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Men’s Swimming and Diving: Divers vie for championship bids

Tim Kaiser | Friday, March 10, 2006

Notre Dame will send two divers to this weekend’s NCCA Zone-C Diving meet in Columbus, Ohio.

Sophomore Sam Stoner and freshman Michael Bulfin will compete in two diving events each – the three-meter dive Friday and the one-meter dive Saturday.

Competing at the meet will be every school from Zone C, which covers a large portion of the Midwest and includes most of the Big Ten schools.

The divers must finish in the top-four in an event to qualify for the national campionship meet, the final collegiate diving event of the season. Stoner and Bulfin are hoping to score high enough on their dives to make it into that elite group.

Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh put the divers’ goals very simply.

“They want to place as high as they can in our zone, so that they can advance to the national championships,” Welsh said. “We’ve never sent any divers before. At least in recent memory, [no Notre Dame players] have advanced.”

But regardless of how they finish in the Zone Meet, Stoner and Bulfin have won the admiration of their coaches and teammates, Welsh said. He said the impression that their work ethics and performance have made on their fellow swimmers, including the team’s veterans, is evident every day.

“For Sam, he was also a very good high school diver, but he has improved quite a bit [at Notre Dame],” said senior swimmer Steve Shomberger, who competes in backstoke and butterfly events.

The NCAA Championships begin Thursday in Athens, Ga.