Oct. 28, 2005
The University of Notre Dame women's swimming and diving team suffered a defeat in the first dual meet of the Carrie Nixon era, but the Irish battled one of the top teams in the nation to the final relay. California, making its first visit to the Rolfs Aquatic Center and facing Notre Dame in dual meet action for the first time, won Friday evening's meet 156.5 - 141.5 over the Irish (0-1). Notre Dame will turn around to face Purdue in dual meet action on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Irish won eight of the 16 events, led by a spectacular performance from junior Katie Carroll. Carroll won three events in the evening, one of which was a great 200 freestyle battle with California's Emily Silver. Both swimmers ended up touching the wall in a tie for first place, both setting the pool record in 1:48.79. Carroll's effort was also a school-record, a close to unheard of performance this early in the season. Carroll also won the 100 butterfly (55.59) and 400 individual medley (4:16.53). Her effort in the 200 free and 400 IM were both NCAA "B" cuts, putting her in contention for a spot in the NCAA Championship.
Notre Dame's freshman class represented itself well in its first Notre Dame dual meet. Casey Wagner won both distance freestyle events, taking the 1,000 free in 9:58.27 and the 500 free in 4:55.87.
Sophomore Tara Hyer won both diving events for the Irish, contributing valuable points toward the team total.
Notre Dame entered the final race of the night, the 400 freestyle relay, with a possibility of winning the meet with a one-two finish. California stepped up to win in 3:27.08, but Carroll closed the gap on the anchor leg to finish second in 3:28.80.
A complete meet recap follows -
The Irish began the meet with sophomore Caroline Johnson, junior Jessica Stephens, junior Ann Barton, and junior Rebecca Grove taking third in the 200-yard medley relay with a time of 1:46.11, less than a second shy of Notre Dame's top time last season (1:45.21 by Peterson, Stephens, Bouvron, and Carroll). Johnson swam a 26.84 on the opening backstroke leg, while Stephens, Barton, and Grove finished the solid performance.
Irish freshman teammates Casey Wagner and Claire Hutchinson posted a one-two finish in the 1000-yard freestyle. Wagner swam a 9:58.27, and Hutchinson posted a 10:06.54. Both swimmers beat last season's Irish best of 10:10.93 set by Abby Strang.
Notre Dame's strong opening performance continued when Katie Carroll set a new school record in the 200-yard freestyle. Carroll's time of 1:48.79 (an NCAA "B" time) beat the previous record of 1:49.20, set last season by Ellen Johnson. Carroll and California swimmer Emily Silver tied in the event, which also broke the previous pool record of 1:49.62 that had stood for nearly seven years.
Caroline Johnson took second in the 100-yard backstroke, posting a time of 56.98. She finished just shy of her team-best 55.52 from last season. She qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championships.
Jessica Stephens' 100-yard breaststroke time of 1:04.25 was good for second place at the meet. She improved upon her season-high 1:04.93 from last year. Julia Quinn took fourth with a 1:04.59. Both swimmers beat last season's team mark of 1:04.84, set by Courtney Choura.
Casey Wagner continued her solid performance by taking third in the 200-yard butterfly, posting a time of 2:04.19. Sophomores Kelly Battle and Katie Hopkins took fourth and fifth, respectively. Battle recorded a time of 2:05.85, while Hopkins posted a 2:07.35.
Freshman Christa Riggins put on a spectacular performance in the 50-yard freestyle, claiming first with a 24.07. She qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championships in her first career collegiate dual meet (the "A" qualifying time is 24.79). Caroline Johnson also qualified for the BIG EAST Championships with a 24.56 fourth-place finish.
Sophomore Tara Hyer started strong for the Irish in the diving competition, posting a first-place score of 248.32 points in the one-meter diving, less than five points below her personal 2004-2005 season-best 253.05. Her performance earned her a berth in the 2006 BIG EAST Championships. Hyer went on to sweep the diving events, posting a 232.66 winning score in the three-meter diving. Teammate Lucy Hirt finished second in the one-meter diving with a score of 218.02.
The Irish put up a fight in the 100-yard freestyle, with teammates Rebecca Grove and Christa Riggins capturing the third and fourth spots. Grove posted a 52.25, with Riggins right behind with a 52.30. Along with Caroline Johnson, who recorded a 53.43 (good for sixth), Grove and Riggins qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championships.
Irish teammates Ann Barton, Noemie Brand, and Kiley Gooch all qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championships with their performances in the 200-yard backstroke. Barton posted a 2:05.35, securing fourth. Brand recorded a 2:08.27, and Gooch recorded a 2:10.82. California senior Helen Silver set a new pool record with her first-place time of 1:58.79, an NCAA "B" qualifying time. The old pool record of 1:59.76 had stood for nearly eight years.
The Irish saw another pool record fall when freshman Jessica Hardy of California posted an NCAA "B" time of 2:16.67 in the 200 yard breaststroke. Hardy, who also holds the world record in the 100 meter breaststroke, was chased by Irish junior Jessica Stephens, who finished second with her own NCAA "B" time of 2:16.98. Irish teammates Julia Quinn and Katie Hopkins finished third and fifth, respectively. Quinn posted a 2:19.80, and Hopkins swam a 2:23.67. Stephens, Quinn, and Hopkins all qualified for the 2006 BIG EAST Championships. The previous pool record was 2:16.74, set in January 2002.
Irish swimmers captured three of the top five finishes in the 500-yard freestyle. Casey Wagner won with a 4:55.87, with junior Ellen Johnson finishing second with a 4:56.14. Claire Hutchinson finished fifth with a 5:02.49. Wagner, Johnson, and Hutchinson all posted BIG EAST "A" qualifying times and will compete in the BIG EAST 2006 Championships.
The Irish followed up with a strong team showing in the 100-yard butterfly. Junior Katie Carroll claimed first with a 55.59. Ann Barton finished fourth with a 57.79, while Kelly Battle recorded a fifth place time of 59.42. All three swimmers earned spots in the 2006 BIG EAST Championships.
Teammates Katie Carroll and Jessica Stephens finished one-two in the 400-yard individual medley. Carroll posted a time of 4:16.53, an NCAA "B" time (just 0.9 seconds shy of an automatic NCAA Championships bid) and a spot in the 2006 BIG EAST Championships. Stephens also qualified for the BIG EAST with a 4:24.53. Kelly Battle posted a 4:31.65, good for fifth place and a BIG EAST bid, and Katie Hopkins earned a BIG EAST bid with a 4:37.24.
In the final race of the evening, the Irish capped off a respectable performance with second- and third-place finishes in the 400-yard freestyle relay. The Irish team of Christa Riggins, Katie Guida, Rebecca Grove, and Katie Carroll captured second with a 3:28.80, while fellow Irish swimmers Ellen Johnson, Meghan Linnelli, Morgan Bullock, and Casey Wagner finished third with a 3:33.84.
California won the meet by a score of 156.5 to 141.5.
The Irish compete next at Purdue University on Saturday, October 29 (1:00 p.m.). The next Irish home meet is on Friday, November 11 (4:00 p.m.) against the University of Minnesota.