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ND Swimming: Swimmers open season with Relays

Mike Gotimer | Friday, October 3, 2008

The men’s and women’s swim teams will kick off their seasons with the Dennis Stark Relays against a number of local teams today.

Notre Dame women’s coach Brian Barnes said she wanted to stress the spirit of tomorrow’s relays, which are held to honor former Notre Dame swimming coach Dennis Stark.

“Our purpose today is to honor him and recognize his 50-plus years of service to Notre Dame as a coach, teacher and mentor,” Barnes said.

Both coaches are excited to begin a new season and build on their success from last year, in which both teams won Big East team titles. They said they view tomorrow’s relays as a chance to get off on the right foot for the 2008-2009 season.

“We expect to swim with energy and excitement,” men’s coach Tim Welsh said. “We have a chance to evaluate our performance and assess where we are and what we have to look to improve on this season. We have some very good swimmers and have been training hard thus far.”

Notre Dame’s top two swimmers in the 100 breaststroke graduated last year, so the men’s team hopes to find swimmers to fill the slot.

On the women’s side, Coach Barnes said he has similar expectations for today’s meet.

“Expectations for this meet are to perform with class, race, and to have fun with all of the relays,” Barnes said. “Additionally, we will recognize this meet as part of the process as we continue to prepare to move higher within the NCAA this year. For the Notre Dame women’s swimming and diving to be successful this year, the entire team will need to step up.”

Teams from Oakland University, Ball State University, Cleveland State University, Illinois State, and the Marquette men’s club team will participate in the meet. In addition, the Saint Mary’s swim team will return to the meet after an absence from the competition in recent years.

The Dennis Stark Relays are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.