March 18, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – – Sophomore Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) turned in the second-highest finish ever by a Notre Dame swimmer in the NCAA Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, taking sixth in the 400-yard individual medley on Friday evening at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Carroll, who broke her own school yards record in the race with a time of 4:13.56, was named an All-American for the first time in her career after previously garnering honorable-mention accolades three times. Notre Dame heads into the final day of competition in 22nd place in the meet, with a total of 32 points – the third-highest sum in school history at the NCAAs.
After heading into the day with a lifetime-best yards time of 4:15.55, Carroll went 4:13.79 in the morning to qualify sixth. She got quicker, but maintained that position at night, posting a time of 4:13.56. Carroll finished ahead of a pair of seniors, Florida’s Katie McCann (4:13.90) and Liz Lavell of Maryland (4:18.82). Auburn senior Kirsty Coventry of Zimbabwe, an Olympic gold medalist in 2004 in the 200 backstroke and last year’s 400 IM NCAA runner-up, broke her own pool record by more than five seconds and beat the field by more than four, winning the national title with a time of 4:04.48. Senior Emily Mason of Arizona was second with a mark of 4:08.09.
The only better performance ever for an Irish swimmer in the NCAA Championships – in any swimming event – came in the 50-meter freestyle in 2000, when current assistant coach Carrie Nixon took fourth after being the top qualifier.
The product of the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club, who had been seeded 19th with a time of 4:15.55, was one of just six swimmers to have earned evening appearances in the 400 IM in both of the last two years. Carroll, the 2005 BIG EAST champion, was 13th in prelims last year in the 400 IM before going on to take 14th in the evening. She is the 10th Irish student-athlete ever to be an All-American. She is the seventh – and fifth swimmer – to do so on the Division I level. She is the second Notre Dame swimmer to be a 400 IM All-American, following two-time honoree Tanya Williams, who previously held the top NCAA finish in school history in the race, eighth in 1991. Carroll became the eighth Irish student-athlete to gain All-America mention on four or more occasions.
Carroll’s finals time is the third-fastest swim in the race ever by a Notre Dame competitor, behind only her two performances at last year’s NCAAs. Those times – 4:13.12 and 4:13.34 – were both converted from short-course meters times. Prior to Friday, Notre Dame’s yards record was 4:14.47, done by Marie Labosky on Jan. 26, 2002, in a dual meet against Villanova in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Carroll now owns seven of the top 10 marks in school history in the 400 IM.
The Irish sophomore continued a trend of moving up considerably from her seeding in big meets. At the 2004 NCAAs, she was seeded 22nd in the 200 IM before taking ninth, while rising 21 spots from her seeding (35th) in the 400 IM to finish 14th. At the 2004 United States Olympic Trials, Carroll rose 12 spots from her seeding (34th) to finish 22nd in the 200 IM and moved up from a seeding of 35th to take 29th in the 400 IM. On Thursday, she was seeded 26th in the 200 IM before finishing 14th.
In other action on Friday, fifth-year senior All-American Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) completed her vaunted career with a career-best 15th-place finish in three-meter springboard diving, while junior Christel Bouvron (Singapore, Singapore/Raffles Girls’ Secondary School) made her NCAA Championships debut, finishing 41st in the 100-yard butterfly.
After two days of action, Notre Dame has scored 32 points and stands in 22nd place in the team standings. The Irish have scored more points just twice previously: 74.5 in 2000 (18th place) and 52 in 2002 (19th). A year ago, Notre Dame finished 25th with 28 points.
For complete results of the NCAA Championships, please see http://www.ncaasports.com/swimming/womens/championship-results/2005/d1.