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ND SWIMMING: Swimmers, divers perform under pressure

Greg Arbogast | Monday, December 4, 2006

Competing alongside some of the top college teams in the country as well as several Olympic athletes, No. 20 Notre Dame finished in third place this weekend at the U.S. Open

Held at the Boilermaker Aquatic Center in West Lafayette, Ind., the Irish tallied 89 points to finish behind Open champion Auburn (427 points) and Florida (266).

Notre Dame was led by senior Katie Carroll who finished ninth in the 200 freestyle with (2:03.75) and 17th in the 200 butterfly (2:12.73). Carroll was also part of the Irish 400 medley relay team that included senior Julia Quinn, sophomore Christa Riggins and junior Caroline Johnson, which finished fourth at 4:20.33.

Freshman Stacey Nerud turned in her best performance of the season, finishing second in the 200 individual medley. Nerud’s second place effort was the highest finish for any Irish swimmer over the weekend.

While the majority of the team competed in West Lafayette, the Notre Dame divers competed in Columbus at The Ohio State Invitational.

The Irish had three divers place within the top-20 in one-meter diving. Natalie Stitt (11th), Lucy Hirt (15th) and Tiffany Robak (16th) all turned in solid performances for Notre Dame.

The Irish men also traveled to Ohio State this weekend, coming home with a third-place finish out of 11 teams. Notre Dame accumulated 601 points over the three days, finishing behind only No. 7 Minnesota, who won with 1193 points, and host Ohio State (749.5).

Freshman MacKenzie LeBlanc posted the highlight performance for the Irish as he won the 200 butterfly in a pool-record time of 1:48.36. Sophomore Daniel Rave also turned in a strong performance in the 200 breaststroke as he took fourth place with a time of 2:02.97.

Notre Dame posted seven top-five finishes in all, including junior Jay Vanden Berg, senior Louis Cavadini, sophomore Sam Pendergast and senior Alan Carter.

Neither men’s coach Tim Welsh nor women’s coach Carrie Nixon could be reached for comment Sunday evening.