February 27, 1999

UNIONDALE, N.Y. – The Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team pulled off a surprising second-place finish at the BIG EAST Championship, with a total score of 565 points, while Irish head coach Tim Welsh was honored with the BIG EAST Coach of the Year award for the first time in his career.

The Notre Dame women came away with their third consecutive BIG EAST Championship, with a team-record total score of 790.5 points. Irish women’s coaches Bailey Weathers and Caiming Xie took home swimming and diving Coach of The Year awards, respectively, with Weathers claiming his third consecutive BIG EAST coaching award.

The primary ingredients to the Irish men’s success were several of the program’s first-ever, first-place finishes at the BIG EAST Championship. The first came when freshman Jonathan Pierce recorded a school-record and ‘B’ consolation time of 15:35.65 in the 1650 freestyle. In the 200 breaststroke, sophomore Dan Szilier posted his second ‘B’ consolation time of the season, with a school-record time of 2:00.09. The 400 freestyle relay team recorded a time of 3:01.38 to likewise capture first place. The Irish men also captured three of the top eight spots in the 100 freestyle, with Ryan Fitzpatrick taking second, Robert Fetter fifth, and Vince Kuna seventh.

In the women’s competition, sophomore Carrie Nixon and senior Shannon Suddarth won their respective events. Nixon, who has already qualified for the NCAAs in the 500 freestyle, set a BIG EAST and school record in the 100 freestyle, with a time of 49.89. Suddarth won the 200 breaststroke for the second consecutive year with a ‘B’ consolation time of 2:15.23. Also recording ‘B’ consolation times were Kelly Hecking in the 200 backstroke(2:01.16), Allison Lloyd in the 200 breaststroke (2:16.91), Elizabeth Barger in the 200 butterfly(2:02.08), and Alison Newell in the 200 butterfly (2:02.55).

The Notre Dame women’s swimming team has added a final regular-season event to its 1998-99 schedule. The Irish will participate in the Long Island Invitational on Sunday, February 28, beginning at 11:00 a.m. The one-session event at the Goodwill Games Pool in Nassau County, N.Y. will include at least three other teams, with host team Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and Villanova also expected to compete.

Women 1650 Freestyle
5. Tara Riggs — 16:42.49
7. Kristen Van Saun — 16:54.86

Men’s 1650 Freestyle
1. Jonathan Pierce — 15:35.65, school record, ‘B’ consolation time
6. John Lubker — 15:48.26
8. James Scott-Browne — 15:53.44

Women 200 Backstroke
2. Kelly Hecking — 2:01.16, ‘B’ consolation time

Women 100 Freestyle
1. Carrie Nixon — 49.89, BIG EAST record, school record, ‘B’ consolation time

Men 100 Freestyle
2. Ray Fitzpatrick — 45.07, BIG EAST record, school record
5. Rob Fetter — 46.28
7. Vince Kuna — 46.34

Women 200 Breaststroke
1. Shannon Suddarth — 2:15.23, ‘B’ consolation time
3. Allison Lloyd — 2:16.91, ‘B’ consolation time
7. Kathleen Rimkus — 2:20.48
8. Brittany Kline — 2:20.56

Men 200 Breaststroke
1. Dan Szilier — 2:00.09, school record, ‘B’ consolation time
5. Steele Whowell — 2:04.29

Women 200 Butterfly
2. Elizabeth Barger — 2:02.68, ‘B’ consolation time
3. Alison Newell — 2:02.55, ‘B’ consolation time

Men 200 Butterfly
3. Scott Zumbach — 1:49.43, school record
5. Ryan Verlin — 1:50.46

Women 400 Freestyle Relay
4. Notre Dame 3:26.61

Men 400 Freestyle Relay
1. Notre Dame — 3:01.38, school record