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ND Women’s Swimming: Carroll and Eaton earn All-American honors

Joe Meixell | Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Add two more Irish All-Americans to the list.

Sophomore swimmer Katie Carroll and fifth-year senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton both earned All-American honors this weekend at the NCAA Championships at Purdue University. Led by the two, Notre Dame finished the weekend with 32 points and a 22nd place team finish, the third highest in Notre Dame history.

Perry-Eaton ended a historic diving career at the University by taking fifth place off the one-meter springboard, earning her All-American honors. She also finished a career-best 15th off the three-meter board, earning honorable mention All-American status in the event.

“I knew it was my last outing and I wanted to be happy with it no matter what,” she said.

This was the second year in a row that Perry-Eaton was named an All-American, finishing third in one-meter action last season.

“I really wanted to be in the top three at least,” the five-time Big East Champion said. “But All American is a pretty neat thing to say.”

In the pool, Carroll finished sixth in the 4 -00-yard individual medley, earning her All-American status. Her time of 4:13.56 broke her own school yards record and put her nine seconds behind the champion, Auburn’s Kristy Coventry, a gold medalist in the Athens Olympics.

It was also the second-best performance ever by an Irish swimmer in the NCAA Championship meet, behind only Carrie Nixon’s fourth place finish in the 2000 50-yard freestyle.

Carroll was seeded 19th going into the event, and became the fifth Irish swimmer ever to earn All-American honors. She was an honorable mention All-American last year after a 14th place finish in the same event.

The sophomore also finished 14th this year in the 200-yard IM, earning another honorable mention accolade.

While there was the usual amount of pressure that goes along with a championship event, this year’s was different for Perry-Eaton, who was competing for the last time as a Notre Dame student-athlete.

“It seemed like I was putting most of the pressure on myself,” she said. “I felt a lot of pressure to finish with a bang.”

Perry-Eaton’s bang may not have been as loud as she wanted, but it was still a fitting ending to her historic Notre Dame career.

Her final point score of 303 in the one-meter event was only 24 behind champion Qiong Jie Huang from Hawaii, and was good enough to beat Indiana’s Christina Loukas who had bested Perry-Eaton in the Zone C Championships last week.

The only higher finishes by an Irish competitor were Perry-Eaton’s third place finish last year off the lower board and Nixon’s 2000 finish.

Now an assistant with the team, Nixon played a key supporting role for Perry-Eaton.

“She stayed with me during all my events,” Perry-Eaton said. “Usually divers feel like they’re all alone out there, and I had never had that [close support] before.

Also competing over the weekend was junior Christel Bouvron, who finished 41st in the 100-yard butterfly and then 22nd in the 200-yard version of the swim.

While it was still a bittersweet meet in some respects, it will be memorable for all the Irish competitors involved.

“It was easy to focus on what was good … in the end it was a lot of fun,” Perry-Eaton said.