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Illness factor in last-place finish

Matt Puglisi | Monday, November 24, 2003

The women’s swimming and diving team battled but was unable to overcome an ongoing rash of illness as the No. 19 Irish (4-1) finished last in the seven-team field at the Texas A&M Invitational this past weekend.”It was kind of a tough weekend for us,” head coach Bailey Weathers said. “We got to swim a lot of races, but we left a lot of kids at home and those that were [at the meet] are still getting over [the illness].”The Irish struggled on Friday, managing only a pair of ninth-place finishes. Seniors Danielle Hulick and Lisa Garcia and freshmen Katie Carroll and Ellen Johnson took ninth in the 200-meter freestyle relay with a time of 1:47.77, finishing just over five seconds behind first place UCLA (1:42.57). Carroll recorded the other ninth-place finish in the 200-meter IM (2:16.20), nearly four seconds behind Texas A&M event-winner Rebecca Sturdy (2:12.30). On Saturday, undefeated senior Meghan Perry-Eaton stole the show again for the Irish, winning the one and three-meter diving events with scores of 294.25 and 511.00, respectively.Carroll also swam to a fifth-place finish in the 100-meter butterfly (1:02.31), and senior Lisa Garcia took twelfth (1:02.97) in the same event. Carroll finished up a strong weekend meet on Sunday, finishing ninth in the 100-meter freestyle (58.00), and contributed along with freshman Ann Barton, Garcia and Johnson to an eighth-place Irish finish in the 800-meter freestyle relay (8:21.80). “As a team, we rested a lot before the meet and I had that extra energy saved up,” Carroll said. “It was my first big invitational so I was already pumped up, and the adrenaline just kept rolling for me.”According to Carroll, Notre Dame’s last-place finish isn’t indicative of the team’s overall skill level.”This was a shave and taper meet for a lot of the teams,” Carroll said. “We used this meet more as a chance to get our feet wet and get used to the big crowds.”All in all, the Irish were forced to leave eleven competitors at home and are anxiously awaiting a return to full strength.”It probably will take through the end of this week before we’re all healthy again,” Weathers said. “All the traveling doesn’t make it any easier.”The Irish return to action Dec. 4 when they host the three-day Notre Dame Invitational.