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Men’s Swimming: Team in second after first day of Big East

Ellyn Michalak | Thursday, February 21, 2008

Notre Dame finds itself in second place after one day of competition in the Big East tournament at the Nassau County Aquatic Center in East Meadow, N.Y.

After finishing last year’s championships only 4.5 points behind winner West Virginia, the Irish went into today’s meet looking to take back the title they have won three of the last four years.

Sitting in second place out of eleven teams with 68 points, only Louisville remains in front of the Irish with a point total of 74.

Irish coach Tim Welsh said he was very pleased with the day’s results.

“I thought we got off to a great start, and I thought the guys swam very well tonight,” he said. “Today we were just getting big toe in the water, and we are now looking forward to rest of the events. I thought they swam great, with the lead off race setting a university record.”

The Irish captured first place in the 800-yard free relay. The team, comprised of sophomore John Lytle, freshman Joshua Nosal, sophomore Andrew Hoffan and sophomore MacKenzie LeBlanc, set a school record with a time of 6:32.45 and also earned an NCAA B-cut time.

During the race, the Irish were trailing first-place Louisville, but eventually pulled ahead to place first in the race. Two members of the above quartet, Lylte and Hoffman, helped set the previous school record during the 2007 Big East meet. Along with current senior Ted Brown and current junior Jeff Wood, they achieved a time of 6:32.67.

The Irish also claimed fifth place in the 200 yard medley relay, gaining 28 points in the process. Hoffman, senior Andrew McKay, junior Sam Pendergast, and sophomore Ross Moore earned a time of 1:30.87 in the race.

Tomorrow’s qualifying matches begin at 10 a.m. Those who meet the qualifying times will compete for points in the final heats at 6 p.m.

Coach Welsh hopes his team performs just as well tomorrow.

“One of the beautiful things about swimming is you don’t win by making someone else lose,” he said. “You win by swimming fast. The emphasis is on having every person go as fast as they can. We aim to swim our races as fast as we can and think that we swam them right.”