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Irish continue skid with two more losses

Mike Gotimer | Monday, January 19, 2009

Notre Dame came into the weekend with its sights set on returning to the win column with dual meets against Northwestern and Oakland after falling at Louisville on Jan. 10. However, after dropping both contests, the Irish are still looking for a win to stop their slide.Despite the losses, the Irish still saw some positives from their performances.”Coming into this weekend, we wanted three things,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said after Friday’s loss to Northwestern. “We wanted to be faster than we were last week, we were. We wanted to be approaching or exceeding our best dual meet times outside of a championship meet, and in a lot of cases, we were there – sometimes life-best and season-best times. We also wanted a win, we didn’t get that.”The Irish began their weekend on Friday night at the Rolfs Aquatic Center with a 175-125 loss to Northwestern. Despite the loss, the Irish had a fair amount of quality individual performances.Junior John Lyttle swept both the 50 and 100-yard freestyle races, duplicating a feat that he accomplished in Notre Dame’s 2008 dual meet against the Wildcats. The Irish were also dominant on the diving board, led by senior Michael Bulfin, who placed first in both the one-meter and three-meter events. The Irish claimed the top five spots from the one-meter platform. Rounding out the top five in order were sophomores Eric Lex and Wesley Villafor, junior Caleb Dunnichay, and sophomore Nathan Geary. Notre Dame’s other first place finish in the meet came from junior Andrew Deters, who won the 1,000-free.The Irish had little rest after the loss to the Wildcats, as they traveled to Rochester, Mich. to face Oakland on Saturday afternoon. The Grizzlies narrowly edged out the Irish by a score of 161.5-137.5 for Notre Dame’s third consecutive dual meet loss. In total, the Irish won seven of the meet’s 16 events. Lyttle and sophomore Michael Sullivan won the meet’s first two individual events, as Lyttle took first in the 200 freestyle while Sullivan earned top honors in the 1,000 freestyle. However, the Grizzlies placed first in the next four events to jump ahead of the Irish. Notre Dame dominated the one-meter diving for the second straight day, as Dunnichay, Lex, Villafor, Bulfin, and Geary took the top five spots once again. Lyttle matched with 100 freestyle win from the night before with a time of 45.93. Two events later, senior Daniel Rave won the 200 breaststroke. Sophomore Stephen Brus took first place in the 500 freestyle. Bulfin earned Notre Dame’s final win of the day with his first place finish in the three-meter diving event.With the two losses, the Irish dropped to 3-6 on the year. Notre Dame returns to action next weekend when it hosts the Shamrock Invitational at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.