Carrie Nixon has signed 14 swimmers and divers to her first full recruiiting class as head coach of the Fighting Irish.

Women's Swimming And Diving Incoming Freshman Class Features 14 Outstanding Student-Athletes

June 28, 2006

The University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team will feature 14 new faces in 2006-07, as the 10-time defending BIG EAST Champion will welcome a deep and talented freshman group of swimmers and divers into the fold this fall.

Maggie Behrens (Munster, Ind.), Meghan Casey (Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.), Ashlee Edgell (Cincinnati, Ohio), Megan Farrell (Hopkinton, Mass.), Mary Grace Godfrey (South Bend, Ind.), Christiana Gonzales (White Plains, N.Y.), Vivian Healey (New York, N.Y.), Gina Mancini (Falmouth, Maine), Keri Masterson (West Hempstead, N.Y.), Stacey Nedrud (Melbourne Beach, Fla.), Tiffany Robak (Milwaukee, Wis.), Zeina Shanata (Gainesville, Fla.), Lexie Shue (Corona del Mar, Calif.) and Natalie Stitt (Holland, Mich.) comprise the future class of 2010.

“We are really excited about this class,” Irish head coach Carrie Nixon, who will enter her second year with the Irish this fall/winter, said of the 14-member class.

“To bring a freshman class of this caliber into the program to be mentored by our solid senior class this season is a perfect scenario for us. This is a power-packed group of swimmers and divers and is one of the best recruiting classes we have landed at Notre Dame and they will play a key role in the new era of our program.”

The class is balanced well with nine freestyle specialists, five butterflyers, two breaststroke specialists, two IM swimmers, three backstrokers and three divers. The group also represents Notre Dame’s commitment to a national recruiting base, as the team will add swimmers and divers from Maine, Indiana, Ohio, Massachusetts, Florida, California, New York, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Here is a closer look at the class –

Maggie Behrens
Backstroke and Individual Medley

Munster, Ind.
Munster High School
Munster Seahorses

A three-time Indiana high school state runner-up in the 100 backstroke as a sophomore, junior and senior … served as captain of the Munster High School team as a junior and senior … a National Interscholastic Swimming Coaches Association (NISCA) High School All-American … was a four-time MVP of her club team, the Munster Seahorses … named a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American and an NISCA High School Academic All-American … a member of the National Honor Society who posted four consecutive perfect 4.0 GPA years at Munster High School.

Top times include –
100 Backstroke – 57.00
200 Backstroke – 2:05.32
200 Individual Medley – 2:06.58
100 Freestyle – 52.90

Nixon on Behrens –
“Maggie is Blue and Gold to the core. She has a long history of Notre Dame graduates in her family and has attended our summer swimming camps consistently through the years. Her long strokes and athletic build will give her an incredible competitive advantage when she steps onto the collegiate scene.

“Maggie is a great student and will be a fantastic leader in the classroom as well.”

Meghan Casey
Butterfly and Backstroke

Ponte Verde Beach, Fla.
Bolles School
Bolles School Sharks

A member of the powerful Bolles School High School team, winning four straight state titles as part of the school’s 18-year reign as state champions … earned the Hardee’s High School Student Award for contributions to her team academically, athletically and in community service … served as the Bolles School team captain as a senior … member of the National Honor Society, Latin Honors Society and a three-time Relay for Life team captain.

Top times include –
200 Backstroke – 2:10.53
200 Butterfly – 2:13.38

Nixon on Casey –
“Meghan is total team player and an amazing leader. She has played an integral role in continuing the Bolles School swimming tradition these past four years. She is a versatile and well-rounded swimmer who also values family, academics, and community service as part of her lifelong success. She’ll make an immediate impact in our butterfly group and will ooze Notre Dame pride in every way.”

