Jan. 30, 2002
THIS WEEK: The Irish women, ranked #13 in the country, play host to Big Ten-foe and 16th-ranked Northwestern on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Meet time is 5:00 p.m. The first 300 fans at the Rolfs Aquatic Center will receive a coupon for a free six-inch sandwich from Blimpie. Admission is free and prizes will be awarded after each Notre Dame victory to fans in attendance.
SENIOR DAY: Notre Dame will also be honoring its senior class during the Northwestern dual meet. The senior class has compiled a dual-meet record of 42-5 during its tenure at Notre Dame, won four consecutive BIG EAST Championships and led Notre Dame to national prominence with its highest ranking in history at #13 this season. Featuring the most decorated swimmers in Notre Dame history, the senior class consists of Brooke Davey, Kelly Hecking, Maureen Hillenmeyer, Allison Lloyd, Heather Mattingly, Carrie Nixon and Tara Riggs. The following is a little about each senior being honored Thursday:
* Brooke Davey – The senior from Hopewell Junction, N.Y., is a two time BIG EAST Champion in the 200 freestyle relay during her Irish career. The sprint freestyler also holds the Notre Dame record in the 200 freestyle relay and is a two-time CSCAA honorable mention All-Academic honoree during her career.
* Kelly Hecking – A backstroke/freestyle specialist, Hecking is tied with fellow senior Carrie Nixon as the winningest swimmer in BIG EAST Conference history with 14 titles. The senior also has competed at the NCAA Championships the last three seasons, earning honorable mention All-America honors all three years. The native of Rutherford, N.J., is the holder of five Notre Dame and three BIG EAST Conference records.
* Maureen Hillenmeyer – A team captain for 2001-02, Hillenmeyer swims multiple strokes for the Irish including the freestyle, backstroke and individual medley. She is a native of Carmel, Ind.
* Allison Lloyd – The native of Fort Wayne, Ind., Lloyd is a two time BIG EAST Champion winning the 100 breaststroke and the 400 medley relay in 2001. The BIG EAST Championship record holder in the 400 medley relay, Lloyd also qualified for the 1999 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships.
* Heather Mattingly – Mattingly is the most decorated diver in Notre Dame history as she holds three university records. The native of Houston, Texas, is a three-time NCAA qualifier, earning honorable mention All-America honors in both 2000 and 2001. Mattingly placed 12th on the three-meter board in 2001 and 15th in one- and three-meter diving at the 2000 meet.
* Carrie Nixon – The fifth-year senior from Ouray, Colo., is back and better than ever after missing last season with a shoulder injury. Nixon is a 14-time BIG EAST Champion, winning BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer honors in 2000. Also that year, Nixon recorded the highest finish ever by a Notre Dame swimmer at the NCAA Championships, placing fourth in the 50 freestyle and earning All-America honors. Nixon, who also earned All-America honors in 1998 and 1999, is the holder of six Notre Dame records and four BIG EAST Championship records.
* Tara Riggs – Riggs joins Maureen Hillenmeyer as a captain for the 2001-02 season. An alternate for the 1999 NCAA Championships in the 1,650 freestyle, the native of Mt. Pleasant, S.C., was also an all-BIG EAST selection as a member of the 800 freestyle relay.
ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Head coach Bailey Weathers, in his seventh season, and the Irish are ranked #13 in the nation, the highest ranking in the history of the program, and enter Thursday’s meet versus Northwestern with a perfect 8-0 dual-meet record in 2001-02. The Irish have already defeated nationally-ranked opponents Wisconsin, Minnesota, Purdue and Indiana this season, while winning the Minnesota and Notre Dame Invitationals. The Irish are led by the senior 1-2 punch of seniors Carrie Nixon and Kelly Hecking. Nixon has won 21 individual races this season, while Hecking has claimed 13 individual titles. Senior Heather Mattingly and sophomore Meghan Perry Eaton are also having stellar seasons on the diving board as Mattingly set the Notre Dame record for three-meter diving (11-dive program) against Illinois and Iowa, while Perry-Eaton set the Notre Dame record for six dives on the one-meter board against Purdue.
