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No. 19 Women's Swimming Plays Host To Notre Dame Invitational

Dec. 3, 2003

THIS WEEK: The 19th-ranked Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team plays host to the three-day Notre Dame Invitational Thursday-Saturday, Dec. 4-6, at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Preliminary heats begin at 10 a.m., while the finals are set each night at 6:30 p.m. The diving trials take place at 1:00 p.m. daily. Admission is free and Saturday night is a gold game with the first 100 fans receiving a Notre Dame swimming and diving t-shirt.

Two current Irish swimmer will also travel to Federal Way, Wash., for the U.S. Open Championships. Senior Marie Labosky and freshman Rebecca Grove will compete this weekend as this meet serves as a tune-up before the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials, and ultimately, the 2004 Olympics set for Athens, Greece in August. Also, competing in Washington is former Notre Dame sprint freestyler Heidi Hendrick, who graduated last season.

THE NOTRE DAME INVITATIONAL: The Notre Dame Invitational is one of the biggest meets of the year in terms of the number of competitors. In the women’s competition, 14 teams will compete, while 11 teams are entered in the men’s portion of the meet. Teams swimming include Bowling Green (women only), Denison, Denver, Harvard (men only), Hillsdale (women only), Indianapolis, Louisville, New Mexico (women only), North Dakota, Northern Michigan (women only), Notre Dame, Saint Louis, Shippensburg, West Virginia and Wisconsin-Milwaukee (divers only).

THE US OPEN CHAMPIONSHIPS: The nation’s best swimmers will compete this weekend at the US Open Championships in Federal Way, Wash. Senior Marie Labosky competes in three events including the 200 and 400 individual medley and the 200 backstroke, while freshman Rebecca Grove swims in the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 backstroke. Former Irish swimmer Heidi Hendrick is entered in the 50, 100 and 200 freestyle races. The US Open is competed in long-course meters. Results from Labosky, Grove and Hendrick will be available on after each day. For more information on this meet, please visit

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR THE NOTRE DAME INVITATIONAL: The following is the schedule for this weekend’s Notre Dame Invitational. It will follow the same format as the NCAA Championships. The women’s heats are first, followed by the men.

Thursday, Dec. 4
1. 200 freestyle relay
2. 500 freestyle
3. 200 individual medley
4. 50 freestyle
5. 400 medley relay
6. Men’s 1-meter diving
7. Women’s 3-meter diving

Friday, Dec. 5
8. 200 medley relay
9. 400 individual medley
10. 100 butterfly
11. 200 freestyle
12. 100 breaststroke
13. 100 backstroke
14. 800 freestyle relay
15. Men’s 3-meter diving

Saturday Dec. 6
16. 1,650 freestyle
17. 200 backstroke
18. 100 freestyle
19. 200 breaststroke
20. 200 butterfly
21. 400 freestyle relay
22. Women’s 1-meter diving

ABOUT NOTRE DAME: Notre Dame is 4-1 on the season with dual-meet wins over Tampa, Pittsburgh, Bowling Green and Louisville. The only defeat suffered by the Irish was at the hands of 13th-ranked Indiana, 176-124, in Bloomington, Ind.

The fall season has been tough on the Irish as they have rallied to a 4-1 record despite the majority of the squad being slowed by a viral infection. The Irish left 11 women at home when they traveled to College Station, Texas, for the Texas A&M Invitational two weeks ago, where they finished seventh as a team against some of the nation’s best competition.

Senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton has had a tremendous fall for the Irish as she remains undefeated coming into the Notre Dame Invitational. Perry-Eaton won both boards against North Carolina State, Pittsburgh, Louisville and Bowling Green and also was victorious at the Texas A&M Invitational. The native of Brandon, Fla., will compete on both the one- and three-meter event this weekend at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. For more information on Perry-Eaton, please visit

The freshman class has also made an immediate impact for the Irish in 2003. Against Tampa, six different freshmen were credited with wins. Winners against Tampa included Ann Barton, Katie Carroll (twice), Kiley Gooch, Rebecca Grove, Jessica Stephens and Abby Strang. Other winners would have included Grove and Ellen Johnson if they had not been competing exhibition.

The freshmen also performed well against Indiana as Barton and Carroll both were winners for the Irish and Carroll continued her impressive season with wins in the 100 butterfly and 200 individual medley against Pittsburgh. In the tri-meet against Bowling Green and Louisville, Carroll and Johnson won two events, while Ann Barton, Grove and Stephens finished first in their races as well.

Last season’s most valuable swimmer, Lisa Garcia, also has seen the winner’s stand lately as she won three events against Bowling Green and Louisville and had a strong meet at the Texas A&M Invitational. Other upperclassmen swimming well for the Irish include seniors Danielle Hulick and Marie Labosky and juniors Katie Eckholt and Kelli Barton.

NOTRE DAME’S BIG EAST QUALIFIERS: The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team already has a number of qualifiers for the 2004 BIG EAST meet. The Irish have three swimmers who hold the top times in their respective events thus far including freshman Abby Strang, who has the top time in the 500 freestyle with a time of 4:50.42, junior Kelli Barton in the 200 breaststroke with a time of 2:19.78 and freshman Katie Carroll in the 200 individual medley at 2:02.04 and the 400 individual medley at 4:17.88. The Irish also hold the conference’s best time in the 400 and 800 free relays set at the Texas A&M Invitational.

