The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Men’s Swimming: Squad to travel to Pitt for meet

Molly Sammon | Friday, November 13, 2009

Notre Dame travels to Pittsburgh for its first Big East conference meet of the season against one of the conference’s toughest teams.

“Pittsburgh is an excellent competitor,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “Our meets have been very intense, very competitive, and often, in the last five years or so won on the final event, and yet the level of sportsmanship and integrity has been extremely high.”

Friday’s meet will give a big hint to the members of the Big East conference as to how the seasons are shaping up for both the Irish and Pittsburgh, as each boasts good performances in recent conference championships. The Irish, who are currently 3-1 in dual meets this season, have won the conference event three times in the last four seasons, but the advantage the Panthers have as hosts of this year’s championships might give them the competitive advantage they need to win.

“We are trying to treat this meet as a warm-up for the Big East Conference meet in as many ways as possible,” senior sprinter Patrick Lloyd said. “If we get used to swimming fast there this weekend, it will make swimming fast at the Big East Championships that much easier.”

In the 2008-09 season, the Irish beat Pittsburgh 152-148 when a final relay became the deciding factor in one of Notre Dame’s closest meets. The close competition between these two well-respected Big East swimming programs means that simply winning each event will not be enough to claim a victory this Friday.

“Every race can determine the outcome of the meet, and that race is not just for first place,” Lloyd said. “We need the points for second, third and fourth places to do as well as we can.”

The Irish have won the last five times in dual meets against Pittsburgh, but the Panthers hope to break that winning streak with a program that has changed since they competed against Notre Dame last year.

“Pittsburgh has improved a lot since last season. We are looking forward to seeing them and meeting the challenge,” Welsh said.

Aside from preparing themselves for the challenges of doing well in the conference, this event will also provide good preparation for the men’s final meet of the semester, which is quickly approaching.

“This is our last dual meet competition this semester, so it is our last chance to get ready for the Ohio State Invitational which will end our semester,” Welsh said.

Pittsburgh will also be attending the Ohio State Invitational in mid-December.

The meet will begin at 4:30 p.m. today at the Pittsburgh Panthers’ Trees Pool.