June 22, 2005
Kelli Barton (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral H.S.), who graduated last month from the University of Notre Dame with a 3.941 cumulative grade-point average, was named to the 2004-05 ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America University Division Women’s At-Large Second Team, announced recently by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). She was the first Notre Dame women’s swimmer ever to be named an Academic All-American by CoSIDA, as well as the first Irish student-athlete to earn a spot on the women’s at-large team since 2000-01.
Barton, a graduate of the College of Arts & Letters with a degree in both theology and political science, was one of six swimmers honored. Georgia’s Samantha Arsenault, Deirdre Dlugonski of Penn State, and Taylor Simpson from Gardner-Webb were first team selections. Florida’s Vipa Bernhardt joined Barton on the second team, while Alisa Schuknecht of Texas was a third-team pick. Additionally, a pair of divers – Indiana’s Cassandra Cardinell (first team) and Andrea Johnson from Southern Illinois (third team) – were named Academic All-Americans.
The women’s at-large program covers nominees from 13 different sports, while each school can nominate a maximum of three student-athletes. The first-team selections from each of the eight CoSIDA districts were candidates for the Academic All-America teams.
Barton earned a perfect 4.000 GPA in her final collegiate semester and was named to the Dean’s List for the eighth time in as many semesters since enrolling at Notre Dame. The 2004-05 recipient of the Knute Rockne Student-Athlete Award presented by the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley as the top student on the team, she was a member of the University’s Academic Honors Program for Student-Athletes and has four times been tabbed an Academic All-Star by the BIG EAST Conference. In 2002, Barton was named a College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) Academic All-American, posting the ninth-highest GPA of all honorees.
In the pool, Barton served as one of the Irish co-captains this past season, and she helped Notre Dame to four straight BIG EAST championships and a trio of top-25 placings at the NCAA meet. An NCAA Championships qualifier in 2002 (where she finished 29th in the 1,650-yard freestyle and also swam the 500 free), she graduated as the ND record holder in the 1,500-meter freestyle (17:01.00). Barton stands as the third-fastest Irish swimmer ever in both the 1,000- (career-best 9:57.89) and 1,650-yard freestyle (16:37.77). She owns two of the top five 1,000 times in Irish history, as well as three of the top eight in the mile. Barton also ranks eighth in the 500 free (4:54.84) and 10th in both the 200 breaststroke (2:19.77) and 400 individual medley (4:23.77).
In her final campaign, she was among the top five swimmers on the Irish in five different events, including ending up second in the 1,000 free (season-best 10:16.67) and 1,650 free (16:59.79). She ranked 10th on the team in individual points scored, with 85, and scored points in all three of her individual races at the BIG EAST Championships for the fourth consecutive year, ending up sixth in the 1,650 (her fourth straight top-10), a career-high eighth in the 200 breast, and 13th in the 400 IM. In her career, she finished in the top eight in individual action at the conference meet on six occasions. Barton also won the 1,650 in the dual meet at Bowling Green and posted a career-best time in the 200 IM (2:08.76) at the Georgia Fall Invitational.
The only previous Notre Dame swimmer to be a CoSIDA Academic All-American was Ray Fitzpatrick, who was so honored in 1999-2000.
With Barton’s selection, the Irish women’s swimming and diving program became the 26th at Notre Dame to have a CoSIDA Academic All-American. The only active team to be absent from that group is women’s golf, while the Irish wrestling team also had an Academic All-American before it was discontinued in 1992.
Five Notre Dame student-athletes have been named Academic All-America by CoSIDA in 2004-05, with just one team – that of women’s track and field/cross country, which will be released on Thursday – still to be announced. Erika Bohn (first team) and Annie Schefter (second team) were both honored in the women’s soccer program, while Todd Mobley (first team) and Sean O’Donnell (third team) were recognized on the men’s track and field/cross country team.