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ND Swimming and Diving: Teams travel to West Lafayette

Molly Sammon | Friday, November 6, 2009

The Irish women’s and men’s squads will be looking for important dual meet victories as both teams travel to take on Purdue today in West Lafayette.

“It is our first meet on the road this season, and a big challenge,” men’s coach Tim Welsh said. “We will want to evaluate where we are in handling big challenges on the road after this meet, and since all of our major championships are on the road also, we want to become a great racing team on the road.”

After their only loss of the season so far against Michigan, the Irish men’s swimming and diving teams are looking to the Boilermakers for a win to re-establish their reputation against Big-10 opponents, as they will also face Michigan State, Ohio State and Northwestern before the season’s conclusion. 

“This is one of the tougher meets we have this season,” freshman breaststroker Chris Johnson said. “It’ll give us a good indication of how the rest of our season might pan out.”

Competition will be stiff in the diving area for today’s meet, as Boilermaker and Olympian diver David Boudia will make an Irish victory challenging in both the one-meter and three-meter diving competitions.

Since the beginning of team practices about two months ago, practices have gotten increasingly more intense and have certainly not changed this week in preparation for a hopeful win against Purdue.

“Our practices have been hard, challenging, and event specific since Fall Break all in the effort to help our team members improve,” Welsh said. “At this point in the season, improvement from week to week is the name of the game for us.”

The women’s team is still searching for their first dual meet victory of the season. So far, they have had two tough losses to Michigan, but have proven they own the ability to put points on the board as their winning times showed at the Dennis Stark Relays.

“The girls are pretty hungry to compete,” women’s coach Brian Barnes said. “I believe this to be a very balanced team in regard to all four stroke events and relays.”

The Purdue women’s team is undefeated so far this season, claiming first place at the Indiana Intercollegiate meet and a win over Miami University.

“Purdue is a strong team, but we have beaten them every year since I’ve been at Notre Dame,” senior captain Megan Farrell said. “Our advantage when we face Purdue is that we have a lot of depth in the majority of the events we will race in.”

The Irish have hopes of benefiting greatly due to the different format of the advent, which could be a strong advantage.

“This meet is a 16-event format featuring 200 distances rather than just 100s,” Farrell said. “We tend to be stronger in middle distance events on the whole so this is to our advantage.”

Though it is merely the beginning of the season for the women’s team, an early dual- meet victory against one of the toughest opponents they will see all season will be a great confidence boost.

“This meet will be a good way for us to gauge our progress so far this season and will give us some insight as to how our training has been preparing us for race day.”

The meet begins at 5:30 p.m. today at West Lafayette’s Boilermaker Aquatic Center.