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Men’s Swimming: Senior Bass garners Big East honors

Mary Green | Thursday, January 24, 2013

Adding to an already successful 2013 in the pool, senior Bill Bass earned another accolade Tuesday – Big East Swimmer of the Week. Along with junior teammate and two-time winner Frank Dyer, Bass is the second Irish swimmer to earn the honor this season.

Bass took the award after his performance against Cleveland State last week. During the meet, he nabbed first-place finishes in the 100-yard butterfly with a time of 50.58 and he finshed the 200-yard individual medley at 1:50.59. Bass also swam the fly leg of the winning 200-yard medley relay, aiding the Irish (6-0) in a 131-112 victory over the Vikings.

However, the senior’s path to this achievement included a major setback along the way. In the spring of 2011, then-sophomore Bass underwent surgery for an ailing shoulder. Irish assistant coach Matt Tallman, who has worked with Bass in every practice since his arrival freshman year, said he believed the surgery repaired not only the swimmer’s upper body, but also forced him to develop his kick even more.

“The biggest facet of his swim skills is that his kick has improved a lot, and getting his shoulder fixed certainly helped,” Tallman said. “He gained strength and a better ability to kick from getting his shoulder fixed since he couldn’t pull for a while.”

Tallman and Irish coach Tim Welsh praised the five-time school record holder for his work ethic and leadership in and out of the pool, both describing him as a teammate who leads by example.

“He comes to work out and work hard, gets his job done and races well,” Tallman said. “He isn’t overly vocal with the guys, which is why I say he leads by example, but the guys respect his ability to come every day and get his work done and be successful.”

Welsh agreed with this description of Bass, an art studio major.

“He’s outgoing, friendly, self-disciplined and a caring, sharing team member who’s very team-oriented,” Welsh said. “If you wanted to emulate a guy in the senior class to copy, it’s Bill Bass.”

His dedication to the team and his sport propelled Bass to earning a spot in the field in the 200-meter IM and 100- and 200-yard fly in last year’s NCAA Championships in Federal Way, Wash. He was just the third Irish swimmer ever to achieve the individual times needed to advance to the championships, along with Dyer and 2007 graduate Tim Kegelman.

Coupled with his hard work, his speed fuels Bass in the pool, Tallman said.

“He’s a racer, and he just wants to push,” Tallman said. “He’s a racer who wants to go out there and sprint, and he won’t back down to any challenge.”

Contact Mary Green at [email protected]