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Irish build momentum with strong weekend

Matt Puglisi | Monday, January 19, 2004

The men’s swimming and diving team continues to pick up momentum as the Irish (5-6) fell to No. 17 Pittsburgh, 228-123, but picked up a couple of victories against Maryland and Villanova, 201-140 and 282-51, respectively, this weekend in Pittsburgh.

“We tried to use our depth to our advantage, since that’s probably our biggest strength,” freshman Tim Kegelman said.

Highlighted by the 400-meter individual medley, where Notre Dame swimmers junior David Moison, sophomore Jaime Lutkus and freshman Ted Brown, respectively, swept the event’s top three spots, the Irish jumped out to comfortable leads against both the Terrapins and Wildcats.

A day after finishing first in the 100-meter butterfly, Kegelman helped seal the victories for the Irish with an event victory in the 200-meter butterfly Saturday. Brown finished off a strong meet with a victory in the 500-meter freestyle, and Lutkus turned in a trio of top-three finishes.

The 282 points and 231-point margin of victory against the Wildcats both set school records for the Irish, eclipsing previous marks set in a 234-66 throttling of Boston College in 1996.

After stumbling out of the gates to a 1-5 start, the Irish have posted four victories in their first five 2004 dual meets, losing only to the nationally-ranked, Big East powerhouse Panthers, winners of seven consecutive Big East titles.

“Overall, the team has just been improving a lot,” Kegelman said. “We lost a lot of close meets at the beginning of the year, but we’re starting to touch people out when we need to – that wasn’t happening at that beginning of the season.”

The Irish jump back in the pool Saturday when they travel to Northwestern to challenge the No. 15 Wildcats.

Behind four event victories by senior Marie Labosky, including three of Notre Dame’s six on the meet’s final day, the Irish women’s swimming and diving team (5-1) toppled Illinois, 197-173, at the Michigan Invitational over the weekend.

“The second and third sessions we needed to step up,” freshman Katie Carroll said. “We just needed to work more as a team and score not only first and second place points, but third and fourth, as well. Those points all add up.”

After winning the 200-meter individual medley on Friday, Labosky was even better on Saturday, taking the 400-meter individual medley and 200-meter backstroke in addition to teaming with freshmen Ann Barton, Carroll and Ellen Johnson on the victorious 800-meter freestyle relay team.

“Over the meet, I think we got progressively more into it,” Johnson said.

While the victory extends the Irish’s dual meet win streak to four, another impressive streak came to an end on Friday as senior Meghan Perry Eaton failed to win the 1-meter board for the first time this season.

However, Perry Eaton quickly rebounded from the setback with a school-record 335.85 to win the 3-meter board. In addition, Carroll won the 100-meter freestyle, and senior Lisa Garcia took the 200-meter butterfly to round out Saturday’s individual event victories for the Irish.