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Familiar waters prove friendly for Irish

Matt Puglisi | Monday, December 8, 2003

What a weekend for Irish swimming and diving.

The men’s squad (2,259.5) dominated the 12-team field at the Notre Dame Invitational, finishing 710 points ahead of second-place Harvard (1,549.5), while the No. 19 women (1,284) took five of Saturday’s seven events to rally from a 162-point deficit to overtake Bowling Green (1,187.5) and win the 15-school meet.

The invitational victory marked the third consecutive year that the men have won the annual event, as well as the sixth time in the last nine years.

The Irish got off to a quick start Thursday, winning the 200-yard freestyle relay – with freshmen Tim Kegelman and Louis Cavadini, sophomore Tim Randolph and junior Frank Krakowski in the event – and jumping out to a 256-point advantage by day’s end.

In addition to the 200-yard freestyle relay team, sophomore Jaime Lutkus also took home a first-place finish in the 200-yard individual medley.

On Friday, a relay team once again set the tone for the Irish, as the 200-yard medley squad (Kegelman, Randolph, sophomore Doug Bauman and Krakowski) not only won the night’s opening event, but also recorded a meet record with a time of one minute, 32.62 seconds in the process. Minutes later, junior David Moisan broke yet another record, winning the 400-yard individual medley (3:57.62) and setting both an event and pool best.

The 800-yard freestyle relay team (freshmen Brian Freeman and Ted Brown, junior Matt Bertke and senior Matt Obringer) chipped in with a first-place finish to conclude Friday’s events.

While sophomore Tyler Grenda (200-yard breaststroke) supplied the only Irish event victory Saturday, Notre Dame had little difficulty in securing the meet.

Despite employing a limited team this weekend due to illness and academic obligations, the Irish demonstrated tremendous heart in rallying to take the meet.

“The first two days our whole team didn’t swim, so coming into the meet on Saturday we knew that we were behind and that we had to rise up to the challenge,” freshman Katie Carroll said. “We knew we could do it, it was just a matter of if we really wanted to and if we had the heart to do it.”

After senior Meghan Perry-Eaton’s event victory in three-meter diving helped land Notre Dame in third place behind Bowling Green and West Virginia, respectively, at the end of Thursday’s action, the Irish used a pair of first-place finishes by Carroll (400-yard individual medley) and senior Lisa Garcia (100-yard butterfly) as well as an event victory by the 800-yard freestyle relay team of Carroll, Garcia, freshman Ann Barton and junior Georgia Healey Friday to claw its way into second place and set the scene for a comeback victory on the invitational’s final day.

After spending most of the meet looking up, the Irish were finally able to surpass the Falcons with an impressive 1-2-3 finish by Carroll, Garcia and junior Brooke Taylor, respectively, in the 200-yard butterfly.

Perry-Eaton took the one-meter board to preserve her undefeated mark in the diving events this year, and Barton (200-yard backstroke), freshman Ellen Johnson (100-yard freestyle), Carroll (200-yard butterfly) and the 400-yard freestyle relay team (Carroll, Johnson, freshman Kristina Archer and junior Katie Eckholt) all contributed with first-place finishes.

“It was nice to come in first and second in some events, but the points also mattered when people came in third and fourth,” Carroll said. “We couldn’t afford to get touched out, and that’s what we worked on, and it showed.”

The men return to action on Jan. 9 in Mission Viejo, Calif., for holiday competition, whereas the women jump back in the pool Jan. 5 to challenge Army in San Juan, Puerto Rico.