ND MEN’S SWIMMING: Swimmers excel on the road
Rama Gottumukkala RAMA GOTTUMUKKALA RAMA GOTTUMUKKALA RAMA GOTTUMUKKALA RAMA GOTTUMUKKALA Rama Gottu | Monday, February 7, 2005
Once again the Irish made themselves right at home in an opponent’s pool.
Posting a win on the road for the fourth straight time, the men’s swimming and diving team had no problems sweeping past Oakland University (2-4).
Notre Dame (10-2) won 10 of the first 12 events on Saturday and cruised to a 177-107 victory at the OU Aquatics Center.
“We’ve had some good success on the road these last few weeks,” head coach Tim Welsh said.
“We think that it’s important to win on the road because our championship meet is on the road. So everything this year has been both its own meet and also preparation for the bigger meet at the end.”
The Irish took an early lead and never looked back, building a 60-14 advantage after four events, extending it to an insurmountable 177-50 lead through 12 events. After building their 127-point lead, the Irish swam as exhibition competitors for the rest of the meet.
“I must say, to be fair, that this is not a typical Oakland team,” Welsh said.
“They are down this year, and they’ll be back next year. But the results for us were wonderful starting at the very beginning.”
Notre Dame placed first and second in eight races and also had eight different swimmers achieve individual victories.
Despite the relatively wide-open meet, several Irish swimmers brought their best to their events. Freshman Eric Swenson posted a lifetime best in the 100-yard breaststroke.
His time of 56.39 seconds was the eighth-fastest time in that event for an Irish swimmer and ranks him second among Big East swimmers.
“That was also [Swenson’s] lifetime best, and when we start the seasonal swims, we hope these are wonderful indicators of what might be possible for us in New York [at the Big East Championships],” Welsh said.
Also swimming well for the Irish were juniors Patrick O’Berry and Bryan Guarnier.
O’Berry led a balanced Irish attack in the 200-yard freestyle, posting a time of 1:40.58.
O’Berry’s finish leaves him as the fifth-fastest Irish racer all time in that race.
Guarnier posted a win in the 200-yard butterfly with a time of 1:51.10, a time good enough for sixth among all-time Irish performances in that event.
“Eric, Patrick and Bryan Guarnier, in particular, all had lifetime-best swims [Saturday],” Welsh said.
“And they are kind of exactly what everyone wants, and [we] hope that it’s a good indicator of what comes ahead in New York.”
Notre Dame’s win at Oakland snapped a trend in the swim series between the two schools.
Since the series renewal during the 1999-2000 season, the home team has collected a victory every meet.
“We were hoping that would be possible,” Welsh said.
“We’re grateful that we were able to do it but we’re also mindful that the typical Oakland team will be back and we’ll see them right here in our pool next season.”
With 10 days until the start of the Big East Championships, the Irish can sense their season-long quest drawing to a close.
But that won’t stop them from fine-tuning their techniques in the upcoming week.
“We’re polishing the apple, so to speak,” Welsh said. “The bulk of the week, as far as the hard training, is done. We are now in the process of polishing and fine-tuning the wheel. We’re going to do some resting and some focusing on technique details. The major emphasis will be getting the details right.
“We’re done out here in the Midwest. We’re taking our show to New York.”