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Swimming: Irish look to overcome early season struggles

Joe Meixell | Friday, November 7, 2003

While it’s still early in the season, the Irish are already looking to get back on track.

The women’s swimming and diving team hopes to improve upon its 1-1 mark in dual meets when the Irish host the Panthers at 4:30 p.m. this afternoon.

“In the past, [Pittsburgh] has always been a strong team,” senior diver Meghan Perry-Eaton said. “They’re one of our toughest competitors in conference, which means a lot to us.”

The Irish enter the meet after falling to the Hoosiers 176-124 last Thursday. Despite individual victories by Ann Barton (200-yard backstroke), Katie Carroll (100-yard butterfly), Brooke Taylor (200-yard butterfly) and Perry-Eaton (one- and three-meter diving), Notre Dame was unable to top Indiana and earn its second dual meet victory.

“In general, the team swam well, but we just got touched out,” Perry-Eaton said. “There were a lot of events with close finishes, and when it’s the same team that keeps getting it, it adds ups.”

On Oct. 23, the Irish triumphed over the University of Tampa, 158-114.

Perry-Eaton believes that a strong sense of team unity will be key to the Irish claiming the Big East title for the eighth consecutive year.

“We’re really close as a team,” Perry-Eaton said. “When you have the support of your teammates and you’re all working for a common goal, it keeps your adrenaline up and gives you that extra drive you might need.”

Ultimately, the Irish realize that resolve will go a long way over the course of the season.

“It’s a long year, and we just need to be stay consistent and positive,” Perry-Eaton said. “It helps to know that the team and coaches are behind you. It really has an unbelievable benefit.”

The men’s swimming and diving team looks to record its first dual meet victory when the Irish (0-2 in dual meets) challenge the Spartans tonight at 5 p.m.

“Michigan State improved dramatically last year,” Irish men’s coach Tim Welsh said. “We expect a very competitive meet, and there will be a lot of close races that we need to win.”

On Oct. 21, the Irish fell to North Carolina 183.5-111.5 in the first of a two-meet fall break road trip to the East Coast. Four swimmers recorded first place finishes against North Carolina, including Ted Brown (200-yard individual medley),Tim Randolph (100-yard breaststroke), Frank Krakowski (50-yard freestyle) and Tim Kegelman (100-yard butterfly).

Two days later, Notre Dame dropped a second decision against North Carolina State, 139-98. Patrick Heffernan (200-yard butterfly) and Brown (500-yard freestyle) turned in event victories in the loss.

While the two losses would imply otherwise, according to Welsh, the meets were anything but a negative experience

“They really challenged us, and we raced at a higher level than ever before in October,” Welsh said. “As a young team, the trip was very profitable, and we learned a ton.”

With a 29-man squad that includes 21 freshmen and sophomores, gaining experience and continuing to develop will be instrumental for the Irish this season.

“Our key to success this year will be improvement,” Welsh said. “If we do the right things, the scoreboard will take care of itself. We’re not where we want to be right now, but I’m already seeing signs that it’s on the way.”