March 19, 2004
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) became the first Notre Dame freshman ever to be named honorable mention All-America in multiple individual events, finishing 14th in the 400-meter individual medley at the NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships Friday evening in the Student Rec Center Natatorium. For the fourth time in as many races in the meet, she broke a school record. Notre Dame, 20th in the final CSCAA national rankings, stands tied for 21st in the team standings heading into the final day, with 28 points.
Carroll followed up her 13th-fastest qualifying time by finishing fifth in the consolation final in 4:42.51. That converts to a yards time of 4:13.12, besting her morning school-record mark of 4:13.33, converted from a meters time of 4:42.74.
Stanford’s Laura Davis finished just .03 seconds ahead of Carroll, while Indiana took the top three spots in the consolation final. Brooke Taflinger was first (ninth overall finisher) in 4:39.42, followed by Kristen Bradley (4:39.75), and Erin Gorlesky (4:40.29).
It was the second time in as many days that Carroll improved vastly over her seeding. In Thursday’s 200 IM, she was seeded 22nd, but went on to qualify 11th and finish ninth, posting the sixth-best time in the evening finals. In the 400 IM, Carroll had the 35th-fastest time in the field coming in, but she qualified 13th and finished 14th.
All eight swimmers in the consolation final were named honorable mention All-America for the 400 IM.
Kaitlin Sandeno of USC, the third-place finisher a year ago, set her second NCAA record in as many nights, winning the championship final by nearly four seconds with a time of 4:30.44, which also broke Allison Wagner’s 11-year-old American record. On Thursday, she set an NCAA record in winning the 200 IM. Suburn’s Kirsty Coventry was second in the 400 IM in 4:34.20.
Carroll will try to become just the second student-athlete in Irish history to gain All-America mention in three individual events in the same NCAA meet when she takes part in the 100-meter freestyle on Saturday. The prelims begin at 11 a.m. (CST). Carroll heads into the event with the 34th-fastest seed time in the field.
Prior to this year, only seven times had an Irish student-athlete earned All-America or honorable mention accolades in multiple events in the same year. The four Notre Dame competitors to have accomplished the feat before were Erin Brooks (100 back and 200 back in 1996), Shannon Suddarth (100 breast and 200 breast in 1998 and 2000), Carrie Nixon (50 free, 100 free, and 100 fly in 2000; 50 free and 100 free in 2002), and Heather Mattingly (1-meter and 3-meter diving in 2000 and ’02). Nixon’s 2000 performance is the only time in Irish history that a competitor has scored points in three individual events in the same meet.
Carroll’s finish was the fourth-best by a Notre Dame swimmer in the event. Tanya Williams took eighth in 1991 after being 11th the year before, while Marie Labosky (Churchville, Pa./Germantown Academy) was 11th in 2001.
Heading into the final day of competition, defending national champion #1 Auburn leads the NCAA Championships with 399 points, while #2 Georgia is second with 278 and #6 Arizona is third at 261.
The Irish, tied with Oregon State after two days of action, are ahead of seven teams in the final CSCAA national rankings, including three higher-ranked squads. Ranked teams behind Notre Dame after day one were #14 Maryland (T-29th), #15 North Carolina (T-26th), #19 Virginia (T-26th), #21 Missouri (0 points), #23 Princeton (0 points), #24 Hawaii (23rd), and #25 Minnesota (0 points).
Notre Dame’s 28 points are more than twice the total managed by Irish competitors in 2003. A year ago, Notre Dame tied for 33rd with 12 points.
Carroll, named the Most Outstanding Swimmer at last month’s conference meet, is one of just four student-athletes ever to win three BIG EAST titles as a freshman (200 IM, 100 fly, 100 free). Carroll holds the top time on the Irish in five events this season (100 free, 500 free, 100 fly, 200 IM, 400 IM) and is third in two others (50 free, 200 free).