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Irish place second at Big East Championship

Matt Puglisi | Monday, February 23, 2004

Records are made to be broken.The Irish cracked eight school records and posted an all-time Big East Championship high of 584 points en route to a second place finish behind No. 16 Pittsburgh at the conference championships in East Meadow, N.Y., this weekend.The runner-up finish snaps a streak of three consecutive fourth-place finishes at the annual meet for the Irish.”We had a lot of great swims and broke a lot of school records this weekend,” freshman Tim Kegelman said. “Our ultimate goal was to win to the meet, but we just couldn’t overcome Pittsburgh’s diving.”Kegelman piloted the attack on the Irish record book with a pair of all-time marks in the 200-yard individual medley and the 100-yard butterfly.”We do a lot of different training in a lot of different areas, which helped with the individual medley,” Kegelman said. “The [butterfly] record just came from training.”In addition to Kegelman, freshman Ted Brown (500-yard freestyle), sophomores Doug Bauman (100-yard backstroke and 200-yard backstroke), Steve Shomberger (200-yard backstroke) and a trio of relay teams – 200-yard freestyle, 200-yard medley and 800-yard freestyle relays – all claimed school records.In recognition for guiding the burgeoning Irish from fourth to second place at the Big East Championships, Welsh was named the Big East Coach of the Year.”He’s really a great motivator and gets the teams focused on what we need to do,” Kegelman said. “He keeps the attitude positive and is very encouraging.”Behind a couple of third-place performances by Kegelman (200-yard individual medley) and Brown (500-yard freestyle) and a trio of fourth place finishes by sophomore Jaime Lutkus (200-yard individual medley), freshman Scott Coyle (three-meter board) and the 200-yard freestyle relay team (Kegelman, freshman Tim Randolph, sophomore Doug Bauman and junior Frank Krakowski), the Irish found themselves in third place with 169.5 points, behind both Pittsburgh (234) and Virginia Tech (191.5), at the end of action Thursday. Kegleman’s record was set in the 200-yard individual medley preliminaries while both Brown’s and the 200-yard freestyle relay team’s came in the event finals.The strong performance continued for the Irish Friday as a one-two finish in the 400-yard individual medley by sophomore Jaime Lutkus and junior David Moisan, respectively, helped catapult Notre Dame into second place, 112 points behind the Panthers and 21.5 points ahead of the Hokies. In addition, Kegelman finished second in the 100-yard butterfly, the 800-yard freestyle relay team (Brown, freshman Brian Freeman, junior Matt Bertke and senior co-captain Matt Obringer) took third, and both the 200-yard medley relay squad (Kegleman, Randolph, Bauman and Krakowski) and Obringer (200-yard freestyle) claimed fourth.The record-breaking whirlwind touched down once again Saturday as both Bauman and Shomberger eclipsed the school mark in the 200-yard backstroke to finish second and fourth, respectively. Sophomores Patrick Davis (1,650 freestyle) and Tyler Grenda (200-yard breaststroke) each chipped in as Davis finished second and Grenda came in fifth.The fight for second place between the Irish and the Hokies came down to the 400-yard freestyle relay with the Irish needing only a ninth place finish to clinch second place. The relay squad (Krakowski, Obringer, freshman Louis Cavadini and junior Drew Pittman) delivered, finishing sixth and securing a second place finish for Notre Dame for the first time since 1999.As is the case with the women, the future for the Irish remains somewhat hazy. While Coyle will compete in the NCAA Zone C diving meet March 12-13 in Bloomington, Ind., the Irish are unsure if any of their three potential NCAA Championships participants – Kegelman, Brown and Obringer – will be invited. A decision should come in the next two weeks.