March 17, 2005
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Notre Dame fifth-year senior Meghan Perry-Eaton (Brandon, Fla./Bloomingdale H.S.) finished fifth in one-meter diving to be named an All-American for the second straight year, while sophomore Katie Carroll (Toledo, Ohio/Notre Dame Academy) was again honorable mention All-America in the 200-yard individual medley with a 14th-place result in Thursday-evening action at the 2005 NCAA Division I Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in the Boilermaker Aquatic Center. Both improved two positions from their qualifying spots, while the veteran notched the third-highest finish ever for a Notre Dame competitor in the meet. They combined to score 17 points, putting the Irish in 18th place after the first of three days of action.
After qualifying seventh with a score of 287.15 points, Perry-Eaton accumulated a total of 303.00 points in the evening to finish .35 ahead of Miami’s Jenna Dreyer, who qualified fourth and was 17th at the Athens Olympics off the springboard last summer. She also beat NCAA zone C champion Christina Loukas of Indiana, who was sixth in prelims, as well as another Hoosier, Lisa Silvestri.
Qiong Jie Huang of Hawai’i, a native of China and the only diver other than Perry-Eaton to have been named an All-American off the one-meter board in both 2004 and ’05, was the national champion with a score of 327.00 points. The runner-up was USC’s Blythe Hartley, who took fifth in last year’s Athens Olympics in springboard action and was a bronze medalist in synchronized platform competition. She had 324.90 points after being the top scorer in prelims. Iowa’s Nancilea Underwood took third with 321.40, while Purdue’s Carrie McCambridge ended up fourth with 314.40 points. The NCAA’s zone C – which includes most of the Big Ten schools, as well as others in the area, including Notre Dame – dominated the event, taking six of the top nine positions.
The only higher finishes by Notre Dame competitors in the NCAA Championships were Perry-Eaton’s third-place result in one-meter diving in 2004 and a fourth-place finish by current assistant coach Carrie Nixon in the 50-meter freestyle in 2000. The current Irish senior, three times the BIG EAST Championships Most Outstanding Diver, became just the third Notre Dame student-athlete – and first diver – to be a multiple-time All-American on the Division I level, joining five-time All-American Tanya Williams (also four honorable mentions) and Nixon, who was a two-time All-American (10-time honorable-mention selection). Perry-Eaton will conclude her career with each of the top three finishes ever by Irish student-athletes in one-meter diving at the NCAAs. In 2003, she just missed the championship final, ending ninth. The top finish by any other Notre Dame diver in the event was a 12th-place result by Heather Mattingly in 2002. Perry-Eaton’s score on Thursday night also stands as the sixth-highest in a championship-style meet off the one-meter board since the current six-dive format was adopted in 2000-01. The product of the Jetstream Diving Club ends her career owning each of the top 16 one-meter, championship-meet scores in Irish history.
Perry-Eaton concludes the 2004-05 season having been beaten in one-meter action by just five divers at any point in the campaign: McCambridge (three times), Loukas, Huang, Hartley, and Underwood. In 2003-04, she was defeated by only three divers: national champion Allison Brennan of South Carolina, NCAA runner-up Lane Bassham of Alabama, and Tealin Keleman from Michigan, whom she also beat three times.
Carroll, who was seeded 26th heading into the meet, moved up to 16th in prelims and then rose another two spots to 14th in finals. After going 2:00.74 in the morning, she turned in a time of 2:00.75 in the evening, finishing ahead of Auburn freshman Julie Stupp (2:00.93 after qualifying 14th) and Tennessee’s Megan Tomes (2:01.58 after being tied for 10th in prelims). Michigan freshman Justine Mueller won the heat in a time of 1:59.07.
The product of the Greater Toledo Aquatic Club was one of just five swimmers to earn evening appearances in the 200 IM in both of the last two years. Carroll, the 2004 and ’05 BIG EAST champion in the race, was 11th in prelims last year in the 200 IM before going on to take ninth in the evening. She now has both of the top two finishes ever by Irish swimmers at the NCAAs in the 200 IM. The best result prior to her swim last year was 18th by Tanya Williams in 1992. Williams twice was named honorable mention All-America in the 200 IM (1992 and ’93), when competitors placing 17th-32nd gained the distinction. The current rules award the swimmers finishing ninth-16th with honorable mention All-America. Carroll became the ninth Irish student-athlete to gain All-America mention on three or more occasions.
Carroll’s finals time is the fifth-fastest swim in the race ever by a Notre Dame competitor, behind only three of her times from her rookie campaign and her Thursday prelims performance. The top two marks in school history – 1:58.52 and 1:59.55 – came from the 2004 NCAAs and are converted from short-course meters times. Carroll’s 2:00.65 from last year’s BIG EAST Championships is the fastest-ever yards time by a Notre Dame swimmer. In addition to the top five marks, Carroll boasts seven of the top 11 times in the 200 IM in Irish history.
The Irish sophomore continued a trend of moving up considerably from her seeding in big meets. At the 2004 NCAAs, she was seeded 22nd in the 200 IM before taking ninth, while rising 21 spots from her seeding (35th) in the 400 IM to finish 14th. At the 2004 United States Olympic Trials, Carroll rose 12 spots from her seeding (35th) to finish 22nd in the 200 IM.
Notre Dame has scored 11 or more points in all 10 years since current head coach Bailey Weathers took over the program. The Irish got 14 from Perry-Eaton and three from Carroll on Thursday. A year ago, Notre Dame finished 25th with 28 points.
The Irish will have a full day of action on Friday, as Carroll will swim the 400-yard individual medley (seeded 19th), Perry-Eaton will take part in three-meter diving, and junior Christel Bouvron (Singapore, Singapore/Raffles Girls’ Secondary School) will make her NCAA Championships debut, swimming the 100 butterfly (seeded 40th). Swimming prelims begin at 11 a.m. (EST), while diving starts at 1 p.m.
For complete results of the NCAA Championships, please see http://www.ncaasports.com/swimming/womens/championship-results/2005/d1.