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ND WOMEN’S SWIMMING: Carroll is off to strong start in junior season

Joe Meixell | Wednesday, November 9, 2005

After its dual meet victory over Pittsburgh last weekend, the women’s swimming and diving team has many reasons to feel confident about its prospects for the rest of the season. And one of the Irish’s biggest sources of confidence is the performance of junior swimmer Katie Carroll.

Carroll has not just been swimming – she burst out of the gate this season, taking first place in seven events in only three meets so far this fall. This includes setting a new school record in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:48.79.

Two of her top times, the 1:48.79 in the 200 freestyle and a 4:16.53 in the 400 individual medley, are considered NCAA ‘B’ cut times, which put her in contention to qualify for the NCAA championships for the third consecutive year.

Carroll is quick to credit her new coaching staff, especially head coach Carrie Nixon, a former swimming standout at Notre Dame, for helping her to get off to such a good start this season.

“A lot of it has to do with the new coaching staff,” Carroll said. “Now that Carrie’s our head coach, she’s doing things her own way, and what she’s doing will really benefit both myself and the whole team.”

Carroll’s early success this season should come as no surprise, given her strong finish to the 2004 campaign. She was named the Most Outstanding Swimmer of the Big East Championships along with an impressive performance at the NCAA championships.

Carroll finished ninth in the 200 individual medley, a 13-spot improvement from her freshman year, and 14th in the 400 individual medley, a 21-spot improvement from her freshman year.

“The NCAA’s really gave me a confidence boost last year,” she said. “It really helped me seeing that I was able to compete with swimmers across the nation at that high a level.”

Not one to rest on last year’s accomplishments, Carroll still has a few things she hopes to accomplish with the remainder of this season.

“I want to help the team win the Big East this year, but I think we have goals beyond that,” Carroll said. “We have a lot of girls on the brink of qualifying for the NCAA’s this year, and with the training we’ve had so far, I think we can get them to the NCAA’s.”

Carroll, who posted a pair of top-30 results in the 2004 Olympic trials, also isn’t ruling out the possibility of an Olympic appearance.

“2008 [Olympic Games] is a goal in the back of my head, but I’m just taking it one year at a time,” she said. “Right now, my focus is on this season and helping Notre Dame as much as I can.”