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Men’s Swimming: John Lytle leads Irish in Big East season

Michael Bryan | Thursday, January 29, 2009

Irish junior swimmer John Lytle earned all-Big East honors in five events as a freshman and six events as a sophomore. But heading into this season’s Big East championships, Lytle said he is only focused on is the performance of his team.

“If I miss my personal goals, but we still win the Big East meet and send guys to the NCAA Championship, the season will be successful to me,” Lytle said.

The season has already featured several successes for Lytle, who has 10 individual wins on the year. The freestyler recently won Big East athlete of the week honors for swimming and diving after winning the 50- and 100-meter freestyle events in a dual meet with Northwestern.

Lytle’s career in the pool began at an early age, and as the youngest of three siblings he had little choice in the matter.

“My older brother and sister both swam, and my parents figured that I might as well swim since I would have to be at their meets anyway,” Lytle said.

From the age of 6 Lytle competed in Clearfield, Penn., and fell in love with the sport. As Lytle continued to swim competitively, he immediately made a large impact on his high school team. Lytle was named freshman of the year on the Clearfield Area High School team, and the next three years was earned team MVP honors.

“I was fortunate enough to swim well and make some major improvements from season to season in high school,” Lytle said. “Eventually I was lucky enough to be noticed and recruited by Notre Dame.”

Once he arrived on campus, Lytle enjoyed the tougher challenges both in the pool and classroom.

“I wanted to be surrounded by the best, not only athletically, but academically as well,” Lytle said. “It was exciting to race against fast guys everyday in practice, and it’s something that only makes you better.”

As a freshman Lytle made an instant impact, collecting five individual wins and placing first among Notre Dame swimmers in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle at the Big East Championships.

Lytle continued to rack up wins as one of the Big East’s best freestylers as a sophomore, and set school records in the 100- and 200-meter freestyle.

The highlight thus far of Lytle’s 2008-2009 season was the team’s winter training trip to Puerto Rico.

“The workouts were demanding on the winter trip, but everyone was in good spirits and had a great time,” Lytle said. “The weather was perfect, and we were even able to make it to the beach in between practices.”

After another year leading the Irish as a junior, Lytle hopes to help the Irish defend their Big East Championship Feb. 18-21.