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Irish sweep meet with St. Bonnie’s

Jack Thornton | Monday, November 21, 2005

After two close road wins, the Irish returned home and resumed winning big Saturday night with a 203-92 victory over St. Bonaventure in Rolfs Aquatic Center.

From the first gun to the final relay, the Irish overwhelmed the Bonnies. Notre Dame’s swimmers touched the wall first in all 15 swimming events while the diving team went 1-2-3 in both the one-meter and three-meter diving.

The Irish would have won by an even larger margin, but after the first 10 races, much of the Irish team swam as exhibition competitors, making them ineligible for points.

“It was our last dual meet of the semester so it was nice to bring it home to to win big,” co-captain Patrick Heffernan said.

The Irish entered the meet coming off consecutive comeback road wins. On Nov. 4, the Irish rallied from down 23 points to beat rival Pittsburgh by one point. They followed that up the next week with a two-point victory over Michigan State.

The blowout win was fueled by a flurry of season-best times in individual events. Senior Doug Bauman and junior Ted Brown took team season-best times in the 100-yard backstroke and 200-yard butterfly, respectively.

Junior Tim Kegelman gave his best performances of the year in both the 200-yard butterfly and 200-yard medley while junior Justin Barber did so in the 500-yard freestyle.

Seniors Steve Shomberger and Chris Barnes also participated in the benchmark-setting, putting up season-best times in the 100-yard fly and the 100-yard freestyle, respectively.

“Chirs Barnes had a great win in the 100 freestyle,” Heffernan said. “He really stepped up in the 100 and won so it was exciting for him and for us.”

By swimming so many exhibition competitors, the Irish were also able to give several swimmers racing experience in less familiar events.

“We were able to move the lineup around a little bit and allow some guys to swim some new events this year or swim some events that weren’t really their main focus and they didn’t let up on those alternative events,” assistant coach Matt Tallman said.

The Irish are now 4-1 in dual meets this season. With no dual meets for the remainder of the semester, Notre Dame can now focus on its marque event, the Irish Invitational December 1-3.

“It’s kinda cool because it’s different from a dual meet; you get to swim a lot of different events and it has the ‘prelim’ set-up where you swim in the morning and then come back at night, so it’s got a championship feel, so it’s kinda like a direct rehersal for the Big East [Championship],” Heffernan said.

The Invitational is swam every year on the weekend after Thanksgiving break.

“We’re deeper [than last year],” Tallman said. “We did graduate some key guys, but we’ve got some new guys and since we didn’t graduate too many, we essentially have just one more year of experience.”

“I think we’re doing well,” Heffernan said. “We’ve still got some work to do before February but we’ll be ready.”