ABOUT NORTHWESTERN: Northwestern, coached by Jimmy Tierney, is ranked 16th in the nation and has a 4-2-1 dual-meet record in 2001-02 with wins over Minnesota, Miami, Tennessee and Penn State. The Wildcats are led by Erin Swenson, who holds Northwestern’s top times in the 100 (51.49) and 200 freestyle (1:50.49), Vicky West in the 1000 (10:04.82) and 1650 freestyle (16:49.30) and Susie Sample, who was named the collegeswimming.com Swimmer of the Week last week. Sample holds Wildcat best times in the 100 (56.74) and 200 backstroke (2:00.59). Other leaders for the Wildcats are Katie Simmons in the 100 (1:04.03) and 200 breaststroke (2:15.97), Rachel Johnson in the 200 fly (1:59.56) and the 200 (2:03.11) and 400 individual medley (4:20.09) and diver Ashley Carter (266.18 in one-meter and 432.05 points in three-meter.).
LAST YEAR VERSUS NORTHWESTERN: Notre Dame defeated Northwestern 154-146 in Evanston, Ill., last season. The Irish were led by its usual cast of characters, but also flashed quality depth in all events. Notre Dame’s Marie Labosky won the 500 and 1,000 freestyle and the 200 individual medley, while Kelly Hecking won the 100 backstroke in a season-best time of 56.00 and then claimed the 200 back event in another season best. Danielle Hulick won the 50 freestyle for the Irish and placed second in the 100 freestyle, while Heather Mattingly won the one- and three-meter diving competition. Northwestern was led by Erin Swenson, who won the 200 freestyle.
NOTRE DAME ACHIEVES HIGHEST NATIONAL RANKING IN PROGRAM HISTORY: The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team remained ranked 13th in the nation in the latest Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America poll released Jan. 18. Notre Dame received 102 points, 98 behind top-ranked Stanford, who also received all eight first-place votes available. Texas (189), Arizona (178), Auburn (177) and Georgia (176) round out the top five places in the poll.
INDIVIDUALS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Four Irish swimmers appear in the national rankings released earlier this week including Carrie Nixon (10th in the 50 freestyle at 22.93), Kelli Barton (15th in the 1,650 freestyle), Kelly Hecking (21st in the 100 backstroke) and Marie Labosky, who ranks in three categories including the 1,000 freestyle (19th at 10:01.50), 1,650 freestyle (16:39.79) and the 400 individual medley (13th at 4:18.09). Last week against Villanova, Labosky posted a season-best time of 4:14.47 in the 400 IM, which would rank her seventh in the nation. Notre Dame also ranks 22nd in the nation in the 200 medley relay (1:44.17), 19th in the 400 medley relay (3:46.40) and 15th in the 200 free relay (1:33.68).
IRISH IN THE BIG EAST RANKINGS: Notre Dame swimmers and divers appear all over the BIG EAST best-times rankings as 28 individuals have already qualified for the BIG EAST meet. Notre Dame also sits a top many categories. Senior Carrie Nixon has the top time in both the 50 freestyle (22.93) and the 100 butterfly (55.44), sophomore Marie Labosky has the top 1,000 freestyle (9:57.54) and 200 individual medley (2:03.02) time, senior Kelly Hecking has the top 100 and 200 backstroke times (55.88 and 2:00.36, respectively), senior Allison Lloyd owns the best 200 breaststroke time (2:17.89), Lisa D’Olier is the keeper of the top 200 butterfly time (2:03.04) and the women’s 400 medley relay team of Hecking, Lloyd, D’Olier and Nixon is first at 3:45.48.
LABOSKY SWIMS “A” CUT TIME AGAINST VILLANOVA IN 400 IM: Sophomore Marie Labosky, a 2001 NCAA qualifier and honorable mention All-American, assured herself of a weekend in Austin, Texas, at the 2002 NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships when she battled Villanova’s Maddy Crippen to the wire last weekend and qualified for the national meet in the 400 individual medley. Labosky was just out-touched by Crippen, but the sophomore set a new Notre Dame record and automatically qualified for the NCAAs when she touched in at 4:14.47.
UP NEXT: The Irish women travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., on Saturday, Feb. 2, for a dual meet against #17 Michigan. Meet time is 3:00 p.m.