March 13, 2004
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Irish senior Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) finished sixth in the three-meter competition of the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships Saturday afternoon in the Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. One day after becoming the first Notre Dame diver ever to win an event in the zone meet with a victory off the one-meter board, she finished at the back of a four-person pack that was separated by just 3.35 points. Perry-Eaton and freshman swimmer Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) will represent the Irish in the NCAA Swimming & Diving Championships, next Thursday-Saturday in College Station, Texas.
Perry-Eaton finished with a score of 473.00 points, while Ohio State’s Julie Broms won the competition with 500.95 and Purdue’s Carrie McCambridge, the Big Ten Diver of the Year, was just behind with 497.65 points. Leading the ensuing quartet was Rebecca Cornthwaite of Minnesota, who had 476.35 points. Taking fourth was Indiana’s Lindsay Weigle with 475.70 points, while Tealin Keleman of Michigan was next with 474.65.
After Perry-Eaton, Keleman, McCambridge, and Weigle guaranteed themselves berths in the NCAA Championships by taking the top four spots in the one-meter event, four more divers clinched bids on Saturday: Broms, Cornthwaite, Minnesota’s Abbie Bowden, and Purdue’s Amanda Miller. The latter two got in due to their one-meter performances and the fact that some divers finished high in both springboard competitions. Three of the 11 spots in the NCAAs alotted to Zone C are still available. Anyone finishing among the top three in Sunday’s platform competition — which Perry-Eaton will forego — will gain entrance. If those spots are filled by divers who are already qualified, then some student-athletes who barely missed qualifying the last two days could still gain entry via their springboard results.
Perry-Eaton, an honorable mention All-American last year due to a ninth-place finish in the NCAAs off the one-meter board, had been undefeated in three-meter diving in 2003-04 prior to Saturday. She topped 11 teams in dual meets and also took first place in the Texas A&M Invitational, Notre Dame Invitational, Michigan Invitational, and BIG EAST Championships. A year ago, she finished seventh in three-meter diving in the zone meet and 20th in the NCAAs.
Perry-Eaton was named the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver for the second consecutive year after sweeping the diving competitions. She held comfortable margins of victory in both events, defeating Miami’s Emily Spychala by 49.25 points in the three-meter competition and by 41.80 points off the one-meter board. Also the 2003 champion off the one-meter board, she is the only non-University of Miami diver since 1996 to win an event in the BIG EAST meet. She also has a pair of runner-up finishes (’02 in 1-meter and ’03 in 3-meter) and a fourth at the conference meet.
Perry-Eaton holds three of the four diving school records, while the last – 10 dives off the one-meter board – is not used in competition any longer, eliminating her chance of breaking Heather Mattingly’s record. Perry-Eaton broke her own school record in six dives off the three-meter board with a score of 335.85 in the Michigan Invitational. Perry-Eaton also holds the Irish records for 11 dives off the three-meter board (586.43) and for six dives in one-meter competition (331.58), as well as the Rolfs Aquatic Center records for six dives off both boards (322.64 in 1m, 333.82 in 3m).