Jan. 25, 2002

Notre Dame, Ind. – The Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team remained ranked 13th in the nation in the latest Collegiate Swimming Coaches Association of America poll released Jan. 18. Notre Dame received 102 points, 98 behind top-ranked Stanford, who also received all eight first-place votes available. Texas (189), Arizona (178), Auburn (177) and Georgia (176) round out the top five places in the poll.

Strength of schedule will play a huge role in Notre Dame’s success this season. The Irish women will face six teams appearing in the poll including 16th-ranked Northwestern next Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Rolfs Aquatic Center and No. 17 Michigan on Feb. 2 in Ann Arbor, Mich. The Irish have already defeated 15th-ranked Wisconsin, No. 19 Indiana, No. 20 Minnesota and 22nd-ranked Purdue earlier this season.

The Irish women, in conjunction with the men’s team, will tune up for their Thursday showdown with a dual-meet against Villanova on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. Meet time is 4:00 p.m.

The Villanova women finished fourth at the 2001 BIG EAST Championships and return eight BIG EAST Conference finalists – including junior Maddy Crippen. A 2000 United States Olympian, Crippen earned BIG EAST Conference Most Outstanding Female Swimmer honors last season for the second time in her storied career.

In his first year at the helm of the Wildcats in 2000-2001, head coach Rick Simpson led the Villanova men’s swimming and diving team to a major improvement from the previous season. The Wildcats posted three more victories in dual-meet competition, and were much improved at the BIG EAST Championships, despite an 11th-place finish.

The Notre Dame women are fresh off victories over Iowa and Illinois at the Notre Dame Dual Meet Invitational last Saturday. The Irish improved their 2001-02 dual-meet record to 7-0 and 28-1 over the past two-plus seasons. Senior Carrie Nixon won six races for the Irish including the 50 and 100 freestyle and the 100 butterfly, while senior diver Heather Mattingly set a Notre Dame record in the three-meter competition.

The men won a hard-fought battle, 162.5-133.5, against Oakland University last Saturday, to improve its dual-meet record to 9-3 on the season. Senior Jonathan Pierce won the 1,650 freestyle for the Irish and junior diver Andy Maggio took first in both the one- and three-meter diving events.