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ND WOMEN’S SWIMMING: No. 25 Irish gain momentum for Big East, defeat Grizzlies

Mike Tennant | Monday, February 7, 2005

The No. 25 Irish are holding their heads high after beating undefeated Oakland University Saturday, giving the Grizzlies their first loss since the last time the two teams met.

Notre Dame won 11 of the 16 events en route to a 163.5-134.5 victory, all without the help of senior All-American Meghan Perry-Eaton. Perry-Eaton had stayed behind to catch up on work missed while she was on a job interview, said head coach Bailey Weathers.

“We had some good swims,” Weathers said. “It wasn’t as exciting or intense a meet as say a Michigan, but it was good for the kids to have the challenge [of Perry-Eaton not being there].”

The Grizzlies jumped out to an early lead after taking the first event, but by the end of the third race, the Irish would reclaim the lead and never look back.

Oakland tied the meet at 74.5 after eight events, but the Irish responded by winning seven of the final eight to close out the victory.

Leading the way for the Irish was junior Christel Bouvron, who won three separate events for the Irish.

Bouvron, a two-time Olympian for her native Singapore, took first in the 200 and 500-yard freestyle races, as well as in the 100-yard butterfly.

The junior set season-best times for the Irish in both freestyle events, with times of 1 minute, 54.04 seconds in the 200 and 5:05.42 in the 500-yard event.

Freshman Caroline Johnson won two events for Notre Dame, claiming victory in the 100-yard backstroke and the 100-yard freestyle.

Johnson won both events by roughly one second and now owns all of Notre Dame’s top nine times in the 100-yard backstroke.

Sophomore Katie Carroll also won two events, taking the title in both individual medleys. Carroll won the 400-yard race by more than four seconds and won the 200 by 3.5 seconds, giving her all top three times by the Irish this season in the event.

Also claiming victories on Saturday were sophomore Jessica Stephens in the 200 breaststroke, sophomore Ellen Johnson in the 200 backstroke, and freshman Katie Guida, who won the 50 freestyle by a slim .14 seconds.

The team is off now until the Big East Championships, scheduled for Feb. 16-19 in East Meadow, N.Y. The Irish will be looking to win their ninth straight conference championship, dating back to 1995-96, their inaugural season in the Big East.

Weathers is confident his team will be up to the challenge.

“I think we’re at a stage we need to be at,” he said.