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Men’s Swimming: Pair of weekend losses eclipse improved times

Joe Meixell | Monday, January 21, 2008

Notre Dame came into the season with high expectations but so far has failed to produce results, falling twice this weekend in dual meets.

Entering the weekend with a 3-4 record, the No. 24 Irish struggled at home against Louisville. After the 166-134 loss to the Cardinals for the first time in five years, the Irish headed to Evanston, Ill., to face No. 17 Northwestern. Notre Dame’s performance fell short, and the Irish lost to the Wildcats, 189-111.

Despite the losses, Irish coach Tim Welsh said the weekend showed improvement in his team.

“We swam a lot faster this weekend,” Welsh said. “If you think of the season as a process of getting faster, then we got better and swam well this weekend. If you look at the season and gauge your progress only based on wins and losses, then we didn’t improve this weekend.

“We look at the entire season as a process of improving and since it is getting close to championship time, our main goal is to become faster swimmers.”

Despite Friday’s home loss, Irish junior Michael Bulfin broke a school diving previously set by Andy Maggio in 2002 with a score of 387.45 in the 3-meter boards.

The Irish were quick, taking second place in most events, but Louisville swam faster. The only events the Irish dominated were the 1-meter and 3-meter board. The Irish took the top four spots in both events: Bulfin led, senior Sam Stoner took second, and freshman Eric Lex and senior Steven Crowe followed in third and fourth place in each event.

After less than 24 hours of rest, the Irish swimmers hit the road to compete against Northwestern. The results were comparable to those of Friday’s meet.

Sophomore John Lytle led the Irish, grasping first place in both the 50-yard and 100-yard free. Bulfin, again, took first in the 3-meter boards, while freshman Nathan Geary and Stoner finished in third and fourth place, respectively.

This weekend, the Irish will host the Shamrock dual meet, where they will face defending Big East champion West Virginia.

“This weekend is a major event for us,” Welsh said. “It’s our last home meet, it’s our last dual meet and for seniors, it’s their last meet in their home pool.”

The Irish will compete against unranked West Virginia at both 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday at Rolfs Aquatic Center.