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ND tries to boil water at Purdue

Mike Tennant | Friday, February 25, 2005

Several Irish swimmers will head to Purdue this weekend for the Boiler-Make-It Invitational.

The meet is primarily an end-of the-year hurrah for a number of younger swimmers, head coach Bailey Weathers said.

“For kids that didn’t get to go to Big East, this is kind of their big meet,” Weathers said.

But the meet could also serve as a stepping stone for two swimmers in particular. Sophomore Jessica Stephens and freshman Caroline Johnson will both participate this weekend with the hopes of posting better times before the NCAA Championships approach March 17-19.

“We’re trying to see if we can improve their times in terms of getting them to the NCAA’s,” Weathers said. “We think they need to be a little faster.”

Both swimmers have already posted NCAA “B” cuts, meaning they will be considered for the NCAA’s, but only the faster “A” cuts are guaranteed spots in the championships.

Stephens posted “B” cuts in the 200-yard individual medley and the 200 breaststroke, while Johnson posted “B” cuts in the 50-yard freestyle, the 100 backstroke and the 100 freestyle.

Both swimmers had good meets last week in East Meadow, N.Y., and were named All-Big East.

Stephens won the 200 backstroke and was a member of the title-winning 400 medley relay team. Johnson did not take any individual titles, but was a member of all four of the Irish championship relay teams. She was the first or second swimmer in the 400-yard medley and the 200, 400 and 800-yard freestyle relay teams. The 800-yard freestyle team even set a school record last week.

Also swimming in the meet will be a number of younger swimmers who did not get a chance to compete in East Meadow.

Raine Paulson-Andrews, a freshman, is a member of the national swim team in her native Jamaica.

She participated in the Pan American Games and achieved All-America status in the 50-yard freestyle as well as in the 200- and 400-yard freestyle relays.

Sophomore Krissy Archer was a co-recipient of the Beeler-Hipp Award, presented to an outstanding freshmen in honor of Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hip, both of whom were killed their freshman year. Archer is primarily a sprint-freestyle swimmer.

The meet will contain mostly Big Ten schools, such as Michigan State and Northwestern.

The closest competition will most likely be the host school – Purdue.

“They’ll be the toughest since they should have a lot more kids than we do,” Weathers said.

The meet will begin at 11 am Saturday in West Lafayette, and will continue Sunday at 11 am.