ND Swimming: Eight swimmers race in NCAAs
Greg Arbogast | Friday, March 9, 2007
They already made history this season by winning a conference-record 11th consecutive Big East title, but the Irish will try to rewrite the record books once again this weekend at the NCAA Championships in Minneapolis.
The most participants the Irish ever sent to the NCAA Championships was nine in 2002, when Notre Dame sent eight swimmers – including current Irish coach Carrie Nixon – and one diver. That team accumulated 52 points on its way to 19th place – the program’s highest finish at the NCAAs except for 2000, when the Irish finished 18th.
Notre Dame will send eight swimmers to the Championships this year, but the Irish failed to qualify a diver at last weekend’s Zone C Diving Championships. Only 15 schools are sending more participants than the Irish this year.
“Our team is different this year, and the fact that we have more people going changes our demeanor and our confidence,” Nixon said after the Big East championships. “The more girls you have going, the more emphasis you place on the Big East meet. The amount of girls going is the biggest difference between this year and previous years.”
Leading the way for Notre Dame will be senior captain Katie Carroll. Carroll is making her fourth consecutive appearance at the NCAAs, with her best result coming in 2005 when she finished 6th in the 400 individual medley – good enough to earn All-America honors.
Carroll will have three chances to earn All-America honors this year, and her best chance appears to be in the 400 individual medley. Her time of 4:14.99 has her ranked 12th nationally in the event, and she also enters this weekends meet ranked 16th nationally in 200 butterfly.
Another Irish swimmer familiar with the NCAA Championships is senior Julia Quinn, who will be making her third appearance at the meet but only her second with Notre Dame. Quinn qualified as a sophomore at the University of Minnesota. This year, she enters the championships ranked No. 33 in the 100 breaststroke and No. 73 in the 200 IM.
The final returning member of Notre Dame’s squad is sophomore Claire Hutchinson, who is ranked 25th nationally in the 1,650 freestyle.
Filling out the squad for the Irish will be first-time participants Megan Farrell, Rebecca Grove, Caroline Johnson, Ellen Johnson and Christa Riggins.
“It’s a special time, and we’re very excited to have our second biggest group going,” Nixon said. “It’s the culmination of your career to get to [the NCAA Championships], and it’s very important to perform well there.”