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Irish claim Invitational title

Rama Gottumukkala | Monday, December 6, 2004

As the rest of the students on campus brace themselves for finals week, the men’s swim team faced a final exam of its own this weekend.

Turning in a dominating performance at the annual Notre Dame Invitational, a three-day championship-style meet that closed out the team’s fall semester campaign, the No. 21 Irish seized the top spot with 2,709.5 points, more than 1,000 points more than the next closest competitor, West Virginia.

“We knew we had to go in there early and assert our dominance,” senior captain Matt Bertke said.

Sophomore Tim Kegelman performed brilliantly for the Irish, setting two pool and meet records and posting several NCAA qualification times during the meet’s events. Kegelman won the 100-yard butterfly in 48.11 seconds on Friday, good enough for an NCAA “B” qualification. He followed up the performance by posting a time of 1:47.53 in the 200-yard butterfly, also good enough for a meet and pool record. On Thursday, Kegelman posted a NCAA “B” qualifying time in the 200-yard individual medley.

“[Tim Kegelman] got up there and just had some amazing swims,” Bertke said. “He broke two records while swimming some extremely fast times that people haven’t done before on our team. Anytime anybody steps up and has some big swims, it can be a rallying point for the rest of the team.”

Senior Frank Krakowski also performed well for the Irish, winning the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 45.72 and helping the 400-yard freestyle relay close out the meet with a victory. Krakowski, Kegelman, sophomore Louis Cavadini and junior Tim Randolph took first place in the 400-yard freestyle race, posting a time of 3:01.75.

Other first-place finishers for the Irish in Saturday’s events included sophomore Chris Zeches in the 1,650 freestyle (15:42.65) and junior Doug Bauman in the 200-yard backstroke (1:49.53). Bauman also notched a win in the 100-yard backstroke earlier in the meet.

“I was impressed by how we had so many guys who were rested – and guys who weren’t rested – that stepped up and really had some great swims,” Bertke said.

The Irish divers also performed well at the meet, as freshman Sam Stoner finished first in the one-meter board competitions. Stoner took first place with 273.80 points. Sophomore Scott Coyle matched his efforts won the three-meter event, helping the Irish rack up valuable points from the diving competitions.

“Our divers are a young squad but it seems like every meet, they get better,” Bertke said. “I’m proud of our divers and we definitely need them if we’re going to come through for the rest of the season.”

This weekend’s victory caps off an impressive fall campaign for the Irish, who notched a big win over then-No.17 Pittsburgh, the eight-time defending Big East Champion, and achieved their first-ever national ranking. With over a month until their next dual-meet, the Irish have much to be thankful for. Just don’t expect them to satisfied with their early season success.

“We’d like to be just as, if not more, successful than this semester,” Bertke said. “You want to be happy with what you did in the first semester, but you don’t want to be content. I’d like to give my team an ‘A’ but I’d almost rather give them a ‘B’ just so they want to work harder and improve it. We still definitely want to improve in the second semester.”