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Men’s Swimming: Irish host tough competition

Mike Gotimer | Friday, January 23, 2009

The Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team returns to action this weekend when it hosts the Shamrock Invitational for the fourth time at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

The meet will consist of three sessions that span a two-day period and it will be run in a championship style format. The Irish hope the championship style will prepare for the upcoming Big East conference championships.

“This is an important competition for us,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “It is our last major tune-up before the Big East conference championships.”

The Irish will welcome a strong field to Rolfs, as Denver, Michigan State and West Virginia will be making the trip to Notre Dame.

“The field this year is excellent,” Welsh said. “West Virginia was the Big East conference champion two years ago. Michigan State is enjoying their best year in quite a while and Denver beat us in the Ohio State Invitational in December. So the field is very strong and that is exactly what we want.”

The Irish are looking for strong swims this weekend and hope to stop their current four meet losing streak that dates back to a 172.5-86.5 loss to Ohio State on Nov. 21. That loss came before Notre Dame’s fourth place finish in the Ohio State Invitational, which was also the Irish’s last championship style meet.

Despite two dual meet losses last weekend, the Irish still had impressive individual accomplishments, led by junior John Lytle. Lytle’s four individual wins last weekend earned him Big East Athlete of the Week honors in swimming and diving. This weekend, the Irish look to get a sense of where they stand as a team heading into the Big East conference championships.

“We would like to see where we are in our primary events,” Welsh said. “This is a weekend we certainly want to measure improvement.”

Prior to the Saturday evening session, Notre Dame will honor seniors Bill Bauman, Michael Bulfin, Jace Hopper, Danny Lutkus, Daniel Rave, Mitchell Sherman, Jeff Wood and manager Mike Mashura as they wrap up their home careers.

The Shamrock Invitational will begin with the first session at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, resume with the second session on Saturday at 10:00 a.m. and conclude with the third session on Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. All events will take place at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

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