March 21, 2002
The University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team began competition at the 2002 NCAA Championship meet in Austin, Texas, on Thursday afternoon. After the first day of preliminary races, the Irish advanced senior Carrie Nixon to the championship finals of the 50 freestyle and the 400 medley relay team of Kelly Hecking, Lisa D’Olier, Allison Lloyd and Nixon to the consolation finals on Thursday evening.
Nixon, who missed the 2001 NCAA Championship with a shoulder injury, advanced to the 50 freestyle championship final with a 22.70 seventh-place effort in the preliminaries. That time breaks Nixon’s own school record set earlier this season and puts the fifth-year senior in competition for an NCAA title in the championship race at approximately 9 p.m. CST on Thursday.
Nixon’s advancement to the championship final assures the Ouray, Colo., native the second All-America honor of her career. In the finals tonight she will look to improve upon the fourth-place showing in the 50 freestyle she recorded in 2000, which is the highest-ever individual finish in the Irish record book at an NCAA meet.
The 400 medley relay team with Nixon, Hecking, D’Olier and Lloyd moved on to the consolation finals with a 3:42.68 time. Nixon shined while swimming the anchor leg for the Irish, recording a 49.18 100-yard freestyle split. The team’s spot in the consolation final earns each member of the team honorable mention All-America status.
In other action on Thursday, Notre Dame’s 200 freestyle relay team of Hecking, Nixon, Lisa Garcia and Kristen Petersen just missed making the consolation finals, finishing 17th in the preliminaries with a 1:32.78 effort.
Freshman Kelli Barton participated in her first career NCAA meet, finishing 56th in the 500 freestyle (4:59.61) and sophomores Lisa Garcia (30th, 2:02.21) and Marie Labosky (54th, 2:04.44) competed in the 200 individual medley.
Senior diver Heather Mattingly took part in the one-meter diving preliminary competition as well on Thursday, and those results will be included in tonight’s championship race recap.