The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Notre Dame set to open home slate

Joe Meixell | Thursday, October 30, 2008

Notre Dame welcomes Big East foe Pittsburgh (1-0) tonight for its first home meet of the season. Races begin at 5:00 p.m. at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.

“This is one of great dual-meet rivalries in the Big East, and we look forward to it every year,” Notre Dame coach Tim Welsh said. “Pittsburgh is a well-coached team and very competitive. We enjoy going head-to-head with them and we’re excited to have the team in our pool.”

The Irish last faced the Panthers in November of last year, with Notre Dame claiming a 169-131 win on the back of individual victories in nine of 16 events.

Juniors MacKenzie LeBlanc and John Lytle each won individual events, with LeBlanc finishing tops in the 200-yard fly (1:51.83) and the 500 freestyle (4:36.87). Lytle took first in the 50 freestyle (0:21.20) alongside first-place finishes in the 100 free (0:45.60) and the 200 free relay (1:24.60).

It was the fourth straight victory against Pittsburgh for the Irish. Notre Dame is 4-4 all-time against the Panthers under Welsh.

Last week, the Irish dropped their first match of the season 159.5-126.5 against rival USC in Los Angeles. Notre Dame senior Daniel Rave, along with LeBlanc and Lytle, won individual events.

Rave finished first in the 200 breaststroke (2:08.94), while Lytle tied for first in the 200 yard freestyle with Trojan Zoltan Povazsay, who represented his native Hungary at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. LeBlanc claimed first in the 200 butterfly (1:52.16).

The College Swimming Coaches Association of America recognized six former and current Irish swimmers and divers for academic and athletic excellence. Rave, graduate Steven Crowe, Lytle, graduate Sam Stoner, sophomore Patrick Augustyn and sophomore Steven Brus each earned Honorable Mention All-Academic nods from the CSCAA.

“We were very pleased and proud of our men for their great academic accomplishments last year,” Welsh said. “With the 2007-08 season being one of our finest in terms of academics, it is nice to be recognized for those efforts and it serves as even more encouragement to perform just as well, or even better, in the years to come.”

Notre Dame finished with a team-average 3.32 GPA, fifth in the nation.