Ashlee Edgell
Individual Medley and Middle Distance Freestyle

Cincinnati, Ohio
Madeira High School
Cincinnati Marlins

Three-time Ohio state champion in the 200 IM as a sophomore, junior and senior … also was a three-time state runner up in the 200 IM (freshman) and 100 freestyle (sophomore/senior) … currently holds the Ohio state record in the 200 IM (2:04.15) … an NISCA High School All-American … a three-time winner of the Greater Cincinnati Swimmer of the Year Award (freshman, sophomore, junior) … also competed in cross country for four seasons, serving as the team captain during her senior season … member of the National Honor Society, National Latin Honor Society and the Key Club.

Top times include –
200 Individual Medley – 2:04.15
400 Individual Medley – 4:22.10
200 Backstroke – 2:05.97
100 Freestyle – 52.50

Nixon on Edgell –
“Ashlee is Notre Dame Blue and Gold to the bones. She is a charismatic, enthusiastic and gracious athlete that will bring tremendous depth to our IM group. Her running background and height (6’0) gives her tremendous versatility in the pool that will carry well into the rigors of collegiate training. She is eager to make an immediate impact each year at Notre Dame and will represent our team very well in the classroom.”

Meghan Farrell
Butterfly and Freestyle

Hopkinton, Mass.
Hopkinton High School
Attleboro Blush Fish/Bernal’s Gators

Won the Massachusetts 200 freestyle championship as a freshman … also was the state runner-up in the 500 freestyle during her freshman season … a NICSA High School All-American … only swam for her high school team during her freshman season, earning the team’s MVP award and scholar-athlete award … named to the 2003 Boston Herald and Boston Globe All-Scholastic Team … earned the New England Swimming Women’s High Point Award as a senior … also named the New England Swimming Outstanding Athlete of the Year during her senior year … a NISCA High School Academic All-American … ranked eighth in the summer of 2005 in USA Swimming’s IMX Challenge … member of the National Honor Society.

Top times include –
100 Butterfly – 55.48
200 Freestyle – 1:50.26
100 Freestyle – 51.64
200 Butterfly – 2:04.19

Nixon on Farrell –
“Megan is a very dedicated and hard working athlete that knows what it will take to be successful at the collegiate level. She very athletic by nature and is absolutely filled with potential, bringing a wealth of experience to the team as a consistent national contender over the past few years. She is a great leader, a superb student and an athlete who will be amazing at Notre Dame.”

Mary Grace Godfrey
Sprint Freestyle and Butterfly

South Bend, Ind.
St. Joseph High School
Irish Aquatics

Home grown talent from St. Joseph High School, located just across the street from the University of Notre Dame … two-time state runner up, in the 100 butterfly as a junior and 200 freestyle as a senior … high school team MVP for four consecutive seasons … the 2004 Indiana State ESPY Awardwinner … named the 2006 Burger King Outstanding Indiana Female Student-Athlete … and NISCA High School Academic All-American … qualified for the junior nationals … earned the ’06 St. Joseph High School Community Leadership Award.

Top times include –
200 Freestyle – 1:51.19
100 Butterfly – 56.58
50 Freestyle – 24.42
100 Freestyle – 52.63

Nixon on Godfrey –
“Mary Grace is fantastic. A local, home grown athlete that has come through the Notre Dame club program (Irish Aquatics) over the years and has been excited about Notre Dame every step of the way. She is one of the most proficient kickers I have ever seen and will carry that strength well into our sprint program here.

“Mary Grace is very focused, but has a wonderful sense of humor and truly cherishes her teammates, coaches and friends. Her family is incredibly supportive of her goals and we are proud that she’ll be wearing Blue and Gold for her collegiate career.”

Christiana Gonzales

White Plains, N.Y.
White Plains High School
New York Dive Club

Posted an undefeated dual-meet season as a senior … served as the White Plains team captain during her senior campaign … holds two White Plains High School diving records … qualified for the Summer National East competition … also a White Plains High School Scholar-Athlete and was the 2005 Con Edison Award runner up.

Nixon on Gonzales –
“Chrissy makes every room she enters sparkle with smiles. She is a good student, a great leader and a phenomenal teammate. Her enthusiasm for Notre Dame caught our attention last fall, so we are very excited to be welcoming her to campus next season. She brings a wealth of experience to our atmosphere and will contribute each year during her Irish career.”

