Feb. 17, 2001
The University of Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team won its fifth consecutive BIG EAST title Saturday at the 2001 BIG EAST Swimming and Diving Championships in Long Island, N.Y. The Irish finished with 672.5 points, outdistancing runner-up Virginia Tech, which finished with 482 points, and the other 11 teams in the field. Notre Dame ended up winning six individual titles and two relays in the meet. The 15th-ranked Irish held just an eight-point lead after day one, but were convincing in the following two days of competition. Notre Dame finished third in its first conference championship in 1996 but has won each BIG EAST title since then.
Irish head coach Bailey Weathers was named BIG EAST Swimming Coach of the Year for the fourth time in his six years at Notre Dame. Weathers holds a 53-14 dual-meet record since coming to South Bend and has won five consecutive BIG EAST championships. Over the past two seasons, Notre Dame is 20-1 in dual meets, the best record in a two-year span in the program’s history. Also, every mark in the Irish swimming and diving record book has been broken in the Weathers era.
Junior All-American Kelly Hecking (Rutherford, N.J.) completed an outstanding weekend in the pool by defending her title in the 200 backstroke in a time of 1:58.70. Senior Tiffany O’Brien (Redmond, Wash.) also swam well, finishing third. It was Hecking’s second individual title of the championships and she also was a member of two winning relay teams. In her career, Hecking has claimed 14 BIG EAST event championships — nine on relay teams and five individual titles.
First-year swimmers were impressive for the Irish, especially in the 200 butterfly, where Irish freshmen took the top three spots. Lisa D’Olier (Houston, Texas) won her second individual title of the meet with a time of 2:01.17, while Lisa Garcia (Denver, Colo.) and Sarah Bowman (Cheshire, Conn.) finished second and third respectively. D’Olier was also a member of two first-place relay teams this weekend.
Continuing Notre Dame’s relay success, the 400 freestyle relay team placed second but set a new school record with a time of 3:25.00. The team, consisting of Brooke Davey (Hopewell Junction, N.Y.), Danielle Hulick (Galesburg, Ill.), Liane Watkins (Austin, Texas) and Hecking, broke the record set at last year’s BIG EAST Championships by Hecking, Davey, Brenda Reilly (White Plains, N.Y.), and Laura Shepard of 3:25.74.
Freshman Marie Labosky (Churchville, Pa.) finished a strong meet, gaining second-place points in the 1,650 freestyle with a time of 16:32.30. Sophomore Nicole Kohrt (Granger, Ind.) was sixth in the event. Labosky previously won the 200 individual medley and set new Notre Dame records in both that event and the 400 IM.
Junior Allison Lloyd (Fort Wayne, Ind.), who won the 100 breaststroke on Friday, finished fourth in the 200 breaststroke to gain valuable points for the Irish. Laurie Musgrave (Littleton, Colo.) finished seventh in the event.
The Irish will return to action next weekend in the Shamrock Classic from Feb. 24-25 in the Rolfs Aquatic Center in the Joyce Center at Notre Dame.
Full results from all three days of the 2001 BIG EAST Championships can be obtained at http://www.bigeast.org/sports/swimming.