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ND WOMEN’S SWIMMING AND DIVING: Perry-Eaton staying on track

Mike Tennant | Tuesday, February 8, 2005

It’s been an adventurous and successful journey for senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton, but this All-American is not ready to throw in the towel just yet.As the regular season draws to a close, Perry-Eaton comes face to face with one more conference championship and then a final chance to make waves in the NCAA championships. Since coming to Notre Dame five years ago, Perry-Eaton has battled through injuries to become the most accomplished diver in Irish history. She currently holds all four school records in diving, and was named the Big East Championship’s Most Outstanding Diver for the past two years. She won the conference title for the one-meter board in 2003, becoming the first diver from a school other than the University of Miami to take a Big East title since 1996. Last year, Perry-Eaton dominated the competition, claiming victories off both the one and three-meter boards, each by more than 40 points.In her junior year, Perry-Eaton was named honorable mention All-America after finishing ninth in the NCAA Championships in the one-meter competition. Last year, she finished third in the event, just a mere 3.30 points away from a national title. Her road has not been pain-free, though.Perry-Eaton was originally a swimmer, until, at the age of 13, she decided that diving would fit her personality better than swimming laps in a pool. The converted diver became a three-time diving All-American in high school, and qualified for U.S. nationals three times.But upon coming to Notre Dame as a freshman, the Brandon, Fla., native competed in only two events before suffering a season-ending injury.The diver refused to get down, and completed an intense rehabilitation process, to return to the pool her sophomore year. She was granted another year of eligibility because of the injury, and is now looking to make the most of the extra chance she was given. Since then, the fifth-year senior has earned an undergraduate degree in aerospace engineering, and is currently working on a masters in mechanical engineering. This season, Perry-Eaton has won 17 of the 18 competitions she has entered, and is 9-0 in three-meter diving. She has not been beaten off the higher board in a dual meet since November of 2002, claiming victory in 21 consecutive competitions. The fifth-year senior currently owns six of the top nine scores in three-meter diving in Irish history, and holds the Big East record on the one-meter board. After missing last summer’s Olympic Diving Trials because of a broken foot, the five-time all-conference diver now has her sights set on a top-three finish off of both boards at this year’s NCAA Championships. She is particularly motivated to do well in the three-meter competition after never placing in the top-20 at the national level.Perry-Eaton and the rest of the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving team will take center stage at the Big East Championships, scheduled for Feb. 16-19. Then all eyes will turn to the NCAA Championships, set for March 17-19 in West Lafayette, Ind.