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Men’s Swimming: Team travels to Cleveland for final dual meet

Mary Green | Friday, January 18, 2013

After returning from the sunny skies of Puerto Rico, No. 20 Notre Dame will kick off 2013 by renewing its long-standing rivalry with Cleveland State in its final dual meet of the season.

Undefeated in two-team contests, the Irish (5-0) head east to the Busbey Natatorium in Cleveland to face the Vikings (11-2-1), and coach Tim Welsh hopes they maintain the progress they made over the break.

“I hope they take confidence from the trip and trust that they have done a whole lot of hard work and are ready to race really, really fast,” Welsh said. “I want them to be eager to race.”

The team last swam in an official meet at the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa in the beginning of December, where they finished second overall behind No. 1 Michigan. Though the Copa Coqui Meet, which took place during the team’s winter break training trip to Puerto Rico, counted only as an exhibition, the squad swam to a first-place finish over tough competition.

In that contest against Army, Connecticut and several Puerto Rican schools, junior Colin Babcock, sophomore Cameron Miller and freshman Bogac Ayhan took home individual wins in the 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard backstroke, respectively.

Reflecting on the season thus far, Welsh remains impressed by his team’s growth and improvement since their first meet.
“We’ve gotten faster, we’ve had more training, we’re in better shape, we’ve gotten a little more experience, especially our younger swimmers, and we’ve really competed well, especially right before Christmas,” he said.

Welsh says that his swimmers will use this last, finals-only meet to prepare for their two invitational events, the Shamrock Invitational at the Rolfs Aquatic Center and the Northwestern Invitational in Evanston, Ill., before they head to the Big East Championship meet in late February.

“This is our last tune-up meet since the next two weeks are both multiple-session meets, so this is our last dress rehearsal before we go live [for the Big East Championships],” he said.

The team will look to use this matchup against a familiar foe as a springboard into those bigger meets.

“Cleveland State is one of our longest-running rivalries, and they’ve had a great season so far, so we’re looking forward to having a strong meet,” Welsh said.

The Irish will seek to remain undefeated in dual meets when they face the Vikings on Friday at 4 p.m. at the Busbey Natatorium in Cleveland.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu