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Team posts 3 wins over the weekend

Rama Gottumukkala | Monday, January 31, 2005

Emotionally-draining losses usually set up two scenarios for a team. One, it can fold and drop a contest that should have been within its grasp. Or two, a team can dig deep and make a statement in its following competition.This weekend, Notre Dame proved its mettle, falling into the second scenario. Swimming with passion, the No. 21 Irish erased any lingering doubts following their heart-breaking loss to No. 14 Northwestern last Saturday. Posting three solid victories on the road, Notre Dame (9-2) swept past both Cleveland State (8-3) and Canisius (0-10) on Friday and St. Bonaventure (6-4) on Saturday.”We wanted it to be [a statement swim],” head coach Tim Welsh said. “We talked after finishing our meet last week about how the rest of our season was on the road and the [Big East] Championships were on the road. In the Championships, we race at night and the following morning so we wanted to be able to race well one night and then again the following morning.” The Irish set four Reilly Center Pool records en route to a 150-87 victory against St. Bonaventure on Saturday afternoon. Finishing first in all 11 swimming events and both diving competitions, Notre Dame showed few signs of fatigue after its Friday dual-meet. Junior Doug Bauman, junior Patrick Davis and freshman Jay VandenBerg set individual pool records in the 200-yard backstroke (1 minute, 51.02 seconds), the 500-yard freestyle (4:38.80) and the 1,000-yard freestyle (9:23.51). The 400-yard medley relay team of Bauman, junior Tyler Grenda, sophomore Tim Kegelman and senior Frank Frakowski rounded out the Irish quartet of pool records, with a time of 3:26.52.”What’s interesting is the symmetrical-ness of it all,” Welsh said. “Northwestern set four pool records against us on Saturday and then we went out and set four pool records against St. Bonaventure this Saturday.”The Irish propelled themselves to a quick start, leading 29-6 after two events. Notre Dame won the 400 medley relay by more than six seconds in the first race of the meet, breaking the pool record.”The ‘get a good start and increase your lead’ philosophy works every time but it’s just hard to do,” Welsh said. The margin would only widen from there. Sophomore Louis Cavadini and senior David Moisan took the two top spots in the 200-yard freestyle race with times of 1:44.87 and 1:45.98, respectively.Saturday’s competition wasn’t the only source for individual Irish accolades. Sophomore Ted Brown (9:22.88) and Davis (9:25.02) also posted the two fastest unshaved 1,000-yard freestyle times in Irish history during Friday’s meet at Cleveland State.En route to their 137-101 victory against Cleveland State and a 172-53 win against Canisius, the Irish again got off to a quick start. The team won seven of the first nine races to set the pace early.After sweeping through the weekend’s meets, the Irish also clinched their eighth winning season in the last 10 years.”Obviously, a winning record is where we start from and we’d like to do that every year,” Welsh said. “Our focus this year has been really on getting ready for the Championships. If we race well along the way, a winning record is what comes with it.”Notre Dame only has one more regular-season meet ahead – a road meet at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. Beyond that meet, the Big East Championships loom. And with all the success the Irish have achieved this season, they’ll be hungry to make one final statement on the season.”The excitement mounts,” Welsh said. “We are in a countdown until the start of the Big East Championship. And yet the meet Saturday at Oakland is an important preparation meet for us. We think that there’s plenty to get done to make sure we’re as ready as possible for our Big East Championship run.”