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Men’s Swimming: Team sweeps Invitational

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 30, 2006

In the last meet at Rolfs Aquatic Center this year, the Irish took care of business against four quality opponents, including No. 22 Penn State. The meet was scored as four separate dual meet competitions and Notre Dame swept the other schools.

The 4-0 performance leaves the team 10-2 overall for the second straight year. Penn State came the closest to upsetting the Irish (197-173), but Missouri, Louisville and Oakland all held their own in the water.

“It was a very competitive weekend for us; the meet was not won until the next-to-last event,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said.

The 100-yard butterfly was the event that sealed it for Notre Dame – the Irish grabbed two of the top five spots to pull away for good.

Junior Ted Brown came in third and Patrick Heffernan was right behind in fourth in his last race at Rolfs.

“It was a really significant and meaningful meet for the seniors who wanted to go out in a good way,” Heffernan said. “We were glad to be able to rise to the level of our competition and come out on top.”

This group of seniors, 10 in total, were the first swimmers to receive full scholarship support from the university.

As a group, they have faced off against 61 different colleges and universities in three different countries. They leave behind them a long list of broken records and program firsts, including a national rank and an invite to the Dallas Morning News Classic.

“If you just look at what this senior class has done, you can see they were a big part of our improvement and they always will be,” Welsh said.

One of the biggest accolades the Irish have achieved in the past four years is winning last year’s Big East Championship – a feat they will try to duplicate in two weeks.

With its regular season completed, Notre Dame now goes into what is called a resting period. The team will spend the next couple of weeks mentally preparing to defend its title. This means that instead of intense fitness training, practices will be much more focused on attention to detail.

Expectations remain high for the conclusion of the season, and after beating a strong Penn State squad, the Irish feel they have the ability to put up a solid performance after the two-week resting period comes to a close.

“This weekend’s hard test was good for us, we know we have the talent, we just have to swim as well as we can and let the rest take care of itself,” Welsh said.