Oct. 2, 2003
THE DENNIS STARK RELAYS: The Notre Dame women’s swimming team opens the 2003-04 season on Friday, Oct. 3, with the Dennis Stark Relays at the Rolfs Aquatic Center on the University of Notre Dame campus. Meet time is 6:30 p.m.
Formerly known as the Notre Dame Relays, the 2003 version of the meet will honor former Irish swimming and diving coach Dennis Stark, who after 50 years of service to the Notre Dame athletics department retired last spring. Stark was the first coach of both the men’s and women’s swimming teams at Notre Dame and coached for 27 years before moving into the director position of the Rolfs Aquatic Center in 1985.
The 1947 graduate of Notre Dame, Stark was the head coach of the Irish women’s program from 1981-85, compiling a 31-14 dual-meet record during his tenure. He also was the 1984 coach of the year in the North Star Conference.
MORE ABOUT DENNIS STARK: To honor all of Stark’s accomplishments and his dedication to the Notre Dame and swimming communities, the men’s and women’s swimming program has renamed the Notre Dame Relays, the Dennis Stark Relays. In addition to his coaching, Stark is heavily involved in the Special Olympics program. He was the Aquatics Venue Manager for the 1987 International Summer Olympics held in South Bend and was honored by Eunice Kennedy Shriver for his outstanding work.
He has also been honored by the Notre Dame National Monogram Club, earned the Harvey G. Foster Award from the Notre Dame Alumni Association and was recently presented the Russ Oliver Award, which honored his high ideals, dedication and service to youth athletics by the St. Joseph Valley Officials Association. The St. Joseph Valley Officials Association also awarded Stark with the 2000 Zebra Award.
The native of Detroit, Mich., Stark and his wife, Angelina, have five children, three of which are Notre Dame graduates.
THE PARTICIPANTS: The Notre Dame men and women play host to the following teams at the Dennis Stark Relays this weekend: Illinois State women, Marquette men and women, Saint Mary’s women, Valparaiso men and women and Wisconsin-Milwaukee men and women.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS: The following is a schedule of events for Friday’s Dennis Stark Relays. The women will swim first, followed by the men. All relays, unless noted, consist of four athletes swimming a quarter of the distance.
* 200 freestyle relay
* 400 medley relay
* 800 freestyle relay
* 400 individual medley relay (consists of four swimmers each swimming a 100-yard individual medley)
* 500 crescendo relay (consists of five swimmers swimming the 50, 100, 200, 100 and 50 freestyle in that order)
* 400 butterfly relay
* 400 backstroke relay
* 400 breaststroke relay
* 1,000 freestyle relay (with two swimmers going 500 yards each)
* 200 medley relay
* 400 freestyle relay
* 3-meter synchronized diving (they will do five synchronized divers together, two required and three optional)
THE SCORING: The men’s and women’s meet will be scored separately. Point totals will be the following:
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 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.
ABOUT THE IRISH WOMEN: Notre Dame returns 18 monogram winners from the 2002-03 roster, including six seniors and six juniors.
Leading the way for the senior class is 2003 team most valuable athlete Lisa Garcia. Garcia was one of four Irish athletes, along with current seniors Danielle Hulick, Marie Labosky and diver Meghan Perry-Eaton, to qualify for the 2003 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships. The native of Denver, Colo., earned honorable mention All-America honors after placing 14th in the 200 butterfly at the NCAA meet. She also won two BIG EAST titles in the 200 fly and 200 IM and set two Notre Dame records and one championship record in the process.
Perry-Eaton also returns in the diving well for the Irish. The senior became the first Notre Dame diver to win an event at the BIG EAST meet when she ended the Miami stranglehold on the one-meter board. The senior was also second on the three-meter board and was named the BIG EAST Diver of the Year marking the first time in history an Irish athlete has claimed the award. Perry-Eaton also holds three of four Notre Dame diving records.
Hulick was named most improved swimmer for the Irish in 2003 after qualifying for her first NCAA meet and winning three BIG EAST Championships, including the 50 freestyle. In her career, Hulick has won six BIG EAST titles and holds three Notre Dame records including the 100 backstroke mark.
A native of Churchville, Pa., Labosky swam in her third consecutive NCAA Championship last season. The senior, who earned honorable mention All-America honors as a freshman, won her second BIG EAST individual title when she outswam Maddy Crippen of Villanova in the 400 IM. The Notre Dame recordholder in the event , Labosky will concentrate fully on the 400 IM this season as she is preparing for Olympics Trials next spring and a berth on the 2004 United States Olympic team.
