ND prepares for home finale
Henry Hilliard | Thursday, February 6, 2014
Notre Dame will take to the water at the Rolfs Aquatic Center on Saturday for the final time in its 2013-2014 campaign. The Irish will face Cleveland State in the home finale, which will also mark the final home appearance for Irish coach Tim Welsh, who has been at the helm for Notre Dame for 29 years.After Saturday’s competition, the Irish turn their attention to the ACC Championships, held at the Greensboro Aquatic Center in Greensboro, N.C. from Feb. 26 through March 1, which marks the start of postseason competition.
“The postseason is a totally different approach for us. We have to totally focus on getting as many relays and individuals qualified in the ACC Championships so that they can move on,” Welsh said.
ACC Championships serve as a qualifier for the national championship meet. In order to compete in the NCAA Championships, held at the Lee and Joel Jamall Aquatic Center in Austin, TX, both relay teams and individual swimmers must have met certain benchmark times in previous competition. Teams have a month after their conference championships before the NCAA Championships March 27-29.
“Our total focus these next few weeks is to be the best we have ever been both as individuals and as a team. Both this weekend and in the ACC Championships we need our guys to swim lifetime bests. If they accomplish that then I consider it a success,” Welsh said.
Though the Irish had been away from Rolf’s since Nov. 16, this weekend will mark the second weekend in a row the Irish will welcome opposing teams to their home pool. Last weekend, Notre Dame earned a pair of victories in the ninth annual Shamrock Invitational in front of a record crowd of 609 people. The team beat Missouri State 223- 147 and Iowa 224.5-145.5.
Welsh hopes they can translate their home pool advantage to a victory in their regular season finale on Saturday.
“We love swimming at home, between the fans and our families we can always count on strong support here and we swim better as a result,” Welsh said.
The Irish face Cleveland State at 12 p.m.
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