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ND dominates Iowa for first win ever against the Hawkeyes

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 8, 2004

This weekend, the Irish finished the job.

After coming one relay win short on a bid to upset No. 22 Brigham Young last weekend, a team the Irish have never defeated, the Irish (3-1) dominated Iowa 176-118 Saturday.

It was the first victory in a dual meet against a Big Ten opponent since 2002 and the its first ever against Iowa. Using commanding performances in the freestyle events to set the tone, the Irish leapt to an early lead that they never relinquished.

“It was a big win for us,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “Our distance freestyle [races] still continued to lead the way, but the difference in the meet was that all our freestyle races were strong.”

Sophomore Ted Brown led the way for the Irish with victories in both the 200 and 500-yard freestyle races. Brown won the 200-meter freestyle for the third meet in a row, with a time of 1 minute, 42.30 seconds, and he later led a 1-2-3 finish for the Irish in the 500-meter freestyle, winning with a time of 4:35.46.

“Our depth has been a key to our success this season, and it really showed this past weekend as we were able to distance ourselves from Iowa in the freestyle events,” Brown said. “Each meet, we’ve had different swimmers step up and help us get the job done.”

Notre Dame outscored Iowa 82-30 in the freestyle events as the 50-yard freestyle was the only freestyle race in which the Hawkeyes managed to snatch away a first-place finish from the Irish. The team took 1-2-3 finishes in the 200-meter freestyle, the 500-meter freestyle and took all four top spots in the 100 free.

Sophomore Louis Cavadini won the 100 free with a time of 46.68, while senior Frank Krakowski took second in 47.04. Sophomore Nick Fanslau took third with a time of 47.29 and junior Tim Randolph completed the sweep with a time of 47.90.

“One important feature that’s emerging is that we’re able to sustain our consistency across the full program of events,” Welsh said. “We’ve been talking about being focused from start to finish, and we’re improving in our ability to do that.”

Notre Dame also received strong victories in the 200-meter butterfly and 200-meter individual medley. Sophomore Tim Kegelman won the 200-meter butterfly with a time of 1:52.42 and freshman Andrew MacKay took first in the 200-meter individual medley with a time of 1:53.83.

“The key to us was that we’ve improved,” Welsh said. “We’ve improved from our first meet against Evansville to our meet last Friday against Iowa. That’s true for the divers, and that’s true for the swimmers.”

The Hawkeyes failed to enter any divers in the meet, and the Irish still took advantage as they picked up valuable points in the 3-meter and 1-meter diving events. Sophomore Scott Coyle took first in the 3-meter competition with a career-best score of 321.45, and freshman Sam Stoner took second with a score of 291.37. Stoner won the 1-meter competition with a score of 307.65.

“The good news for us was that we were able to win the swimming events as well as the diving events,” Welsh said. “So we like that balance. The divers, in particular, from last week at Utah to this week at Iowa [had] a terrific improvement. All five of the divers had a very good meet.”

The win was the first victory for the Irish over a Big Ten opponent since a home win against Michigan State on Nov. 8, 2002. In their first meeting with Iowa last season, the Irish fell victim to the Hawkeyes and lost by 55 points.

“It was good for us,” Welsh said. “But it’s been a while. We don’t beat Big Ten teams on a very regular basis.”

Notre Dame takes to the water again Friday with a tough triangular home meet against No. 17 Pittsburgh, Big East Champions for the last eight years, and Michigan State, a team that beat the Irish last year.

“This will be our toughest competition of the fall,” Welsh said. “We are a work in progress, and this is a season in progress so nothing ends here. It’s part of the progression. The most important thing to us is that we’ve gotten faster and that we’re improving.”