Other Notre Dame swimmers who appear in the top eight include senior Danielle Hulick in the 50 free (fourth-23.79), 100 free (52.42-eighth), 100 back (57.67-eighth); Carroll in the 50 free (23.87-seventh), 100 fly (55.67-second); senior Lisa Garcia in the 100 fly (56.40-fourth), 200 fly (2:02.23-second), 200 IM (2:05.18-fifth), sophomore Christel Bouvron (56.75-fifth) and 200 fly (2:03.60-fifth); sophomore Courtney Choura in the 100 free (51.97-fourth), 100 breaststroke (1:05.52-sixth) and 200 breaststroke (2:20.51-fourth); freshman Ellen Johnson in the 200 free (1:50.39-third); senior Marie Labosky in the 1,000 free (10:02.01-second), 200 back (2:01.78-third), 200 IM (2:05.42-sixth); Kelli Barton in the 1,000 (10:12.86-sixth), 1,650 free (16:53.16-second) and 400 IM (4:26.25-fourth); Strang in the 1,000 (10:15.14-seventh) and the 1,650 free (17:09.91-fifth); Ann Barton in the 200 backstroke (2:02.26-fourth), 100 fly (56.75-fifth), 200 fly (2:04.99-seventh) and 400 IM (4:27.33-fifth); senior Laurie Musgrave in the 100 breaststroke (1:05.88-eighth) and Meghan Perry-Eaton on the one-meter (315.82-third) and the three-meter (309.15-fourth) boards.

NOTRE DAME RANKED #19: The Irish women’s swimming and diving team remains ranked 19th in the second Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association Poll of 2003-04. Defending national champion Auburn received all eight first-place votes and is first with 200 points, for the second consecutive week, followed by Florida, Georgia, Stanford and USC. Here is the complete poll:

1. Auburn (8)       200
2. Florida 191
3. Georgia 185
4. Stanford 176
5. USC 168
6. Texas 160
7. Arizona 152
8. SMU 141
9. California 139
10. Wisconsin 126
11. UCLA 121
12. Penn State 108
13. Arizona State 102
Indiana 102
15. North Carolina 88
16. Michigan 73
17. Texas A&M 69
Virginia 69
19. Notre Dame 56
20. Florida State 51
21. Washington 35
22. Maryland 32
23. Missouri 24
24. Hawaii 11
25. Minnesota 9

Others receiving votes: Tennessee, Alabama

IRISH MOVING UP THE CHARTS IN BIG EAST HISTORY: The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team has won seven consecutive conference titles (1997-current) and are inching ever closer to the all-time consecutive conference title mark. The Pittsburgh men’s swimming and diving program holds the record at 10, winning from 1983-92, while the Panther women won nine straight titles from 1983-91. Here is the list for most consecutive BIG EAST titles:

10 – Pittsburgh men’s swimming and diving (’83-’92)
9 – Pittsburgh women’s swimming and diving (’83-’91)
9 – Connecticut women’s basketball (’94-’02)
8 – Boston College men’s tennis (’81-’88)
7 – Pittsburgh volleyball (’88-’94)
7 – Notre Dame women’s soccer (’95-’01)
7 – Notre Dame women’s swimming (’97-active)

HEAD SWIMMING COACH Bailey Weathers: Irish head swimming coach Bailey Weathers is in his ninth year at the helm of the Irish roster. During his tenure, Notre Dame has won seven straight BIG EAST Conference crowns and he has been named conference coach of the year five times. Weathers coached 16 different swimmers to All-America honors while at Notre Dame and over 30 swimmers to 63 BIG EAST Championships. He also has coached 17 swimmers to 17 BIG EAST Championship records and every school record has been broken under his tenure. He also has coached seven College Swimming Coaches Association of America All-Academic selections and 12 honorable mention All-Americans.

Before coming to Notre Dame, Weathers coached at South Carolina where he was three-time Metro Conference Coach of the Year and had two top-12 NCAA finishes. Before South Carolina, he was at Southern Illinois where he was named the 1986 NCAA Division I Coach of the Year after placing fifth at the NCAA meet. He also has been an assistant coach at the University of Texas and Indiana University, and coaching the Mission Aurora Swim Club in Colorado from 1990-95.

HEAD DIVING COACH Caiming Xie: Caiming Xie is in his ninth season as the head diving coach at Notre Dame for both the men’s and women’s team. During his tenure, he has coached two All-Americans in Heather Mattingly and Meghan Perry-Eaton and was named the 1999 BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Caiming was responsible for the development of Mattingly as she became the first Notre Dame diver to earn All-America honors after placing eighth in the three-meter competition at the 2002 NCAA meet. The next season, Perry-Eaton became the first Notre Dame diver in history to win a BIG EAST Conference title when she defeated Miami’s Katie Beth Bryant to win the one-meter competition. She also was named the 2003 BIG EAST Diver of the Year after placing second in the three-meter event. The then-junior went on to place ninth at the 2003 NCAA meet on the one-meter board.

ASSISTANT COACH Anne Marie Stricklin: Assistant swimming coach Anne Marie Stricklin is currently on maternity leave after the birth of her daughter Sara on Oct. 29. Stricklin is in her second season with the Irish.

THE CAPTAINS: Seniors Laurie Musgrave and Lisa Garcia will serve as co-captains for the 2003-04 season. Musgrave, a breaststroke specialist, earned all-BIG EAST honors in 2003 and was the winner of the 2001 Beeler-Hipp Award given to the outstanding freshman who best exemplifies the vitality, competitiveness and love for Notre Dame as former swimmers Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp. Garcia was the 2003 team most valuable swimmer after earning All-America honors in the 200 butterfly at the NCAA meet and winning both the 200 butterfly and 200 IM at the 2003 BIG EAST meet.

UP NEXT: Notre Dame will take the next three weeks off to concentrate on finals before heading to Puerto Rico for a Christmas training trip. While in Puerto Rico, the Irish will swim against Army on Jan. 5 in San Juan. Meet time is still to be determined.