Meet versus Northwestern ends in rare tie
Mary Green | Wednesday, January 15, 2014
While the majority of the student body rested during winter break, Irish swimmers and divers were still hard at work, tying Northwestern, 150-150, on Saturday at the Norris Aquatic Center in Evanston, Ill.
No. 20 Notre Dame (4-4-1) trailed at the beginning of the meet, bounced back and fell behind the Wildcats (5-3-1) again. The Irish claimed the lead after junior Zach Stephens, senior Colin Babcock, freshman Tom Anderson and junior Matthew DeBlasio swept second through fifth places in the penultimate event, the 200-yard individual medley, before two Northwestern squads beat out the Notre Dame teams in the final 400-yard freestyle relay to seal the tie.
“It was very competitive,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “Those were all hard-fought races. With two events to go, the meet was tied. … The second-to-last event, we went up by 13, and the last event, [Northwestern] went up by 13 — tie. But there was good racing all around.”
The tie is the second in school history, with the first coming against Chicago, 43-43, in the program’s first-ever dual meet on Dec. 6, 1958.
“I’ve only been in one other tie in my life,” Welsh said. “It’s very hard to tie a meet.”
Michigan also competed in the meet against Northwestern, but the Irish and the Wolverines did not score against each other because they faced off in a dual meet Oct. 12, a 201-99 Michigan win.
Freshman diver Joe Coumos picked up Notre Dame’s two individual wins in the 1-meter and 3-meter events, with a score of 311.80 in the first and 339.50 in the second. Stephens and junior John Williamson each took home two second-place finishes, with Stephens’s coming in the 200 IM and 200-yard breaststroke and Williamson’s in the 100- and 200-yard butterfly events. Junior Cameron Miller added a fifth Irish silver in the 100-yard breaststroke.
“I thought we raced well,” Welsh said. “I thought we competed well. We had been on the road since the 28th of December, so it was a long time on the road, and we trained hard every day.
“And yet when you look at the numbers to see how well we swam, we swam great. Better than that, we swam with spirit and we swam competitively. I was very pleased with it.”
The meet against the Wildcats came on the heels of Notre Dame’s annual winter training trip to Puerto Rico.
While on the Isle of Enchantment, the Irish practiced each morning in a long-course pool, lifted weights or had a dry-land training session afterwards and practiced again at night. However, they also found time to hit the beach and compete against other American and Puerto Rican schools in the Copa Coqui meet in Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico.
“It’s a little more festive than a meet we would have here, in a very positive way,” Welsh said. “Once the race starts, they play music while people are racing back and forth. There’s a band that comes in and goes around and plays in each team’s tented area. … It’s just a spirited affair, and we’ve enjoyed it, so it’s a nice break in the middle of the trip.”
The Irish return to the pool for more training before they take on former conference rival Louisville on Jan. 24 in Louisville, Ky.
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