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MEN’S Swimming: No. 16 Notre Dame takes on 12 teams in tournament

Chris Hine | Friday, December 1, 2006

Things are looking up right now for the men’s swimming and diving team.

Notre Dame is off to a 4-0 start this fall in its dual meet schedule and is currently ranked No. 16 in the latest College Swim Coaches Association of America (CSCAA) poll – the highest ranking in the program’s history.

Head coach Tim Welsh, however, knows this can all change quickly.

“If we keep improving, the rankings will take care of themselves,” he said. “If we don’t, then they’ll go the other way.”

Notre Dame will have the chance this weekend to see how much it has improved over the last few months as it heads to Columbus to take part in the Ohio State Invitational.

The event will feature 12 teams, but only five universities will send both swimming and diving teams. Among them are two other CSCAA ranked teams. No. 7 Minnesota and No. 12 Ohio State round out the top-25 competition, while No. 18 Purdue – who the Irish defeated 156-144 in a dual meet Nov. 2 – will only send its diving team.

“We’re looking forward to the challenge,” Welsh said. “That’s why we came. We want to race in the fastest possible field and make our fastest swimmers work really hard.”

The meet will include 15 individual events and five relays, with the relays counting for twice as many points as the individual events.

“The format is the same for the Big East meet and the NCAAs,” associate head coach Matt Tallman said. “We’re trying to get everyone prepared for that.”

Leading the way for the Irish this year with seven individual wins is senior Ted Brown. Brown has excelled in a variety of events, spreading his seven wins over five different events – the 200-yard free, 200 IM, 200 fly, 500 free and 1,000 free.

Fellow senior Tim Kegelman also has seven wins overall, including five relay wins.

The Irish have also benefited from the performances of their new team members.

Sophomore Jeff Wood has five relay wins and individual wins in the 200-backstroke and 100-backstroke in dual meet competition, while freshman John Lytle has also has five relay wins to go along with dual meet wins in the 100 and 200-yard freestyle.

“I think from top to bottom, this is the best team we’ve had,” Tallman said.

Welsh said he tries not to let the early success get to the swimmers’ heads by critiquing their progress.

“Each guy has a list of things they can improve upon,” Welsh said. “There’s always room for improvement.”