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Men’s Swimming: Irish cruise to easy win

Dan Murphy | Monday, October 9, 2006

The Irish picked up where they left off last season with a dominating victory in the Dennis Starks Relays at the Rolfs Aquatic Center Friday night. Notre Dame blew the competition out of the water, outscoring all five other teams by at least 100 points.

The team racked up 264 points by winning 11 of the 13 relays. The next closest school, Oakland College, registered 158 points to sneak past Ball State by two points for second place out of the six teams in South Bend.

“We just wanted to give every guy a chance to race in that environment before we got started with our dual meets,” assistant coach Matt Tallman said. “It worked out well, and we were pretty happy with the results.”

The 200-yard freestyle team of Louis Cavadini, Tim Kegelman, John Lytle and Ray Toomey started the season off with a victory with a record-setting time of 1:25.46. The race was one of five record-breaking performances for the Irish in the meet.

The swimmers also set new marks in the 400-yard butterfly relay (3:23.76), 400-yard backstroke relay (3:28.36) and the 400-yard freestyle relay (3:07.01). Toomey, a freshman, was on three of the four relays in his collegiate debut.

“We are expecting [Toomey] to keep doing more of the same and just work hard everyday and he should really help us out this year,” Tallman said.

The fifth meet record came from diving duo sophomore Michael Bulfin and junior Sam Stoner. Their synchronized diving score of 244.20 placed them in the record books. The pair – who each received All-Big East honors last year – also combined for 643.35 points in the diving relay to win that event for Notre Dame as well.

The most impressive streak of the night came when the Irish swimmers rolled off seven consecutive first-place finishes starting with the 800-yard freestyle relay. Sophomore transfer Jeff Wood joined fellow sophomore Daniel Lutkus and juniors Jay Vanden Berg and Rob Seery to finish in just under seven minutes.

“We are pretty deep now,” Tallman said. “We have been able to bring in more quality guys over the years which has made each relay a little bit stronger.”

Vanden Berg and Seery also finished off Notre Dame’s streak with a win in the 1000-yard freestyle race. They raced to any easy victory, finishing 20 seconds ahead of Ball State’s Kyle Hembree and Ben Karwoski.

Oakland College, the only other club to win a race, stopped the hot streak with a win in the 200-yard medley by beating out the Irish team by less than a second.

The win was Notre Dame’s 10th in the past 11 years at the Dennis Stark Relays. The annual meet has been held in South Bend for 38 years, and the Irish have been the top squad in 22.