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Irish nearly knock off Northwestern

Matt Puglisi | Monday, January 26, 2004

The men’s swimming and diving team just missed pulling off a big upset in Evanston, Ill., Saturday afternoon, narrowly falling to No. 15 Northwestern, 155-133.

“[Northwestern] is a pretty highly-ranked team, but we hung in there with them the whole way,” sophomore Tyler Grenda said. “We wanted to finish out the road season really well, and this was a good conclusion to all our road meets this year.”

While Notre Dame’s impressive depth allowed the squad to claim two of the top three spots in 10 of the 12 races and at least three of the top five spots in 13 of the 14 swimming events, the Irish (5-7) managed only a trio of first place finishes in the 16 overall competitions.

Three freshmen – Ted Brown (200-yard freestyle), Louis Cavadini (100-yard freestyle) and Scott Coyle (1-meter board) – were the lone victors for the Irish. Also, each recorded runner-up finishes as Brown, Cavadini and Coyle took second in the 500-yard freestyle, 50-yard freestyle and 3-meter board, respectively.

In addition to the trio of freshmen, a number of Notre Dame swimmers turned in strong meets, including freshmen Tim Kegelman (second in both 100- and 200-yard butterfly, third in 200-yard individual medley) and Alan Carter (second in 200-yard backstroke, fourth in 200-yard backstroke), sophomores Tim Randolph (second in 100-yard breaststroke, third in 100-yard freestyle), Grenda (second in 200-yard breaststroke, third in 100-yard breaststroke) and Steve Shomberger (second in 200-yard backstroke, third in 100-yard backstroke).

Several upperclassmen got in on the scoring as well, as junior Frank Krakowski took third in 100-yard butterfly and 50-yard freestyle and senior co-captain Matt Obringer placed second in 200-yard freestyle.

Although the Irish were successful in gobbling a majority of the second, third, fourth and fifth place spots, their inability to keep the Wildcats out of first in the individual races ultimately brought about their downfall.

The loss to Northwestern marks the end of a long road trip that saw Notre Dame go 4-2, falling only to No. 17 Pittsburgh and the No. 15 Wildcats.

“With the past couple weeks, we’ve pretty much spent it all on the road, from being in California for a little more than a week and a half, coming back for a couple days, then going to Pittsburgh and then to Northwestern [Saturday],” Grenda said. “But, we’ve done really well week after week on the road.”

After hosting St. Bonaventure Saturday, the Irish will challenge Cleveland State Feb. 6 and Oakland Feb. 7.