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ND Swimming & Diving: Squad looks to add conference title count

Andrew Owens | Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This weekend, the Irish and coach Tim Welsh have the opportunity to add more hardware to the trophy case as they head to Pittsburgh for the Big East championships.

Notre Dame has won four of the last five Big East championships, and is looking to make it five of six.

Senior John Lytle will play a key role in Notre Dame’s attempt to win another title. In last year’s Big East championships, Lytle gave the 400-yard free relay team a lead they would not relinquish. He came from behind in the first leg and his teammates were able to hold the lead. Lytle also set a school record in the 100 free last year.

“He’s quite a racer,” Welsh said earlier this month. “He’s extremely competitive. We’re very proud of him. He has done everything for us.”

The Irish defeated Pittsburgh, a main competitor in the Big East every season, in their only match this season, 179-121. The only other Big East team the Irish faced was Louisville, a team they defeated 166-134 at home on January 16.

The last meet the Irish participated in was the Jan. 29-30 Shamrock Invitational. The Irish defeated Denver (245-124), but lost to Iowa (197-171) and Missouri (197-173) in the event.

“It was a really hard meet and a real challenge for everyone involved,” Welsh said after the Shamrock Invitational. “The good news for us is that we swam better every session and our energy and competitiveness was solid throughout. Also, we are swimming faster than we were last year at this time.”

Lytle was once again a top performer for the Irish. He finished second and third in the 100 and 200 free, respectively.

The Irish hope to take the positives from that meet into the Big East championships this weekend as they attempt to win yet another league title.