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Tourney finishes Saturday

Mike Gotimer | Friday, February 20, 2009

At the halfway point of the 2009 Big East Conference Championships, Notre Dame finds itself in a familiar position, leading the field with 296 points after two days of competition.

The Irish followed up their strong performance on Wednesday as two Notre Dame records fell on the day. In the consolation round of the 50-yard freestyle, Irish junior Andrew Hoffman recorded a time of 20.39, besting 2005 Notre Dame graduate Frank Krakowski’s record by .06 seconds. Krakowski had originally set the record during the 2002-03 season, making it Notre Dame’s longest standing record.

However, Hoffman’s record wouldn’t last, as junior John Lytle bested his classmate one heat later in the event final with a time of 20.05. Lytle’s performance was good enough for fifth place in the event, as Cincinnati’s Josh Schneider held onto first place after breaking the Big East record in the morning session with a time of 19.17.

Lytle and Hoffman later teamed up to form the front half of Notre Dame’s 200-yard freestyle relay team to further cement their status in the Irish record books. The Irish sprinters teamed with sophomore Joshua Nosal and senior Danny Lutkus to break the Irish record with a time of 1:19.42, which was good for second place and an NCAA B-cut time.

Arguably, the most impressive Irish performance of the day came in the 500-yard freestyle, as a dominant performance in the preliminaries put six Notre Dame swimmers into the event finals. Sophomore Steven Brus won his first career conference title in the event with a time of 4:23.99, which earned him an NCAA B-cut time. Fellow sophomore Michael Sullivan finished in second place to garner all-conference honors while senior Jeff Wood finished fourth. Juniors Jeff Wood and Andrew Deters finished fifth and sixth, respectively, while Lutkus scored for the Irish in the eighth spot. In the consolation final, Nosal led the event for the first 400 yards but was overtaken by Connecticut’s John Hogan in the final 100 to finish in second place.

In other action, senior Bill Bauman finished third in the consolation finals of the 200-yard individual medley after a strong surge in a time of 1:50.63, the team’s best of the season.

Heading into the final two days of competition, Notre Dame leads Louisville by 25 points. The Irish will look to extend that lead on Friday, when the Big East Championships resume at the Indiana University Natatorium in Indianapolis at 10 a.m.