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Women’s swimming: Notre Dame earns spot in Big East History

Greg Arbogast | Monday, February 19, 2007

The Irish have earned a spot in Big East history.With a 758-530 victory over Rutgers, Notre Dame won its 11th consecutive Big East championship and became the first program in the conference to win 11 consecutive titles in any sport. Before this weekend, the Irish shared the record with the Pittsburgh men’s swimming and diving program, which won 10 straight titles between 1983-92.”It shows what a dominant force we’ve been in the Big East for 11 years,” Irish coach Carrie Nixon said. “After how close last year’s championships were, dominating the way we did this year really sent a message to the rest of the conference that we’re not going away anytime soon.” The result was never in doubt as Notre Dame led wire-to-wire during the course of the four-day meet. The Irish won six events in addition to garnering 12 NCAA consideration times and setting two school records.Leading the way for Notre Dame was senior captain Katie Carroll, who finished first in both the 500-freestyle and 400 IM. Carroll was also part of the victorious 200 and 800-meter-freestyle relay teams. With those victories, she brought her career Big East championship win total to 15, and she was also named the Big East Most Outstanding Swimmer for the second time in her career.Nixon gushed with praise when describing her captain.”Irreplaceable is probably the word I would use [to describe Carroll],” Nixon said. “She’s taken us to a whole new level. She’s been a leader and a competitor from the day she’s walked in, and I hope the younger girls learn a lot from here.”One underclassman already learning from Carroll is freshman Ashley Edgell. On Friday night, Edgell touched the wall first in the 200-meter IM with an NCAA “B” cut time of 2:02.08, and she also earned All-Big East honors in the 400 meter IM. “It was a nice changing of the guard,” Nixon said. “Ashley [Edgell] did a great job, and winning an event as a freshman is a special accomplishment. She’s worked very hard this year, so we were thrilled for her.”While the Big East title was one goal for the Irish, the team now has larger tasks ahead. With the NCAA Championships only three weeks away, Notre Dame will resume training in preparation for the biggest meet of the year.”It’s the culmination of your career to get [to the NCAA Championships], and it’s very important to perform well there,” Nixon said. “It’s going to be important for our recruiting, for our confidence, and it will give us a chance to break onto the scene nationally.”With Carroll, Claire Hutchinson, Julia Quinn and the members of the 800-meter freestyle relay team as virtual locks to compete in the NCAA Championships, Notre Dame will be sending more girls than ever to the event. That, more than anything else, has Nixon confident about her team’s potential at this year’s meet.”Having more girls going is the big difference between this year’s team and last year’s,” Nixon said. “The more girls you have going, the more emphasis you place on the NCAAs and the more confidence it gives you.”