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Men’s Swimming: Notre Dame takes second at Big East tournament

Matthew Robison | Monday, February 21, 2011

For the second consecutive season, Notre Dame finished as the runner-up in the Big East championships behind Louisville, who hosted this year’s tournament, as swimmers set six school records in the four-day event.

“The team performed quite well,” Irish coach Tim Welsh said. “I measure this by lifetime best times: in terms of the number of personal best times, lifetime best times. We had those all over the place.”

The previous weekend, Notre Dame captured first place in the diving portion of the championships. So going into the swimming section, the Irish had a lead. However, a strong conference field and a swift Louisville team overcame that lead.

“It’s always a very intense meet,” Welsh said. “Louisville is very strong and they have been for a number of years.”

Louisville took the crown with 917 points. The Irish finished with 713.5, ahead of Pittsburgh at 503 and West Virginia at 470 in the 11-team field.

“There’s some improvement throughout the conference,” Welsh said. “I thought that the field did a very nice job as well.”

All five Notre Dame relay teams met the NCAA consideration standard, and several individuals met the requirements as well.

The most impressive overall performance of the event was turned in by freshman Frank Dyer. With a strong season already under his belt, Dyer came into the championships and claimed four Big East honors and a chance to compete in the NCAA tournament.

“That was just spectacular,” Welsh said. “His season has just been one wonderful achievement after another. He just had a marvelous, marvelous meet.”

Other than Dyer, several other Notre Dame swimmers made notable performances in individual events.

In the 200-yard backstroke, junior Petar Petrovic took fourth place and senior Michael Sullivan took fifth.

Behind them were senior Christopher Wills in seventh and freshman Bertie Nel in eighth.

In an event in which Dyer finished third, sophomore Kevin Overholt took sixth in the 100-yard freestyle. Sophomore Bill Bass took fifth in the 200-yard butterfly.

Up next for the Irish who have qualified are the NCAA Zone Diving Championships March 11-13 in Columbus, Oh., and the NCAA Championships held March 24-26 in Minneapolis.