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Men’s Swimming: Notre Dame retains lead at Big East meet

Chris Allen | Friday, February 19, 2010

The Irish men retained their lead in the overall standings at the Big East Championships in Pittsburgh Thursday.

When the final event of the day finished, the Irish held a 30-point lead over Louisville and a 60-point lead over host Pittsburgh.

Freshman Bill Bass posted the biggest swim of the night for the Irish, as he broke the Notre Dame record in the 200-meter individual medley preliminaries in the morning and then proceeded to top that mark during the championship round with a time of 1:46.44, good enough for second in the event.

“What a tremendous effort for a first year swimmer in our program,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said to und.com after the meet. “We could not be more proud of him.”

Bass’s swim into the record books was the highlight of a night that saw many other Irish swimmers make contributions. Decorated senior John Lytle came in seventh in the 50-meter freestyle, an event that saw Cincinnati’s Josh Schneider set Big East and Cincinnati school records. Junior Steven Brus, who was the defending champion in the 500-meter freestyle, finished fifth in the same event with a time of 4:26.66.

Ultimately, the Irish needed a strong finish in the night’s final event in order to stay on top of the rankings at the end of the Championship’s sixth day of action. The 200-meter freestyle relay team composed of seniors Lytle and Andrew Hoffman, junior Joshua Nosal and freshman Kevin Overholt delivered. The squad, which came out of the preliminaries seeded sixth out of 10 teams, posted a time of 1:20.93, good enough for third in the event and staking the Irish to the lead they now enjoy heading into the final two days of competition.

“We’ve got our work cut out for us and we’re ready for the challenge these next few days,” Welsh said.