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Men’s Swimming and Diving: Team wins two dual meets

Mary Green | Monday, February 4, 2013

 

Nearing the end of an arduous three-weekend stretch of meets, Notre Dame faced one last regular-season test before the Big East championships when the Irish traveled to the Northwestern Invitational. With strong finishes from a handful of swimmers, the team left Evanston, Ill., with a 191-177 win over Northwestern and a 210-160 victory over Missouri State, as well as a 212.5-155.5 loss to No. 20 Iowa.

Despite trailing Northwestern (4-5) by a point after Friday’s opening session, Notre Dame (9-2) overcame the deficit throughout the two sessions Saturday to pull out the win, its 400th all-time dual-meet victory against the Wildcats. Irish coach Tim Welsh said he left the meet impressed with how his team performed both this weekend and in the three-week span as a whole.

“We’ve been in a sequence of a one-session meet two weeks ago, two sessions last week and three this week, and it takes speed and endurance to carry that, and we got better as we progressed,” he said. “Being able to carry the energy and performance level through the three sessions was the most important thing we did [this weekend].”

On Friday night, several Irish athletes set the tone for the successful weekend. Sophomore Zach Stephens, senior Bill Bass and sophomore Patrick Olson touched the wall in succession in the 200-yard individual medley to capture second through fourth places, respectively, right before junior teammate Frank Dyer sprinted to first in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.46 seconds. Sophomore Nick Nemetz also sealed an Irish victory with a score of 316.35 in the one-meter dive.

The following day, strong results from all team members added to the Irish advantage over Missouri State (7-5) and allowed the squad to pass Northwestern to take the lead. Notre Dame had an entrant finish in the top four in 12 of Saturday’s 14 events.

Dyer added two more wins to his resume, hitting the touch pad first in the 100- and 200-yard freestyle events. In the 200-yard butterfly, sophomore John Williamson posted a time of 1:49.88 to add a fifth team victory. Led by sophomore Ted Wagner, Irish divers took third through sixth places in the three-meter event.

Welsh said his team’s depth played a significant role in Notre Dame’s doubly-victorious weekend, which boosted its record to 9-2, its best regular-season finish since the 2006-07 season.

“Something that you’ll notice is that it’s never the same guy [winning] every meet,” he said. “We have a lot of balance and a lot of depth, and that’s something that’s carried us through this season.”

The Irish have three weeks off from competition before they head to Indianapolis to try to defend their title at the Big East championships, which will be held from Feb. 27 to Mar. 2.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu