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No. 21 Irish test depth

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 22, 2004

Facing Bowling Green, the No. 21 Irish had more on their mind than just coming away with a victory. The team wanted to test its own depth, racing some swimmers who were lower on the depth chart and pushing their strongest swimmers to focus on their third and sometimes, fourth, events. That being said, the Irish took care of business this weekend, traveling to Bowling Green and winning 189-112 over the winless Falcons, improving their record to 4-2.

Freshman Caroline Johnson led the onslaught for the Irish, winning three events over the weekend. She won the 50-yard freestyle and the 200-yard backstroke, an impressive feat considering she had never before raced in those events for the Irish. In the latter event, the Irish took the top three spots, with senior Kristen Peterson and freshman Morgan Bullock touching the wall after Johnson.

“I was really pleased with [Caroline’s] swims,” Irish coach Bailey Weathers said. “Her swim in the 200-free was real helpful for us, and it makes [our other freestylers] more flexible.”

Johnson also swam the backstroke leg of the 200-medley relay. She was joined on that team by freshman Natalie Burke, junior Christel Bouvron and sophomore Krissy Archer.

Sophomore Ann Barton led two dominating Irish performances, leading the way for the Irish to take the top four spots in the 100-yard backstroke and setting the pace for a 1-2-3 finish in the 400-meter individual medley. Sophomore Ellen Johnson, freshman Noemie Brand and sophomore Kiley Gooch finished behind Barton in the backstroke, and Barton’s sister and senior co-captain Kelli finished in second and freshman Laura Stafford finished third in the Individual Medley.

Ellen Johnson led yet another medal sweep for the Irish, winning the 100-yard freestyle, trailed by sophomore Jessica Stephens and freshman Kayla Graham. Johnson also won the 200-yard freestyle, winning the event by more than two seconds with a time of 1 minute, 53:39 seconds.

Stephens did not come away from the meet without a victory, however, taking first place in the 100-meter breaststroke. The win gives her 10 for the season, tying her for first place with Ellen Johnson among Irish swimmers.

In the 200-meter breaststroke, senior co-captain Georgia Healey won the event with a time of 2:26:04.

On the diving board, senior Meghan Perry-Eaton continued her dominance this season, winning both the 1-meter and 3-meter events easily. The victories give her 11 out of 12 in the events she has entered.

Weathers is optimistic for his team after the strong performances of swimmers who haven’t always led the charge in the pool.

“We’ve hoped from the start to have a lot of people to help us and that’s come to light for us,” he said.