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Double sweep for ND at Rolfs this weekend

Joe Meixell | Monday, November 13, 2006

Michigan State and Pittsburgh had barely come up for air by the time No. 17 Notre Dame was swimming away with its third and fourth consecutive dual meet victories – the program’s best start since the 1992-1993 season.

The Irish started the weekend by defeating the Spartans 165-75 Friday afternoon at Rolf’s Aquatic Center. Notre Dame won ten of the 13 events on the afternoon with senior co-captain Ted Brown leading the way. Brown picked up two victories on the evening finishing first in both the 200-freestyle and 200-butterfly.

Notre Dame received contributions across the board as seven different swimmers picked up first place finishes Friday. Other than Brown, Louis Cavadini, Sam Stoner, Andrew MacKay, Jay Vanden Berg, Michael Bulfin, and Tyler Angelo all won one event.

“I think one of our team’s biggest strengths is the depth we have,” Brown said. “So many guys can step up in so many events, and that’s a credit not only to the coaches in their recruiting but also to the guys on the team because we mesh really well together.”

On Saturday, the Irish returned to the pool easily dispatching of Pittsburgh 172-126. With the win, Notre Dame pushed their dual meet record on the season to 4-0, their best start in fourteen seasons. Brown cited the team’s level of intensity as a primary reason for their strong start.

“Our team as a whole expects more from each other,” Brown said. “We’re raising the level of intensity at our practices, and it’s carrying over into the meets. So far this season, the results have shown our hard work and dedication.”

Senior Tim Kegelman and freshman John Lytle each picked up three victories – two on relays for both swimmers – led the Irish on Saturday. Kegelman won the 100 butterfly while Lytle finished first in the 200-freestyle. Both were part of the 200 medley relay and 200-freestyle relay teams.

Brown continued his strong weekend finishing with first place finishes in the 500-yard and 1000-yard freestyle. Freshmen Ross Moore and MacKenzie LeBlanc also picked up victories for Notre Dame.

The Irish won’t return to action until December 1st, but they know they have plenty to work on in the coming weeks.

“We’re swimming fast, but we want to get better because we know our potential,” Brown said. “We’re a talented team, and if we combine that talent with hard work, special things are going to happen at the end of the season.”

Like their counterparts on the men’s side, the No. 20 Notre Dame women’s team swept Michigan State and Pittsburgh this past weekend and maintained their spotless dual meet record on the season.

With the two victories, the Irish improved their dual meet record to 3-0, and their season resume also includes a first place finish in the Dennis Stark Relays. Sophomore Christa Riggins attributes the team’s fast start to work put in long before the beginning of the season.

“The team had a really good summer which prepared us well for the season,” Riggins said. “We’re good at motivating each other in practice, and we have really good team chemistry.”

The Irish started the weekend with a comfortable 155.5 to 86.5 victory over the Spartans Friday afternoon at Rolf’s Aquatic Center. Notre Dame won of ten of the thirteen events getting contributions from swimmers and divers throughout the team.

Junior Caroline Johnson led the team with two victories as she finished first in the 50-yard freestyle and 100 yard butterfly. Junior Natalie Burke won the 200 yard breaststroke, and senior Ann Barton won her first individual event of the season finishing first in the 200 backstroke.

The rest of the night, however, belonged to the team’s freshmen. Freshmen Zeina Shanata, Megan Farrell and Ashley Edgell all won events with Edgell picking up the first individual victory of her college career.

Saturday saw little change as Notre Dame returned to Rolf’s Aquatic Center to handily defeat Pittsburgh 188-112. The Irish won nine of sixteen events on the evening led by senior Katie Carroll who had two victories on the evening.

Carroll won the 50-yard freestyle, and she set a school record in the 1000-yard freestyle with a time of 9:49.80. While school records are nothing new for Carroll, impressive times this early in the season are.

“I think everyone’s pretty surprised at how fast we’re swimming given how early it is in the season and the fact that we’re not rested for the meets,” Riggins said. “It’s a good confidence booster for myself and the team.”

Senior Julia Quinn, freshman Vivian Healey and sophomore Claire Hutchinson also picked up victories for the Irish in the 200-yard breaststroke, 100-breaststroke, and 200-butterfly respectively.

Freshman Natalie Stitt won her first collegiate diving title as she was victorious in three-meter diving, and she followed that up with a one-meter diving title.

Notre Dame will be back in action this Friday when they travel to Minneapolis for the 3-day Minnesota Invitational.