Lisa D’Olier and Laurie Musgrave are the other seniors who will make an impact in the pool for the Irish this season. D’Olier is fully healthy after struggling through most of last season with assorted injuries. The native of Houston, Texas, has won six BIG EAST titles in her career, including the 100 and 200 butterfly as a sophomore, and holds one Notre Dame and one BIG EAST Championship record in the 400 medley relay.
Musgrave adds tremendous depth along with junior Georgia Healey and sophomore Courtney Choura in the breaststroke events. She also will serve as a team co-captain with Garcia.
The junior class is very diverse as Sarah Alwen, Kelli Barton, Katie Eckholt, Healey, Kristen Peterson and Brooke Taylor will play a big role in the success of the Irish in 2004.
Alwen showed great improvement for the Irish last year and won her first BIG EAST title with the 400 freestyle relay team and was named all-BIG EAST in both the 400 and 800 freestyle. The native of Cairo, Egypt, will be a critical cog in the middle distances and backstroke events for the Irish.
Barton is Notre Dame’s distance freestyle specialist and will also see more time swimming the 400 IM this year. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native, qualified for the 2002 NCAA Championships and was named a Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America All-Academic selection as a freshman.
Eckholt won two BIG EAST Championships in 2003 and is one of the best sprinters on the team. She holds two Notre Dame records as a member of the 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams and earned all-BIG EAST honors swimming the freestyle leg of the 200 medley relay.
The breaststroke events will be handled by Healey as she had a great summer of training and will be able to concentrate on her specialty – the 200 breaststroke. Peterson is back at full force after struggling through most of last season with mononucleosis. In her career, Peterson earned honorable mention All-American honors as a freshman and swam the anchor leg of the winning 200 freestyle relay at the 2003 BIG EAST meet. Taylor will swim the 400 IM and both butterfly events this season after receiving all-BIG EAST honors when she placed third in the 200 butterfly at the conference meet.
The sophomore class, led by Christel Bouvron and Courtney Choura, had an outstanding rookie campaign for the Irish in ’03. Bouvron, who competed in the 2000 Olympic Games for her native Singapore and is in line to compete in the 2004 Games, just missed the NCAA Championships her first season in both the 100 and 200 butterfly. Bouvron earned all-BIG EAST honors after finishing second in the 100 fly at the conference meet. Choura posted the fastest times on the Irish roster in both the 100 and 200 breaststroke events and had the fastest qualifying time in the 200 at the BIG EAST meet before finishing second. She was also third in the 100 earning all-BIG EAST honors in both events.
The remainder of the sophomore class also will give the Irish much depth this season as Courtney Campbell (free/back), Annie Mantey (breast/fly), Casey Pepak and Samantha Raneri (diving) and Kalei Walker (middle distance) will all be major contributors for the Irish.
Perhaps the biggest question mark is the freshman class being it is one of the largest classes ever signed by the Irish with 13 women entering their first seasons. Head coach Bailey Weathers is excited about all 13 as they will add tremendous ability and depth to what is already a talented squad. Making up this year’s freshman class are Kristina Archer (Free, Chesapeake, Va.), Ann Barton (Back/Fly, Scottsdale, Ariz., sister Kelli is a junior distance specialist for the Irish), Katie Carroll (Free/IM, Toledo, Ohio), Tyne Feheley (Diving, Columbus, Ohio), Grace Galagan (Sprint Free, Albuquerque, N.M.), Kiley Gooch (Back/IM, Carmel, Ind.), Rebecca Grove (Back/Free, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.), Ellen Johnson (Back/Free, Toledo, Ohio), Meghan Linnelli (Free, Canfield, Ohio), Annie Ryle (Free, Sacramento, Calif.), Jessica Stephens (Breast/IM, Bloomsburg, Pa.), Abby Strang (Free/Fly, St. Simons Island, Ga.) and Annie Sweeney (Breast/Free, Los Gatos, Calif.).
THE CAPTAINS: Seniors Laurie Musgrave and Lisa Garcia will serve as co-captains for the 2003-04 season. Musgrave, a breaststroke specialist, earned all-BIG EAST honors in 2003 and was the winner of the 2001 Beeler-Hipp Award given to the outstanding freshman who best exemplifies the vitality, competitiveness and love for Notre Dame as former swimmers Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp. Garcia was the 2003 team most valuable swimmer after earning All-America honors in the 200 butterfly at the NCAA meet and winning both the 200 butterfly and 200 IM at the 2003 BIG EAST meet.
UP NEXT: The Irish schedule has not been approved by the faculty board, but tentatively next up for the Irish is their fall training trip to Orlando, Fla., with a meet against the University of Tampa scheduled on either Oct. 23 or 24, in Tampa, Fla.