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Men’s Swimming and Diving: Babcock looks to add to rich Irish tradition

Megan Golden | Wednesday, January 25, 2012

After a wild ride with the University’s Admissions Office, sophomore swimmer Colin Babcock distinctly remembers how it felt to be accepted to Notre Dame.

Babcock grew up in a house divided between Louisiana State and Notre Dame athletics.

The product of Saint Paul’s High School in New Orleans, La., Babcock’s uncles were constantly in his ear about the possibility of one day attending their alma mater and competing for the Irish.

During his senior year of high school, Babcock visited Louisiana State, William & Mary, and Notre Dame.

Following his visit to South Bend, he said his decision was a no-brainer, provided that he was accepted to the University.

“I was basically raised to go to this school,” he said. “It was ranked the No. 1 business school in the country, and who doesn’t love Notre Dame?”

When he spoke with the Notre Dame Admissions Office in April of his senior year, however, Babcock was informed that he had not been accepted to the school he had dreamed of attending for as long as he could remember.

“I took all the Notre Dame stuff off the wall. I kind of made a burn pile and I might have punched a hole in my wall, I can’t remember,” he said.

Just five hours later, Babcock received a phone call from Irish associate head coach Matt Tallman. Admissions had placed the Irish recruit on the list of rejections by mistake.

“I couldn’t speak. I was stammering on the phone,” Babcock said. “It was an awesome feeling. It was kind of like, ‘Alright I guess I’ll put [the posters] back up on the wall.'”

Babcock said he was attracted to Notre Dame in part because of his Catholic faith. Attending Basilica Mass as often as possible, he said his relationship with God plays a huge role in his everyday life.

“Sometimes when I’m really feeling down, [I think] I’m here for a reason. I wouldn’t have had such a weird experience with getting in if I wasn’t supposed to be here,” he said. “It’s really strenuous like finals week and exams, it’s like, ‘This is really stressful. I can’t handle it.’ I believe that God would tell me, ‘I’m putting you here for a reason. You can handle it.'”

An exceptional role model for the team’s 16 freshmen, Babcock’s passion for Irish sports became evident at an Irish volleyball match several months ago.

“The first match, I think the girls lost, so we were like, ‘We’ve got to pump these girls up,'” he said. “We ran to [our] locker room and put on our speedos. We put on eight articles of clothing. Every time the team scored three times, we took off an article of clothing. When it got to the end, the 25th [point], we ended up in our speedos and just ran around the court.”

Babcock said he is confident that his plan ultimately affected the outcome of the match.

“I’d like to say we’re the reason that they won,” he said. “I don’t know if they’ll admit that, but I’d like to think we got an assist for that.”

Aside from providing entertainment at volleyball matches, Babcock said he hopes to impact the lives of those he meets during his time at Notre Dame.

“[By my senior year] I would like to have made a difference,” he said. “I would like to leave here knowing that either I changed the school or my team, my dorm in a positive way. I’d like to say I did something.”

Last year, Babcock was a recipient of the Beeler-Hipp Award, which is presented annually to the freshman who best demonstrates vitality, competitiveness and love for Notre Dame. The award is named in honor of former Irish swimmers Meghan Beeler and Colleen Hipp, two freshmen who died in a bus accident Jan. 24, 1992.

“What all my coaches seem to have taught me is that you get out what you put in. Basically, whatever you want to do, you can do,” Babcock said. “I try to set the pace in every practice. I’m a fun-loving guy outside the pool, [but] I try to work as hard as I can every time I enter the pool.”

The Irish will host the Shamrock Invitational on Friday at Rolfs Aquatic Center.