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Men’s Swimming: ND hosts Dennis Stark Relays

By Mary Green | Friday, October 11, 2013

Notre Dame dives into the 2013-2014 season looking for fast times when it hosts its first two meets of the year today and Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center.

The Irish (0-0) kick off the weekend with the 49th annual Dennis Stark Relays today, when they will race against a field of Michigan, Auburn, Cleveland State and Valparaiso. They will return to pool Saturday in a double dual meet to take on the defending NCAA champion Wolverines (1-0) and the Tigers (0-0), who placed eighth at the NCAA Championships last year.

Irish coach Tim Welsh said his squad, which is preparing for tough competition both days, will focus on its times instead of how it places.

“I expect us to get off to a fast start,” he said. “This is a weekend where, both Friday afternoon and Saturday afternoon, we’re going to look for the beauty of fast times …we want to see where we are. We’ve gotten off to a great start in practice, and I’d like to see that translate to fast times in meet events.”

Welsh said the back-to-back meets this weekend may help the Irish prepare for their longer meets in the future.

“Our major competitions are two or three-day competitions, and that’s year-round,” he said. “It’s part of the sport, to compete one evening and come back and compete the following morning. We want to be prepared when we go to Iowa [for December's Hawkeye Invitational] and when we go to the ACC Championships [in February] … It is the way our sport lives and we want to prepare for that.”

This weekend will be the first time incoming freshmen have the chance to swim for the Irish, and Welsh said he and his staff would start to see how much of an impact they could potentially make this season.

“Our freshmen have done a great job in our early fall practices, and we think they’re swimming very well,” he said. “We want to see them race this weekend and get a better gauge of where everybody is. They swam well this summer, and preparation for the freshmen coming in the first day was wonderful, so we’re looking forward seeing them do that in a Notre Dame cap here this weekend.”

The Irish will race in their first meet of the season at today’s Dennis Stark Relays, which start at 5 p.m. at Rolfs Aquatic Center. The team will then quickly rest up for dual-meet action against Michigan and Auburn on Saturday at 11 a.m.

Contact Mary Green at mgreen8@nd.edu