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ND WOMEN’S SWIMMING: Gophers not so golden at meet

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 14, 2005

The Irish women are starting to find their rhythm as Notre Dame won its second consecutive meet, defeating Minnesota 163-135 Friday. The win evens out Notre Dame’s record at 2-2 on the season, but more importantly, it was the first home victory for first-year head coach Carrie Nixon.

“It’s definitely a big deal,” Nixon said. “It’s the first one in this new era. It’s always fun to win at home in front of your friends and your roommates and all the people that cheer you on every day.”

The Irish turned in their most impressive performance of the season, winning 11 out of 16 events, even better than the eight of 13 events Notre Dame won against Pittsburgh the previous week.

Junior Katie Carroll, whose three wins pushed her season victory total to 10, once again led the Irish.

Carroll set two new school records as she bested the previous mark in the 200 freestyle, which she set two weeks ago against California, by .06 seconds, as well as setting a new record in the 100 butterfly with a time of 55.28.

Nixon has been impressed with the performance of her junior swimmer.

“She has really developed into a great leader,” Nixon said. “She has taken on the challenge of making this team better each and every time she gets in the water.”

While Carroll’s performance was undoubtedly a good sign for the Irish, a better sign was the strong effort turned in across the board for Notre Dame.

Rebecca Grove, Julia Quinn and Jessica Stephens all won multiple events in Friday’s meet, giving the Irish reason to think they will be well represented when the NCAA championships come calling.

“Some of our girls have a good chance to make the NCAAs in December,” Nixon said.

While the NCAAs will be a major focus for Notre Dame in the near future, the Irish now turn their focus to this week’s Minnesota Invitational.

Among others, the Irish will face the same Minnesota team they just defeated, and they have plenty of confidence entering the meet.

“This past meet was a great momentum builder,” Nixon said. “We go into this week with a chance to fine-tune some things, and we’re going to use this meet as a stepping stone.”