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Men’s Swimming: Dyer’s record-setting times give ND lead in Big East

Megan Golden | Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Irish entered the second day of the Big East championships on Thursday with a solid lead over Pittsburgh and Louisville and built on that lead with strong swimming across all events. Sophomore Frank Dyer’s record performance gave Notre Dame a 406-330.5 first-place lead over the Cardinals.

Just a day after leading an Irish relay team to a school record, Dyer set a new Big East record with a time of 4:18.50 in the 500-yard freestyle. Notre Dame freshman Brennan Jacobsen earned second place in the race at 4:24.28.

Irish head coach Tim Welsh said Dyer stands out among others, even against the best opposition in the conference.

“He beat his own meet record from last year, and he broke the pool record from 1993. His time is one of the very, very fastest times in the country. Frank’s just having a terrific meet,” Welsh said. “The thing about Frank is he earns it. He does everything the right way, which does not mean it’s easy, but he earns his success. He trusts what he does. He’s a great competitor.”

Irish junior Bill Bass earned the gold medal in the 200-yard individual medley. The Irish trio of freshmen Cameron Miller and Zachary Stephens and sophomore Colin Babcock also finished in the top six.

Defending champion Louisville controlled the top four spots in the 50-yard freestyle, and West Virginia rounded out the top-six.

“[Louisville is] loaded with talent. They are loaded with talent. That’s a tribute to them,” Welsh said. “It’s been a great competitive race; a great matchup between the two of us. It’s been, ‘You punch me in the nose, I’ll punch you in the nose.'”

The 200-yard freestyle relay team of Dyer and juniors Bill Bass, John McGinley and Kevin Overholt finished in second place behind Louisville, with a time of 1:18.79.

The results of the 200-yard freestyle relay were not officially released due to controversy regarding one of Connecticut’s exchanges in the race. The Huskies will most likely be disqualified in the race.

Irish freshman Nick Nemetz had won the Big East title earlier this week on both the 1-meter and 3-meter boards, giving Notre Dame and early lead.

Welsh said the Irish swimmers have rallied behind Nemetz’s success.

“We haven’t lost the lead that our divers gave us, and we love our divers,” Welsh said. “Louisville was heavily, heavily favored to win; that’s why you have the meet. What we’ve been trying to focus on is taking care of business between the Ts.”

Today’s competition features several 100-yard races, including backstroke, breaststroke and butterfly. Saturday marks the final day of the meet, which opens at 10 a.m. with the 1650-yard freestyle race.

The Big East championships continue today at Trees Pool in Pittsburgh at 10 a.m., beginning with the 400-yard individual medley.