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Men’s Swimming: Diver makes a splash in team record books

Ellyn Michalak and Chris Doyen | Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Junior diver Michael Bulfin is a natural-born diver, but he didn’t begin exercising his talent until the age of 13.

“I got into diving through a friend who was on the local club team. I visited the coach one day and jumped off some platforms and decided I could get used to it,” Bulfin said.

Shortly after learning of his innate ability to dive, Bulfin attended St. Aquinas High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The team won four state championships with Bulfin on the roster and has sent three swimmers to the Olympics in recent years. During his four years at St. Aquinas, he set every school diving record.

His decision to attend Notre Dame was influenced by his family background, academics and the chance to be under the instruction of Notre Dame diving coach Caiming Xie.

“My dad graduated from here, and my sister attended here as well,” Bulfin said. “Academically it is a privilege to attend here. That, coupled with the fact that Caiming Xie coached an Olympic gold medalist and is one of the most distinguished coaches in the world, made it hard to pass up.”

Bulfin has made the most of his opportunities at Notre Dame by setting and then again breaking the school record in the 3-meter dive (393.97) in consecutive weeks, a record which was previously held by Irish diver Andy Maggio, who graduated in 2003. Bulfin’s family was there to see the diver achieve success.

“It was great breaking those records,” Bulfin said. “My parents were at the meet the first time I did it, so that made it even better. The goal in my sport is to consistently improve, and I think our team is doing a great job at that.”

But Irish coach Tim Welsh said Bulfin’s great diving ability is more than just talent. Welsh said he is a diver with a great work ethic that focuses on the team.

“He is reaching a peak at exactly the right time. He earns his success and practices very hard every day. He’s got a great spirit about him and he loves to dive. You can see it when he competes,” Welsh said. “We’re very proud of the success he’s had. And hopefully it will continue for the next couple of months.”

The Irish and Bulfin ended the regular season in victorious fashion, but there is still work to be done with the Big East championships just three weeks away.

“We’re starting to really focus on some fundamentals right now,” Bulfin said. “It is important that we are doing the little things right. Next week we will start to go big on the boards again.”

After careful work and preparation, Bulfin and his teammates will head into the Big East meet with a 4-6 record, looking to reclaim the title that they won in 2005 and 2006.

“The Big East competition is going to be tough this year, but I think Notre Dame has a great shot at winning it,” Bulfin said. “As a diving team everyone is performing great, so I don’t think it is too far of a stretch to think that we could put six guys in the finals this year.”