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Men’s Swimming: Irish maintain healthy lead

Megan Finneran | Friday, March 1, 2013

The Irish closed the second day of the Big East championships in first place, more than 100 points ahead of the next contender. 

Notre Dame enters the weekend with 367 points, far ahead of second place Louisville (224) and Pittsburgh with 191.5.

Junior Frank Dyer continued his winning performances, taking first place in both the 50-yard freestyle and the 500-yard freestyle. He is the first athlete to ever win both events at the competition. Sophomore Zachary Stephens joined Dyer in the spotlight, winning the 200-yard individual medley. The Irish took first, second and third in the 500-yard freestyle and the 200-yard individual medley.

“This is a little surprising, but guys are just swimming out-of-their-minds fast,” senior Chris Johnson said. “With all that, it’s hard not to be positive.”

The morning began with preliminaries in the 500-yard freestyle, 200-yard individual medley and the 50-yard freestyle, with the finals taking place Thursday evening. Junior Frank Dyer took the spotlight in the preliminaries, resetting his own team record in the 50-yard freestyle. He broke his time of 19.84 from last year’s Big East championships with a new time of 19.78. 

In the finals, he took the competition to the next level, breaking the record yet again in his 19.62 second win. 

In the 500-yard freestyle, Notre Dame sent five swimmers into the championship race. Two-time defending champion Dyer took first in the finals, coming back from a sixth place finish in the preliminaries. He dropped his prelim time of 4:26.36 to in the finals 4:20.53. Sophomore Kevin Hughes closed in behind him in 4:23.67 to take second place and Sophomore Brennan Jacobsen came in almost immediately after with a time of 4:23.71 to take third.

Joining Dyer, Hughes and Jacobsen were sophomores John Nappi, who took fifth in the finals at 4:25.09, and Matthew DeBlasio, who took seventh in 4:28.55.

The Irish again sent five swimmers to the finals for the 200-yard individual medley and swept the medal places. Stephens won the event, cutting his preliminary time of 1:46.56 to 1:45.41. Senior Bill Bass came in less than a half second later, taking second in 1:45.78. Junior Colin Babcock rounded out the top spots in 1:46.40 to take third. Sophomore Cameron Miller took sixth in 1:49.11 and sophomore Patrick Olson came in seventh in 1:50.98.

Notre Dame closed the night by taking second place in the finals for the 200-yard freestyle relay. Dyer, Stephens, senior John McGinley and Bass teamed up for the 1:18.91 finish.

“We are very confident going into the next two days,” Johnson said. “We actually only get stronger from here.”

The 3-meter diving preliminaries will begin today at 10 a.m. The day will also include preliminaries for the 400-yard individual medley, the 100-yard butterfly, the 200-yard freestyle, the 100-yard breaststroke and the 400-yard medley relay. The championships will close Saturday with the 1650-yard freestyle, 200-yard backstroke, 100-yard freestyle, 200-yard breaststroke and 200-yard butterfly.

Contact Megan Finneran at mfinnera@nd.edu