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Men’s Swimming: Long layoff before Big East title meet

Chris Doyen | Wednesday, February 13, 2008

With 32 days in between the regular season-ending Shamrock Invitational and the Big East championships, it takes some dedication to stay focused – and, more importantly, to stay fast.

With most of that downtime now behind the team, Notre Dame is looking to capitalize on the work it has done by staying sharp and making sure no one is worn out for the event in East Meadow, N.Y., on Feb. 20.

Sophomore John Lytle, who has consistently scored points for the Irish in freestyle events this season, said preparation involves more than just the physical side of practice.

“We are slowly decreasing our workout intensity in order to be physically ready to race,” Lytle said. “But at the same time we are mentally preparing ourselves more each day.”

Preparation for the Big East meet is of the utmost importance for the team. The competition represents a culmination of all the practices, workouts, dual meets and invitationals that have led up to this point.

“The Big East meet is our biggest and fastest meet of the year,” Lytle said. “And we are all excited to see our hard work from the season pay off.”

On the diving side, the Irish could get some important contributions from multiple competitors. Junior diver Michael Bulfin, who ended the regular season with school record-breaking performances in the final two meets, will lead a confident group into the event.

“Diving is going to play a big role in this meet,” Bulfin said. “The diving team has the potential to give the swimmers a very large lead to work with and aid them in bringing the Big East championship home. We’ve been practicing well, and all the guys are pretty confident and ready to head to New York.”

The divers’ confidence is well founded. Irish divers dominated their Big East foes throughout the regular season.

Confidence alone, however, will not be enough to bring home the title.

“It is not a meet we are going to be able to walk away with unless everyone is swimming and diving well,” Bulfin said. “So we’ve been making the necessary steps in practice to get us prepared to win another Big East championship.”