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ND Swimming: USC comes to town to battle Irish

Chris Doyen | Friday, October 19, 2007

Before the football team faces USC in Notre Dame Stadium Saturday, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will take on the Trojans at Rolfs Aquatic Center today.

The meet will mark the first time the Irish have faced one of the most prestigious programs in college swimming in a dual meet.

“Several times we’ve tried to match up dates with the football game,” Irish men’s coach Tim Welsh said. “But we’re pretty far apart and swim in different conferences, so this is the first time we’ve been able to get a meet togeth-er. …

“They are a very experienced team. They always swim at a high level, and I think both teams will be ready to go.”

Sophomores John Lytle and Andrew Hoffman, junior Danny Lutkus, and senior Rob Seery will look to turn in strong performances coming off of a winning performance in the 400-yard freestyle relay two weeks ago at the Dennis Stark Relays. Junior diver Michael Bulfin and senior diver Sam Stoner will also try to carry momentum from their record-setting dives at the Stark Relays.

Welsh said he sees this meet with USC as the first big test of the season.

The Irish women will be squaring off against a Trojan squad that already has a meet under its belt. USC defeated conference foe Oregon State last Friday.

At that meet, three Trojan swimmers posted times good enough for NCAA consideration.

Junior Rachael Waller posted two of those times, while two-time NCAA champion in the 200-yard breaststroke junior Rebecca Soni and senior Whitney Hentzen had the others.

Junior Maggie Behrens, junior Christa Riggins and freshman Amywren Miller will need to turn in the types of performances that allowed them to dominate the Relays in order to compete with the stacked Trojan roster.

While the meet is coinciding with the ongoing football rivalry between the two schools, Welsh said, there are no plans made for future meetings.

“We’re thrilled USC is here, but neither team has made a commitment for the future,” Welsh said. “They’re one of the most storied teams in American swimming, and it’s an honor to have them swimming in our pool.”

The meet will begin at 5 p.m. at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.