March 20, 2004
COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The University of Notre Dame finished 25th with 28 points in the 2004 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships, which wrapped up Saturday evening at the Student Rec Center Natatorium. The fifth top-25 result for the Irish in the last eight years came as a result of strong performances from senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) and freshman swimmer Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy).
Notre Dame, which finished the season ranked 20th in the College Swimming Coaches Association (CSCAA) dual-meet national rankings, has scored points in nine consecutive NCAA meets, finishing no worse than 37th since 1996. The top Irish performance was an 18th-place finish by the 2000 team, while the ’02 squad was 19th.
Perry-Eaton accounted for 16 of Notre Dame’s points with her third-place finish in the one-meter diving competition. She was named an All-American for her performance, which was the highest-ever finish for an Irish student-athlete in the NCAA meet.
Carroll scored the other 12 Irish points, with nine coming from a ninth-place finish in the 200 individual medley and the other three from a 14th-place result in the 400 IM. She set school records in both races and became the first Notre Dame freshman ever to be named honorable mention All-America in multiple events.
Auburn won its third consecutive national championship with 569 points, which was 238 ahead of runner-up Georgia (431 points).
Notre Dame, which won its eighth consecutive league title last month, was the highest-finishing BIG EAST Conference squad. Rutgers, the league runner-up, finished in a tie for 29th with 14 points, while Villanova tied for 34th (six points), and Connecticut tied for 36th (five points).
Notre Dame featured eight seniors this season, but Perry-Eaton could apply for a fifth year of eligibility after competing in just two meets as a freshman before suffering a season-ending back injury, The class of ’04 combined for 21 BIG EAST titles, nine invitations to the NCAA Championships, and six All-America accolades. Nonetheless, the Irish will return their top competitor in 11 of 16 individual events next season. Additionally, four of the top five Notre Dame performers in every event but one (200 IM) will be back for the 2004-05 season.