Vivian Healey
Breaststroke and Freestyle

New York, N.Y.
Stuyvesant High School
Asphalt Green Unified Aquatics

Four-time Stuyvesant High School team MVP … holds two event records in the New York City League … a USA Swimming Scholastic All-American … a National Merit Scholar … earned a gold medal at the New York City Math Fair … older sister, Georgia, swam for the Irish from 2001-05 and served as team captain in 2004-05.

Top times include –
100 Breaststroke – 1:05.60
200 Breaststroke – 2:23.19
100 Freestyle – 53.65
100 Butterfly – 58.45

Nixon on Healey –
“Vivian comes to Notre Dame on the heals of her older sister, Georgia, who was a captain for the 2004-2005 team. She attended a phenomenal academic high school in Manhattan and has really excelled in the sciences there – bringing an incredible classroom presence to our team. Her technique in the pool is wonderful and her potential just beginning to surface. She’ll be an enthusiastic and hard working athlete who will contribute more and more each year as she develops in the water.”

Gina Mancini
Sprint Freestyle and Breaststroke

Falmouth, Maine
Falmouth High School
Westbrook Seals

Dominated the state of Maine during her prep campaign, winning eight state championships … won the 50 freestyle and 100 breaststroke as a freshman and sophomore … moved on to claim state titles in the 200 individual medley and 100 breaststroke as a junior and senior … led her high school team to three consecutive state team titles as a sophomore, junior and senior … named the Maine High School State Championships Swimmer of the Meet four consecutive seasons … a three-time selection as the Maine State Swimmer of the Year … was never defeated in a high school race, finished her career at Falmouth High School completely undefeated … holds the Maine state high school records in the 200 IM, 100 freestyle and 100 breaststroke … currently serves as the Westbrook Seals team captain … was named Falmouth High School team MVP three times (sophomore, junior, senior) … and NISCA High School Academic All-American … also earned NISCA All-America honors in the 50 freestyle, 100 freestyle and 200 breaststroke.

Top times include –
50 Freestyle – 23.60
100 Freestyle – 52.33
100 Breaststroke – 1:04.60
200 Breaststroke – 2:26.51

Nixon on Mancini –
“We’re very excited about Gina both as a swimmer and a great leader. She has incredible technique and is just beginning to break onto the national scene. As a sprinter myself, I see so much potential in her career and know that she’ll make an immediate impact walking through the door this fall. She loves Notre Dame to her core and will carry that passion into the pool.”

Keri Masterson
Butterfly and Sprint Freestyle

West Hempstead, N.Y.
Sacred Heart Academy
Long Island Aquatic Club

Won the New York state championship in the 100 butterfly as a senior … two-time New York State League MVP (sophomore, senior) … served as the Sacred Heart Academy team captain as a senior and was named the team MVP … holds New York High School League records in the 100 butterfly and 50 freestyle … a NISCA All-American and Academic All-American … member of the National Honor Society, Science National Honor Society, Mathematics National Honor Society and is a National Merit Scholar.

Top times include –
100 Butterfly – 55.26
50 Freestyle – 23.82
100 Freestyle – 52.11

Nixon on Masterson –
“Keri is an amazing athlete who has truly had a breakout senior year. She loves to compete, hates to lose and puts her whole heart into her work. Her older brother was a 2004 graduate of the Notre Dame Men’s Lacrosse team, so their family has been a part of our tradition here for many years. We’re very excited for Keri to come in and continue her incredible success in the pool and in the classroom this fall.”

Stacey Nedrud
Backstroke and Freestyle

Melbourne Beach, Fla.
Cocoa Beach High School
Brevard Swim Club

Two-time Florida all-class state champion in the 100 backstroke … earned 11 Florida Conference championships … a junior and senior national qualifier … two-time Cocoa Beach High School MVP … serves as the Brevard Swim Club team captain … an NISCA High School All-American … member of the National Honor Society and was named the Cocoa Beach High School Valedictorian.

