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Men’s Swimming: Irish claim conference title

Megan Finneran | Wednesday, May 16, 2012

This season contained a string of awards for the Irish, but for seven swimmers, it meant more than just plaques and trophies. The squad collected its fifth Big East Conference team title, Big East Coach of the Year for both swimming and diving and sent two swimmers to the NCAA championships for the first time in program history.

Junior Bill Bass and sophomore Frank Dyer extended the swimming season into the NCAA championships, earning a 28th-place finish for Notre Dame. Bass also earned the Most Outstanding Swimmer award at the Big East championships.

On the diving end, freshman Nick Nemetz carried the team to the NCAA championships, finishing 12th in the one-meter event.

Irish swimming coach Tim Welsh and diving coach Caiming Xie continued the accolades for the squad, both earning Big East Coach of the Year awards for their respective sports.

At Notre Dame’s end-of-year O.S.C.A.R.S. awards ceremony, Dyer was named the Notre Dame Monogram Club MVP for swimming and diving and seniors Kevin Rahill and Jonathan Whitcomb received the Notre Dame Club of St. Joseph Valley Rockne Student-Athlete Award.

The team will now bid farewell to seven seniors. Ryan Belecanech, Conor Evans, Petar Petrovic, Sean Rademaker, Rahill, Marshall Sherman and Whitcomb have spent the last four years together and now prepare to go their separate ways.

The seniors look back on this season and the ones before it with fond thoughts. They remember the finest moments of their Notre Dame career, especially the conference championships from this year and their freshmen year.

Outside the championship memories, Rahill said the seniors will miss the moments building up to the big wins.

“I am going to miss the strong connections I have built with my teammates,” Rahill said. “To be in a team environment of daily competition, as well as motivation, is something I will most likely never experience again.”

When asked what advice they would give to incoming freshmen on the team, the answer was an easy one.

“Have fun every day and enjoy your time here because it does go by quickly,” Sherman said.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu