February 24, 1999

NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The Notre Dame men’s and women’s swimming and diving squads travel to Uniondale, N.Y., Feb. 25-27, for the three-day BIG EAST Championships at the Goodwill Games Aquatic Center.

The 23rd-ranked Notre Dame women (8-3), under head coach Bailey Weathers, are the two-time defending BIG EAST Champions after scoring 740.50 points at last year’s meet and winning a record 10 events. This year’s squad will be led by sophomore Carrie Nixon (Ouray, Colo.) in the sprint freestyle events as well as the 200 individual medley, sophomore Kristen Van Saun (Lawrence, Kan.) in the middle distance freestyle events and the 400 IM, freshman Kelly Hecking (Rutherford, N.J.) in the backstroke, junior Elizabeth Barger (Littleton, Colo.) in the butterfly, freshman Heather Mattingly (Houston, Texas) in the one and three-meter diving events, as well a corps of breaststrokers including three-time All-American Shannon Suddarth (Topeka, Kan.), freshman Allison Lloyd (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and sophomore Kathleen Rimkus (Chantilly, Va.).

The Notre Dame men finished fourth a year ago with 376 points after placing seventh in 1997 and 1996. The Irish men have already broken seven school records this season and bring a 4-4 dual-meet record into this weekend’s championships. In the freestyle events, the Irish, under head coach Tim Welsh, will look to junior Ray Fitzpatrick (Doylestown, Pa.) in the sprints and junior John Lubker (Roswell, Ga.) and freshman Jonathan Pierce (Newburgh, Ind.) in the middle and distance freestyle events. University record-holders Brian Skorney (Staten Island, N.Y.) and James Scott-Browne (Seattle, Wash.) are expected to be Notre Dame’s top contenders in the butterfly events, while sophomore Dan Sziler (Norristown, Pa.), who has already provisionally qualified for the NCAAs, will be the team’s mainstay in the 100 and 200 breaststroke. Senior Scott Zumbach (Katonah, N.Y.) currently has top team times in the 200 butterfly and the 200 and 400 IM, while junior Rob Fetter (Lakeland, Fla.) leads the team in the 100 butterfly.

The BIG EAST Championships begin Thursday, Feb. 25 and run through Saturday, Feb. 27. Each day’s preliminaries will start at 10 a.m. and will be followed by finals beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Notre Dame History in the BIG EAST Championships

Team Finishes

Women         Points            Men           Points1998 - 1st    740.50            1998 - 4th       376    1997 - 1st    661.00            1997 - 7th    299.501996 - 3rd    492.00            1996 - 7th    262.00

Individual Awards
1998 – Bailey Weathers, BIG EAST Women’s Coach of the Year Linda Gallo, BIG EAST Most Outstanding Swimmer
1997 – Bailey Weathers, BIG EAST Women’s Coach of the Year