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Men’s Swimming: Irish to face Oakland, MSU

Nick Boyle | Friday, October 26, 2012

Notre Dame will be busy this weekend, traveling to Oakland (Mich.) on Friday night before performing a quick turnaround with a trip to Michigan State on Saturday.

Irish coach Tim Welsh said the Irish will try to start the season off strong Friday with their season’s first duel meet.

“It’s our first chance for us to see this team in action,” Welsh said. “We had a relay meet a couple weeks ago, but this is our first formal two-team competition. We’re looking to get off to a great start and are very optimistic.”

The Irish have already competed against Oakland this season when the two teams faced off at the Dennis Stark Relays in South Bend. The relays consisted of 10 races in which the Irish won five and Oakland won five. Welsh said he expects the meet Friday to be just as competitive.

“The two relays at the beginning and end of the meet will be huge for us,” Welsh said. “Diving will also be quite important for us. Our divers did well compared to Oakland at the Relays, and we’re hoping that they can have a repeat performance.”

The Irish will not have much time to rest after Friday, having to travel immediately to Michigan State to take on the Spartans the next day.

“Michigan State has been a competitive team in recent years,” Welsh said. “They have a solid returning team of swimmers and divers. It’s going to be a tough meet with the meet the night before.”

Having started training in August, the Irish have been anxiously waiting for these first duel meets of the season, Welsh said. Friday and Saturday’s meets will allow the Irish to show the work they have done in preparation.

“We have been training together for a couple months now,” Welsh said. “Everyone is eager to get into our competition phase of the season.”

The Irish will look to three returning swimmers and divers for leadership over the weekend.  Returning sophomore diver and Big East Champion Nick Nemetz, senior Big East Swimmer of the Year Bill Bass and junior All-American freestyle swimmer Frank Dyer should prove to play a criticial role in the Irish’s success this season.

“We have three returning team members in Nemetz, Bass and Dyer who were outstanding for us last year,” Welsh said. “They have great experience of having done it, and we have strong leadership in them. We are also looking for people to emerge as leaders and competitors  for us, and find out what our character will be when we are tested.”

Welsh said he believes his team can use the meets to get the season off to a strong start.

“[The meets are] going to depend on how everyone lines up,” Welsh said. “We think our swimming is very balanced and deep and our diving is strong. Both meets will be a big test for us to see where we are, but I am optimistic we will start the season strong.”

The Irish will travel to Rochester, Mich., to face Oakland at 6 p.m.  before heading to Michigan State for a noon meet Saturday in East Lansing, Mich.

Contact Nick Boyle at nboyle1@nd.edu