.49, while Bouvron swam the second leg of the winning 4×100 freestyle team posting a winning time of 3:54.47. In the 4×200 freestyle relay, Bouvron swam the leadoff leg as Singapore finished second in a time of 8:38.78.

Individually, Bouvron finished first in the 200 butterfly in 2:17.72, while she also earned a silver medal in the finals of the 400 freestyle with a time of 4:24.23. Bouvron also claimed third in the 100 butterfly with a time of 1:04.50.

NOTRE DAME RANKED #21: The Irish women’s swimming and diving team remains ranked 21st in the December 12 Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association Poll. Defending national champion Auburn received all eight first-place votes and is first with 200 points, followed by Georgia, Florida, Stanford and Texas. Here is the complete poll as of Jan. 15, 2004:

Rank, Team       Points1. Auburn (8)               2002. Georgia                  1923. Florida                  1844. Stanford                 1765. Texas                    1686. Arizona                  1607. Southern Cal             1528. California               1439. SMU                      13410. UCLA                    13011. Wisconsin               12012. Indiana                 11213. Penn State      10214. Texas A&M           9815. North Carolina  8816. Michigan            7717. Virginia            7518. Florida State       6419. Maryland                5120. Arizona State       4721. Notre Dame          4422. Missouri                2923. Washington      2724. Minnesota       1025. Hawaii               6

Others receiving votes: Pittsburgh, Purdue, Tennessee

IRISH MOVING UP THE CHARTS IN BIG EAST HISTORY: The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team has won seven consecutive conference titles (1997-current) and are inching ever closer to the all-time consecutive conference title mark. The Pittsburgh men’s swimming and diving program holds the record at 10, winning from 1983-92, while the Panther women won nine straight titles from 1983-91. Here is the list for most consecutive BIG EAST titles:

10 – Pittsburgh men’s swimming and diving (’83-’92)
9 – Pittsburgh women’s swimming and diving (’83-’91)
9 – Connecticut women’s basketball (’94-’02)
8 – Boston College men’s tennis (’81-’88)
7 – Pittsburgh volleyball (’88-’94)
7 – Notre Dame women’s soccer (’95-’01)
7 – Notre Dame women’s swimming (’97-active)

IRISH SIGN FOUR SWIMMERS IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD: Notre Dame signed four athletes to National Letters of Intent during the early signing period including Caroline Johnson, Katie Hopkins, Raine Paulson-Andrews and Laura Rings.

Hopkins, from Ellicott City, Md., was named all-Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland in 2001, and was a National Catholic Champion at Notre Dame Preparatory School. For her efforts, Hopkins was named the Baltimore Sun Athlete of the Year last season. Swimming the 100 and 200 breaststroke and the 200 butterfly, Hopkins has a best-time of 2:17.33 in the 200-yard breaststroke.

Johnson, from Springfield, Mo., is an eight-time high school All-American in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 200 medley and 400 freestyle relay teams at Glendale High School. Swimming the butterfly, backstroke and freestyle events, Johnson is the Missouri state recordholder in the 50- and 100-freestyle events and is a four-time Missouri state champion while swimming for Springfield Aquatics. In 2002, she earned Missouri Swimmer of the Year accolades and was the National Club Swimming Association’s Junior National Champion in the 50-meter backstroke. She also qualified for the US Open Championships in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke.

Paulson-Andrews is from Montego Bay, Jamaica, and attends Gulliver Preparatory in Miami, Fla., where she swims the sprint freestyle and individual medley events. A member of the Jamaican National Team since the age of 11 where she trained at Doctors Cave Beach, Paulson-Andrews has won many gold and silver medals at the Carifta Games, the Caribbean Islands Swimming Championships (CISC) and the Central American and Caribbean Swimming Confederation Games (CCCAN). In 2003, she won the gold in the 50 freestyle at the CCCAN. She also competed in the US Open and the Pan American Games in 2003.

From Gahanna, Ohio, Rings is an all-state diver from The Columbus School for Girls. A member of the U.S. Elite Diving Academy, she is a three-time all-state honoree and won All-America honors in2003. She earned most valuable player honors and set the school record in diving last season. As a junior, Rings was fifth at the Ohio state diving meet, after placing seventh as a freshman and sixth as a sophomore. A two-time captain, Rings also competed at the 2003 US Senior Nationals where she placed 13th in the synchronized three-meter diving event. She also was ninth on the three-meter board at the Zone A Summer Championships in 2003.

UP NEXT: Notre Dame plays host Oakland University on Saturday, Feb. 7 at 1:00 p.m., at the Rolfs Aquatics Center. Admission is free.