The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Men’s Swimming: Brown works hard in the water and in class

Jack Thornton | Thursday, October 13, 2005

Since Ted Brown entered Notre Dame as a freshman in 2003, he has been honored with the Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp Award, twice been named an honorable mention Academic All-American, presented a paper in front of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists and maintained a 3.626 GPA.

And he swam a little in between.

The amount of swimming the 6-foot-2 junior does proves his value to the defending Big East Champion men’s team. Brown raced in nine different events last year, making him one of the most versatile swimmers on the team.

“He’s right in the middle of things,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “He’s a University record- holder, and he’s been one of our top two or three scorers every year he’s been here.”

Brown currently holds the school record in the 500-yard freestyle with a time of 4:25.83 and ranks in the top-five in school history in the 1,000 freestyle, 200 freestyle and 400 individual medley, as well as top 10 in the 1,650 freestyle.

Brown contributes more to the team than just his blazing speed.

“He’s a workout leader,” Welsh said. “He’s not only a workhorse on meet days, he’s a workhorse on training days too. He sets a very high performance standard in practice every day.

“We’re better because if you want to keep up with Ted, you gotta go pretty fast.”

Junior Tim Kegelman has spent his entire career at Notre Dame keeping up with Ted.

“He’s really unique,” Kegelman said. “He’s just really positive about everything, even swimming when it’s hard or school work when it gets tough.”

Brown says he picked up his work ethic from his father, who swam at Princeton, but he discovered a passion for swimming himself.

“My dad is my role model, and I look up to him as someone who does his best at everything he does,” Brown said. “He didn’t push me into swimming, he merely introduced me into swimming, and with that introduction, I immediately fell in love with the pool. I love waking to the smell of chlorine.”

In 2004, Brown won the Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp Award, given to an outstanding freshman who best exemplifies vitality, competitiveness and love for Notre Dame.

The award is named after the two swimmers who died in 1993 in a bus accident.

“He has spirit with everything,” Welsh said. “He is growing to embody what we want to be. He’s pure, he’s honest, he’s gentle, he’s a fierce competitor, driven academically.

“Stop me when I say something that’s not Notre Dame-like.”

Indeed, the central Indiana native does not stop working hard when he crosses Juniper Road back to the main part of campus.

“I’m doing three research projects, one in biology, one in anthropology and one in clinical medicine,” said Brown, who is a member of Notre Dame’s Academic Honors Program for Student-Athletes and will take the MCATs in April.

“I’ve always wanted to be a doctor,” Brown said. “But since I’ve started doing research, especially my biology research under Professor Martin Tenniswood, I’ve come to more appreciate the research side of medicine, and in an ideal world, I would love to be a professor and also be a doctor.”

Brown’s intense work schedule is the subject of much joking in the locker room.

“We give him garbage for being at the Library on a Friday night, but he takes it with a grain of salt, so he’s a good sport about it,” co-captain Patrick Heffernan said.

Brown, who counts the team’s annual “Speedo Run” among his favorite Notre Dame memories, says it’s all about maintaining balance.

“What’s most important is finding a balance between academics, athletics and just hanging out with the guys – that’s the key to finding happiness in life and getting the most out of Notre Dame experience.”

Still, the ribbing doesn’t stop with the work ethic.

“We tease him for being from Kokomo, Ind., so he’s not quite a townie, but he’s from Kokomo, so just about,” Heffernan said.

Like any good Midwesterner, this eternal optimist is quick to defend his hometown.

“One cool fact about Kokomo is that we have the most fast food restaurants per capita in the world,” Brown said.

“The guys give me a rough time because they say I grew up in a little box in Kokomo, Ind., but after we swim Purdue in a couple weeks, I’m gonna have the guys over to my house, and I’m positive they’re gonna fall in love with Kokomo.”

Whether Brown can sell the swimming and diving team on the fast food capital of the world, the squad is already sold on Brown.

“Just what makes Ted special is Ted, just the human being he is, and that’s what we love,” Welsh said.