Top times include –
200 Backstroke – 2:00.63
100 Backstroke – 56.71
100 Freestyle – 53.61

Nixon on Nedrud –
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Stacey to our team this fall. She is the kind of athlete that comes along only once in a coaching career – a fresh face, a fierce competitor, and a natural fish. She is intelligent in the classroom and carries that strength into her passion in the pool – a 2008 Olympic contender who is just scratching the surface of her capabilities as a swimmer and teammate.”

Tiffany Robak

Milwaukee, Wis.
Pius XI High School
Schroeder Dive Team

Three-time three-meter YMCA National Champion … two-time one-meter YMCA National Champion … two-time Wisconsin state champion … two-time Wisconsin State Diver of the Year … named high school team MVP three times … a NISCA All-American … served as the National Honor Society Vice President and Key Club President … three-time Milwaukee Student Achiever awardwinner.

Nixon on Robak –
“Tiffany leads the way for our freshmen diving crew – a successful, driven, focused and incredibly talented athlete. She is at the top of her game having won several YMCA national titles, yet is virtually untapped in her potential on the boards. Caiming Xie, our diving coach, is known for his incredible success in training athletes beyond their wildest expectations and Tiffany is someone who will absolutely thrive under his tutelage. We’re excited to see what she can do and pumped that she wholeheartedly loves Notre Dame.”

Zeina Shanata
Middle Distance Freestyle and Butterfly

Gainesville, Fla.
F.W. Buchholz High School
Gator Swim Club

Three-time Florida state champion … won titles in the 100 freestyle (freshman, senior) and 200 freestyle (junior) … led her team to the Florida state title as a freshman and senior … two-time Muchholz High School team MVP (junior and senior) … junior national qualifier … holds Gator Swim Club records in nine different events … member of the National Honor Society, Spanish Honor Society, Beta Eta Sigma Business Honor Society and was a two-time honoree for the Buchholz High School highest team GPA.

Top times include –
200 Freestyle – 1:50.49
500 Freestyle – 4:55.71
100 Butterfly – 56.74
200 Butterfly – 2:03.05
100 Freestyle – 51.03

Nixon on Shanata –
“Zeina will add an incredible amount of depth and excitement to our middle distance group. She is a bubbly and enthusiastic teammate who hails from a great club program – one of two Florida freshmen that we’ll have at ND this fall. Her well-rounded approach to swimming will add an amazing element to our team, as she is a fine competitor who truly blossoms in a team oriented atmosphere.”

Lexi Shue
Distance Freestyle

Corona del Mar, Calif.
Corona del Mar High School
Irvine Aquazots

Led her high school team to an undefeated dual meet record throughout all four years of prep competition … a seven-time California CIF state champion … holds four Corona del Mar records and was a three-time team MVP … named Los Angeles League MVP twice during her career … holds eight Irving Aquazots program records … a NISCA All-American and Academic All-American.

Top times include –
500 Freestyle – 4:51.11
1,000 Freestyle – 9:52.31
1,650 Freestyle – 16:33.53

Nixon on Shue –
“Lexie is a phenomenal athlete and truly a diamond in the rough. She comes from a family of dancers in Southern California and thus has incredible dexterity and coordination in her strokes, despite being very tall. She loves to train hard and will help lead our distance program to new heights in the years to come. We’re excited to see her continued success throughout her career at Notre Dame.”

Natalie Stitt

Holland, Mich.
West Ottawa High School
Gale Force Diving

Michigan state high school champion as a junior … two-time West Ottawa team MVP (junior, senior) … named Michigan State Meet Diver of the Year as a junior … an NISCA All-American … also competed in track and field, serving as team captain as a senior … earned all-state honors as a pole vaulter … a member of the National Honor Society and a USA Diving Scholar-Athlete.

Nixon on Stitt –
“Natalie adds an incredible element to our freshman diving corps – a very versatile and exciting athlete on the boards. Her experience on the pole vaulting scene has made her competitive on many levels and will translate very well into collegiate contests.”