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Men’s Swimming and Diving: Squad defeats Utah at Rolf’s

Maija Gustin | Tuesday, November 16, 2010

An enthusiastic and supportive crowd can make all the difference in a competitive swim meet, as evidenced in Notre Dame’s victory over Utah in front of a packed, standing-room-only crowd Friday.

Backed by a supportive crowd on family day, the Irish took down the Utes, 184-116, earning a win in 13 of 16 events.

Irish coach Tim Welsh said the energetic crowd helped the team to its victory.

“It was a very spirited, high energy meet from start to finish,” Welsh said. “There was a great crowd and great enthusiasm. That helps us swim better.”

Senior captain Mike Sullivan took the first win for Notre Dame in the 1,000-yard freestyle. He clocked in at 9:33, while sophomore Wesley Mullins followed in third overall at 9:48. Junior Petar Petrovic and freshman Bertie Nel swam the 100-yard backstroke in 51.31 and 51.58, respectively, to earn first and second for the Irish.

Sophomore Mason Weber secured another win for the Irish in the 100-yard breaststroke, followed by sophomore Christopher Johnson in second. Seniors Christopher Wills and Steven Brus finished in first and third at 1:53:28 and 1:53:47, respectively, in the 200 yard butterfly in one of the tighter races of the meet.

Freshman Frank Dyer earned two more Irish wins in the 50-yard and the 100-yard freestyle events. Senior Joseph Raycroft secured another first-place finish in the 200-yard breaststroke, followed by senior Peter Koppel in third.

The Irish swept all of the meet’s diving events. Senior diver Eric Lex won both the 1-meter and 3-meter, while senior Wes Villaflor finished second in the 1-meter and third in the 3-meter. Senior Nate Geary second in the 1-meter and third place in the 3-meter.

After a competitive meet against Purdue on Nov. 6, where the Boilermakers defeated the Irish 173-127, the Irish put in the work to prepare for Utah.

“We swam well against Purdue, so it was not a question of swimming well [against Utah],” Welsh said. “We swam well both weeks. Part of our idea and hope is that we improve from week to week. We continue to see that happening.”

Welsh was quick to point out that the Irish had more than a home-pool advantage.

“They [Utes] do most of their competing and all of their training at altitude,” Welsh said. “When you get to sea level, things are different. To be fair, we’d have to compare ourselves to them at altitude.”

 In Friday’s meet against Utah, Welsh particularly credited the senior class for leading the team to victory.

“What I was happiest to see is our senior class racing really well,” Welsh said. “That was the last two-team dual meet in the pool of the season. To see the seniors swimming well was very gratifying — the divers, too.”

The Irish will not compete again in their home pool until late January at the Shamrock Invitational. The team hits the road on Dec. 3 for the Iowa Invitational, where they will compete against Iowa and Denver.