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Irish increase intensity for crucial dual meet

Anne Loughery | Friday, November 12, 2004

The Irish (3-1) are gearing up for what has been dubbed their most crucial dual meet of the season against No. 17 Pittsburgh and Michigan State.

In anticipation of today’s meet, coach Tim Welsh said the swimmers have intensified their workouts and are looking race-ready.

“If you ask the guys how practices have been this week, they’ll tell you they’ve been really hard,” Welsh said. “We need to outwork people who have beaten us so we can outrace them.”

Welsh said he expects close races in each event, especially in diving and distance freestyle events – traditionally competitive areas for the Irish.

“These teams are strong where we’re strong,” Welsh said. “We’ll have to be at our best in all events to win. I think we’ll see the fastest times of the fall from all three teams.”

Notre Dame showcased its talent last weekend, upending Iowa 176-118. Sophomore Ted Brown led the Irish with victories in the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races, finishing with times of 1 minute, 42.30 seconds and 4:35.46 respectively.

The 500-yard freestyle race featured a 1-2-3 finish, with Brown finishing first, junior Patrick Davis following up with a 4:36.63 and freshman Jay Vanden Berg close behind at 4:37.73.

Vanden Berg and sophomore Louis Cavadini each collected first-place finishes as well, with Vanden Berg clocking a 9:27.84 in the 1,000-yard freestyle and Cavadini registering a 46.68 in the 100-yard freestyle race.

Additionally, sophomore Tim Kegelman won the 200-yard butterfly with a 1:52.42 while freshman Andrew MacKay finished in first in the 200 individual medley with 1:53.83. The 200-free relay, which consisted of senior Frank Krakowski, junior Tim Randolph, Kegelman and Cavadini, added to the list of first-place Irish finishes.

The Irish swept the diving portion of the competition, as Iowa chose not to enter divers in the meet. Sophomore Scott Coyle claimed first place in the 3-meter competition with a career-best score of 321.45 and freshman Sam Stoner won the 1-meter competition with 307.65 points.

Michigan State (1-1) is looking to build on the momentum it gained after last weekend’s meet against Iowa. The Spartans defeated Iowa 164-125, claiming victories across the board.

Pittsburgh (2-0) also enters today’s meet fresh off a win over Syracuse 177-66. The undefeated Panthers garnered 12 first-place finishes against Syracuse. The team is looking for a Big East Championship again this season, after establishing itself as an annual champion in more recent years.

Although the Panthers’ reputation precedes them, the Irish aren’t intimidated.

“This is the strongest team we’ve ever had,” captain Matt Burtke said. “We might surprise some people this weekend.”

Welsh agreed.

“We have to keep out ultimate goals in sight and not get lost along the way,” Welsh said. “Swimming against Pitt is motivating – not intimidating.

“Bring it on. Let’s strap on our goggles and see who’s fastest.”

The Irish are set to host the meet today at 4:30 p.m. at the Rolf’s Aquatic Center.