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Men’s Swimming: Divers grab Big East lead

Jonathan Warren | Sunday, February 12, 2012

Looking to capture their second Big East title in four years, the Irish traveled to Pittsburgh over the weekend for the Big East swimming and diving championships. Notre Dame finished the diving portion with a 57-point lead over the rest of the field.

Freshman Nick Nemetz led the team with two first place performances in the 1-meter and 3-meter dives, scoring 40 points for the Irish. Nemetz is the first Irish freshman to ever sweep both events at the Big East championships.

“I’m very happy with my performance,” Nemetz said. “I wasn’t really going in with expectations, but the meet definitely worked out well.”

Freshman, Michael Kreft, added 31 points of his own, taking third and fourth in the 3-meter and 1-meter dives, respectively. Senior Sean Rademaker and freshman John Andrade also qualified for the 1-meter final and took seventh and eighth, respectively.

Four of the eight finalists in the 1-meter event were Irish athletes.

“The team’s performance was really great,” Nemetz said. “We had four guys get to finals in the 1-meter. Everyone was pretty proud of that.”

The Irish will begin the swimming portion of the championships Wednesday with a 57-point lead over second-place Pittsburgh. Perennial favorite and defending champion Louisville is 102 points behind. Last season, the Irish were second to Louisville in the final standings, losing by 214 points.

“It was a good weekend because we gave ourselves a lead over Louisville, which will help the swimmers,” Nemetz said.

Not only did the Irish sweep the diving events, but diving coach Caiming Xie also won Big East Men’s Diving Coach of the Year.

“I think Coach Xie deserved it,” Nemetz said. “There weren’t any other teams with four guys in the finals of one event and a Big East champion on both boards.”

Overall, Nemetz said the Irish were happy with their performance this weekend.

“I think this meet shows how much our team has progressed throughout the season,” Nemetz said. “Everyone competed much better than they have all season.”

The swimming team will try to hold on to the lead the divers provided in Pittsburgh. For the divers, focus shifts to the NCAA Zone diving championships in March. Nemetz and Kreft, along with freshman Ted Wagner and junior Ryan Koter, will represent the Irish at the event.

“I’m going to keep training,” Nemetz said. “I’m going to get ready for NCAA Zones by polishing my dives, and getting more consistency is important.”

The Irish divers will compete in the NCAA Zone diving championships beginning March 9. The swimming team will resume the Big East championships Wednesday in Pittsburgh.

Contact Jonathan Warren at jwarren3@nd.edu