March 18, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Sophomore Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) earned one of eight spots in the championship final of the 400-yard individual medley by turning in the second-best prelims swim ever by a Notre Dame competitor Friday morning at the 2005 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. She qualified with the sixth-fastest time in the race, setting an Irish yards record (4:13.79) and guaranteeing that she will be an All-American. The evening finals session is slated to begin at 7 p.m. (EST).
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.
Carroll, swimming in the last of six heats, was second in her race, finishing behind only Auburn’s Kirsty Coventry, who broke the pool record with a time of 4:09.69. Coventry, a senior from Zimbabwe, was the Olympic gold medalist in the 200-meter backstroke last summer in Athens and finished second in the 400 IM at last year’s NCAAs.
The product of the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club, who had been seeded 19th with a time of 4:15.55, will be joined in the championship final by Arizona’s Emily Mason (4:11.67 in prelims), Liz Lavell of Maryland (4:13.89), and five Southeastern Conference swimmers: Coventry and teammate Adrienne Binder (4:12.80) and the Florida trio of Leah Retrum (4:12.61), Joanna Maranhao (4:13.09), and Katie McCann (4:14.12).
Carroll, who had been beaten in the 400 IM just once this season heading into the meet, is one of just six swimmers to have earned evening appearances in the 400 IM in both of the last two years. Joining her in that group are Coventry, Mason (3rd in ’04, qualified 2nd), Binder (6th in ’04, qualified 4th), Auburn’s Lauren Duerk (8th in ’04, qualified 15th), and Stanford’s Laura Davis (13th in ’04, qualified 13th).
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. With her morning swim on Friday, she has assured herself of becoming 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. Carroll will become the eighth Irish student-athlete to gain All-America mention on four or more occasions.
She will be the second Notre Dame swimmer to be a 400 IM All-American, following two-time honoree Tanya Williams, who currently holds the top NCAA finish in school history in the race, eighth in 1991. The only better preliminaries performance ever for an Irish swimmer in the NCAA Championships came in the 50-meter freestyle in 2000, when current assistant coach Carrie Nixon broke the NCAA record and was the top qualifier.
Carroll’s prelims time is the third-fastest swim in the race ever by a Notre Dame competitor, behind only her two swims 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, whose previous lifetime best in yards was 4:15.55 at last month’s BIG EAST Championships, now owns six of the top nine 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.
Perry-Eaton, who had been 20th in 2003 and 28th a year ago in the event, turned in a season-low score of 463.50 points in being named honorable mention All-America with a 15th-place finish. That result scored two points for Notre Dame and also gave Perry-Eaton a career total of four All-America accolades. She was a one-meter All-American in 2004 and ’05, as well as honorable mention off the lower board in ’03. Perry-Eaton is one of eight Irish student-athletes (two divers) to have earned four or more All-America accolades. Perry-Eaton’s result is tied for the third-best ever by an Irish diver in the NCAAs. Heather Mattingly, a 2002 graduate, took eighth in her final season after being 12th in 2001 and 15th in ’00.
Bouvron turned in a time of 55.56, her third-fastest of the season, in finishing 41st out of 53 swimmers in the 100 fly, ending up one spot below her seeding. It was the fourth-fastest time of the season for Notre Dame in the race, and the two-time Olympian became the sixth different Irish student-athlete to swim the 100 fly at NCAAs since 2000. The final qualifier for the consolation final, Gigi Detoll of Maryland, posted a time of 54.02, meaning Bouvron would have had to break the Notre Dame record to make it back for the evening session. She will compete in the 200 butterfly, in which she is seeded 31st, on Saturday.
Heading into Friday evening, Notre Dame has scored 19 points and will pick up a minimum of 11 more from Carroll (maximum of 20). The Irish – who were in 18th place with a score of 17 after one day of action – have scored more than 30 points just twice previously in the NCAAs: 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.