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Men’s Swimming and Diving: Irish fall behind on Senior Night

Megan Golden | Sunday, January 29, 2012

Despite setting a new pool record, the Irish struggled to compete with Iowa in a 216-154 loss in the Shamrock Invitational on Senior Night.

Irish freshman Zachary Stephens recorded a time of 2:00.59 in the 200-yard breaststroke Saturday, officially inking his name into the Rolfs Aquatic Center record books. Stephens surpassed the previous pool record of 2:01.01, which was set in 1998.

Irish sophomore Frank Dyer said the freshman’s accomplishment did not come as a surprise to the young leader.

“A lot of people were kind of shocked, but I wasn’t really [surprised]. Zach is a quiet guy with a quiet confidence,” he said. “He came out and didn’t tell anybody, but he had it in his mind. He was kind of expecting it, but he didn’t know he would do it.”

Dyer said the feat is difficult to achieve, considering the talent that has passed through Rolfs Aquatic Center.

“To break a pool record at Notre Dame is pretty impressive because we have had a lot of talented teams come through here,” he said. “Being a freshman, he’s got a couple years to top that.”

Dyer earned gold in the 200-yard freestyle with a time of 1:37.50. This time qualifies as a NCAA B-cut, meaning Dyer will have a chance to compete in the NCAA championships. Dyer added an additional first-place finish in the 100-yard freestyle with a time of 44.47.

“I was pretty happy with how things went with this meet, especially so close to the Big East [championships]. Everyone was a little tired, and it kind of showed,” Dyer said. “I had to buckle down and say, ‘I’m still going to race and do my best. [The performance on day one] kind of brought a chip on my shoulder for the next day. A lot of the guys showed a lot of promise. We needed that one race before we went to [the championships].”

Irish freshmen Nick Nemetz and Michael Kreft recorded second and third place finishes, respectively, on the 3-meter boards.

The 800-yard freestyle relay team of Dyer and juniors Bill Bass, John McGinley and Kevin Overholt also earned an NCAA B-cut.

Dyer said this particular senior day differed from last year’s because not all of the seven Irish seniors will move on to Big East competition.

“Yesterday was their last meet — forever — I guess,” he said. “[It was] good to see the camaraderie we have on this team. It was sad, I’m going to be honest. Your parents are there, and you get to send your seniors off the right way. We all knew when the last race was for everyone, so we gave them all a nice little applause.”

While the team’s focus is on postseason competition, Dyer said the underclassmen have learned from the senior class and have high expectations for next season.

“Next year we’ll definitely have a lot of good guys returning,” he said. “We’ll be much stronger next year because a lot of guys who are going to [the championships] will be returning. While we are focused right now on [the championships], we have a bright future and a lot of guys returning.”

Notre Dame will take on a wide field of competitors at the Big East championships on Feb. 10.


Contact Megan Golden at [email protected]