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



Men’s Swimming and Diving: Irish ready for Copa Coqui

Jonathan Warren | Tuesday, December 6, 2011

For the third Winter Break in a row, the Irish will train and compete at the Copa Coqui collegiate swim meet in San Juan, Puerto Rico on Jan. 6.

“The Copa Coqui is a refreshing meet for us,” Irish Coach Tim Welsh said. “We come back energized. It’s both a meet and a break from training for us.”

The Irish do not know which teams they will swim against yet as the list of competitors is not final, but Welsh says the field usually includes both American and Puerto Rican teams.

“We’re able to go this meet as we are,” Welsh said. “We don’t take any special preparations or back off our training intensity.”

The meet is different than any other the Irish participate in this season. It features a 10-person relay to end the meet and gives fruit as a reward to the winners. The Irish will compete for their third consecutive fruit-winning relay performance.

“The style of this meet is unlike anything we do in the U.S.,” Welsh said. “I like its festive quality. It has luxurious hospitality and has had mariachi bands and other forms of entertainment perform in the past.”

Once classes end, the team continues to train until Dec. 20, when most swimmers head home. The swimmers return to campus on Dec. 28 before leaving for Puerto Rico on Jan. 2. The Irish will train in Puerto Rico before the meet and will resume practice upon returning to South Bend for the spring portion of their season.

“It’s the longest time where we can just train without classes, tests, papers or distractions,” Welsh said. “It’s all about how hard can we work and train in that time period.”

Welsh said the team will use the training period to further improve their times and team chemistry.

“As happy as we are with our results this past meet, we want to be faster,” Welsh said. “We want to do the work and preparation during this training period to achieve those faster times come February and March.”

The team’s success at last weekend’s Iowa Invitational, including a first place finish by sophomore Frank Dyer in the 200-meter freestyle and second place finish in the 100-meter breaststroke by junior Christopher Johnson grants the Irish confidence, though they do not know who they are up against.

“That was huge meet for us,” Welsh said. “Building off last weekend is vital to what we can accomplish this season. It takes a while for a young group to be a cohesive team, but because we performed well, our molding into a unified team was accelerated.”

The Irish hope to keep accelerating, both in the pool and as a team, during winter break. According to Welsh, the training opportunity the Jan. 6 Copa Coqui provides will be another step in that direction.



Contact Jonathan Warren at [email protected]