March 11, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Notre Dame fifth-year senior All-American Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.), who had finished first in each of her previous 10 three-meter competitions this season, took seventh off the higher springboard Friday afternoon in the NCAA Zone C Diving Championships in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. She will compete in one-meter action Saturday in her final chance to earn a third consecutive bid to the NCAA Championships.
Perry-Eaton posted a score of 500.50. The top three divers – Iowa’s Nancilea Underwood (560.30), Carrie McCambridge of the host school (546.10), and Cassandra Cardinell of Indiana (512.45) – earned invitations to the NCAA meet. The top three finishers, excluding those three, in three-meter action on Saturday will similarly earn NCAA bids, as will Sunday’s top finisher in platform competition among divers who have not yet qualified. Perry-Eaton will not compete on Sunday, but is the defending zone champion – as well as last year’s third-place finisher at the NCAA meet – off the one-meter board. She beat McCambridge by 32 points in three-meter competition in a dual meet in October, setting the Boilermaker Aquatic Center’s six-dive record (327.40) in the process.
Perry-Eaton, who turned in her lowest 11-dive score of the season, was one of just two non-Big Ten divers in the top 13 on Friday. Finishing just behind the three NCAA qualifiers – all within nine points of each other and within 12 points of being in the top three – was a quartet of divers: Julie Broms of Ohio State (509.25), Lisette Planken of Iowa (508.85), Christin Eberst of Miami University (503.90), and Perry-Eaton. Christina Loukas of Indiana was eighth with a score of 481.15. It was the fourth consecutive year that the Irish diver was among the top seven in three-meter action at the zone meet and the second year in a row that it marked her first defeat of the season off the board. Perry-Eaton has been the BIG EAST champion in three-meter diving in each of the last two seasons, and she finished 20th at the 2003 NCAAs in the event before being 28th a year ago.
The very first dive of the competition for Perry-Eaton – a forward 2.5 somersault – garnered her a score of 46.80 that placed her 10th. She was never able to climb out of that hole, edging past Eberst into sixth after her ninth dive (a reverse effort), but then falling behind the Redhawk on the final round of dives, in which she scored 42.00 on a forward 1.5 somersault with one twist. Perry-Eaton’s top effort was her fifth dive, a back 1.5 somersault with 2.5 twists, which saw her score 54.60 points.
Seven of the top performers from the meet will advance to the NCAA Championships, slated for next week, March 17-19 at the same facility at Purdue University. Two Irish swimmers – junior Christel Bouvron (Singapore, Singapore/Raffles Girls’ Secondary School) and sophomore Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) – already have earned spots in the field for that event.