Jan. 18, 2002
THIS WEEK: The Irish women play host to Big Ten-foes Illinois and Iowa Friday-Saturday, Jan. 18-19 at the 2002 Notre Dame Dual Meet Invitational. Meet time Friday evening is 6:00 p.m., followed by two sessions on Saturday beginning at 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. The order of events will follow the NCAA championship format with finals heats only. Events that are traditionally swum on day one of the NCAA meet will take place Friday night, with day two’s events on Saturday morning and day three’s events Saturday night.
ABOUT ILLINOIS: Head coach Sue Novitsky and Illinois are 3-1 on the season in dual-meet competition after defeating Northern Illinois, Illinois State and Truman State and falling to UCLA. The Illini also were third at the Maryland Invitational and second at last week’s UC-Irvine Invitational. Illinois features some talented swimmers as two-time All-American Jessica Aveyard, Turkish national recordholder Ilkay Dikmen and NCAA qualifier Alison Czmarko lead the Illini. Novitsky also has school recordholder Jen Peters (1650 free) and Crystal McAdam, who ranks among the Illinois all-time top five in five events (100 free, 200 free, 50 fly, 100 fly, 200 IM) and in the top 10 in two others (1000 free, 400 IM).
ABOUT IOWA: Iowa is 1-5 on the season, defeating Ohio State, but losing to Wisconsin, Indiana, Purdue and Iowa State. The Hawkeyes have seen a lot of the Irish this season as Iowa was fourth at the Minnesota Invitational in Minneapolis, while Notre Dame placed first in the same three-day event. The Irish and the Hawkeyes also swam against each other during their winter training trip in Hawaii, with the Irish prevailing 183-61. Head coach Garland O’Keeffe is in her second season at the helm of the Hawkeyes, which features freshman Jennifer Skolaski, who won the 500 and 1,000 freestyle against Iowa State. She also won the 200 backstroke, setting a new pool record in the process.
IRISH FALL REWIND: The women’s swimming and diving team, ranked 13th in the nation (its highest-ever national ranking), concluded the fall season with a perfect 5-0 dual-meet record and recorded convincing wins at the prestigious Notre Dame Relays, Minnesota Invitational and Notre Dame Invitational. The Irish improved their dual-meet record to 26-1 over the last two-plus season with wins over Pittsburgh, Michigan State, Florida Atlantic, Purdue and Iowa thus far in 2001-02.
The Irish are led by fifth-year senior Carrie Nixon who picked up right where she left off after missing the ’00-’01 season with a shoulder injury. Nixon has 13 individual and 13 relay event wins thus far, including claiming seven events at the Minnesota and Notre Dame Invitationals. Senior Kelly Hecking is also off to a rousing start as well with 10 wins in the 100 and 200 backstroke. Also, sophomore diver Meghan Perry-Eaton, who missed the ’00-’01 season due to injury, set the Notre Dame record for six dives in the one-meter diving event with 287.70 points against Purdue, breaking the old record of 283.12 set on Jan. 29, 2000, by Gina Ketelhohn.
NOTRE DAME ACHIEVES HIGHEST NATIONAL RANKING IN PROGRAM HISTORY: The Notre Dame swimming and diving team is ranked 13th in the nation, its highest in the history of the program, in the first College Swimming Coaches Association poll released on Dec. 13, 2001. Stanford is first, followed by Texas, Arizona, Auburn and Georgia. Notre Dame, who has already faced nationally-ranked challengers Wisconsin (ranked 15th), Indiana (19th), Minnesota (20th) and Purdue (22nd) this season, still has a tough spring ahead of them as they swim against Northwestern (16th) and Michigan (17th) in dual-meet action.
INDIVIDUALS IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS: Four Irish swimmers appear in the national rankings released earlier this week including Carrie Nixon (10th in the 50 freestyle at 22.93), Kelli Barton (15th in the 1,650 freestyle), Kelly Hecking (21st in the 100 backstroke) and Marie Labosky, who ranks in three categories including the 1,000 freestyle (19th at 10:01.50), 1,650 freestyle (16:39.79) and the 400 individual medley (13th at 4:18.09).
IRISH IN THE BIG EAST RANKINGS: Notre Dame swimmers and divers appear all over the BIG EAST best-times rankings as 28 individuals have already qualified for the BIG EAST meet. Notre Dame also sits a top many categories. Senior Carrie Nixon has the top time in both the 50 freestyle (22.93) and the 100 butterfly (55.44), sophomore Marie Labosky has the top 1,000 freestyle (9:57.54) and 200 individual medley (2:03.02) time, freshman Kelli Barton is first in the 1,650 freestyle (16:37.77), senior Kelly Hecking has the top 100 and 200 backstroke times (55.88 and 2:00.36, respectively), senior Allison Lloyd owns the best 200 breaststroke time (2:17.89), Lisa D’Olier is the keeper of the top 200 butterfly time (2:03.04) and the women’s 400 medley relay of Hecking, Lloyd, D’Olier and Nixon at 3:45.48.