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ND Men’s Swimming and Diving: ND rallies for win after loss to Purdue

Conor Kelly | Sunday, November 6, 2011

In two very different meets, Notre Dame struggled and fell to Purdue on Friday but overpowered Valparaiso the following day in a weekend of non-conference matchups that would tell much about the depth and competitiveness of the Irish squad.

Though the Irish (4-2) fell 184-113 to the Boilermakers, a number of individual performances stood out. Sophomore Frank Dyer posted victories in the 200 free and the 100 fly, while freshman Jimmy McEldrew won the 1,650 free, colloquially known as “the mile.”

“The obvious is the obvious,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “They were much faster than we were. But when you’re training hard and traveling at the same time you often get mixed results. There were positives all throughout the meet, including a few individual victories.”

In a season in which the young Irish team is still in a process of self-discovery, teams like Purdue, perennially in the top-25 nationally, are the types of teams against which Welsh said he likes to measure his squad.

“Purdue is an excellent program year in and year out,” Welsh said. “They’re the fastest team that we’ve faced since [we fell to Michigan 174-119 on Oct. 15], and those are the teams that we want to measure ourselves against, because that’s where we want to be ourselves.”

On Saturday, the Irish traveled back upstate for a meet with Valparaiso, winning 11 events on the day en route to a commanding 130-70 victory over the Crusaders.

“We always enjoy going to Valparaiso,” Welsh said. “It’s an old-school meet in an old-school place. It’s good for our athletes to get a chance to see that.”

The meet, which was set up in correlation with a Saint Mary’s meet against the Crusaders’ women’s team, allowed Welsh to shuffle around his lineup a little bit, giving some experienced athletes the opportunity to compete in events that they normally do not and others who have not seen much of the pool to get in the water.

“In the long run, I think the experience helps quite a bit,” Welsh said. “It was a very good meet.”

That experience will be vital soon, as the Irish go back on the road next weekend to take on Louisville, the reigning Big East champion.

“We’re excited to take on the Cardinals because, much in the vein of Michigan and Purdue, they’re a team that we want to measure ourselves against,” Welsh said. “The Louisville-Notre Dame rivalry can be pretty intense, so that should be fun as well.”

The Irish travel to Louisville, Ky. on Saturday to take on Louisville.


Contact Conor Kelly at ckelly17@nd.edu