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Men’s Swimming: Divers deliver gold, swimmers to compete

Megan Finneran | Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Irish brought home the gold in both diving events this weekend when freshman Nick Nemetz swept the competition. Now, the swimmers look to follow in Nemetz’s footsteps.

The Big East championships continue this afternoon, transitioning from diving events to swimming. The Irish (6-4) come off a rest period of more than two weeks, during which they tapered practice in preparation for this competition. With the normal season over, the Irish will attempt to add to Nemetz’s trophy haul at Trees Pool in Pittsburgh as they face defending champion Louisville and the rest of the Big East.

“We got to Pitt a few days early to settle in and swim a few times in their pool to get a feel for it,” junior Chris Johnson said. “We’re gearing up for an intense week and we’re ready for that.”

Going into the championships, four members of the Irish hold top-three times in various events.

Sophomore Frank Dyer leads the Irish in many events and has proven himself as a top competitor, winning the Big East Men’s Athlete of the Week award twice in the course of the season. He stands second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.19 seconds, only one second behind No. 1 Brendon Andrews from Louisville. Dyer also holds top time in the 200-yard freestyle, the second best in the 500-yard freestyle, and the third best in the 100-yard freestyle.

Freshman James McEldrew holds the third spot in both the 1,000-yard freestyle at 9:21.53 and the 1,650-yard freestyle at 15:44.39. Joining him are freshman Patrick Olson, with the second best time in the 400-yard individual medley with a time of 3:56.30, and Johnson, who holds the third best time in the 100-yard breaststroke, clocking in at 55.23.

On the relay front, the Irish team of Dyer, junior Kevin Overholt, junior John McGinley and freshman Zach Stephens head in with the best time in the 400-yard freestyle, a spot they hope to preserve at the end of the week.

“The most important thing is to swim fast,” Johnson said. “If everyone can go out and drop time, that’s great. If we can do that, the rest falls into place. Coming home with a title would be great.”

This weekend’s events aside, the Irish already have four provision qualifiers for the NCAA championships — Dyer, Johnson, Overholt and McGinley.

“This is what we’ve been training all year for and we’re ready,” Johnson said. “Here we come.”

The championships kick off tonight with relays beginning at 6 p.m. Tomorrow the Irish will compete in the preliminary races starting at 10 a.m. with the 500-yard freestyle.


Contact Megan Finneran at [email protected]