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ND Swimming: Irish host annual 45th Dennis Stark Relays

Molly Sammon | Friday, October 9, 2009

The Irish will commence the 2009-10 season Friday by hosting five teams at the Rolfs Aquatic Center for the 45th annual Dennis Stark Relays, the first of seven home meets this season.

With eleven relay events and two diving events for some of the best regional competition, Friday’s meet will feature the best swimmers on the Notre Dame roster.

“The addition of the University of Michigan is a major addition to the Meet,” men’s coach Tim Welsh said. “Michigan is one of the leading men’s teams in the nation. We will be proud to have them here at our meet.”

Illinois State, Valparaiso, Oakland, and Cleveland State will also be competing against the Irish and the Wolverines.

Last year the Irish won both the men’s and women’s competitions, as the men set meet records in the 200 and 400 Free Relays and the women swept all 10 relays and both diving events

As this is the first event of the season for the Irish, all the team has in terms of measuring itself against its opponents is roughly one month of structured team practices.

“We are in a major work phase of training right now, both in the pool and in the weight room and dry land,” Welsh said. “That training has continued this week.”

Last year, the climax of the Irish men’s swim season was their close upset win over Louisville at the Big East Conference meet. This year, they have set the bar higher with hopes of reaching the NCAA Championship meet at the end of the season.

“We want to evaluate where we are in the middle of all this hard work by looking at our meet results from Friday,” Welsh said. “In academic terms, [The Dennis Stark Relays] are like an early quiz, not yet a final exam.”

The meet is named after former Notre Dame coach, Dennis Stark who will be in attendance on Friday. Stark, a 1947 graduate of Notre Dame, began both the Irish men’s and women’s swimming programs, and coached for 27 years.

The Dennis Stark relays start at 5 p.m. on Friday.


u Welsh recently was voted and named the President of the American Swimming Coaches Association. As he enters his 35th season as a collegiate swim coach, Welsh took the position to advocate leadership in coaching positions and improving the swimming community.