Notre Dame looks to drop times at home relays
Rebecca Rogalski | Friday, October 10, 2014
Coming off an season-opening, 182-118 victory against Michigan State, Notre Dame aims to continue its success in the 50th annual Dennis Stark Relays at Rolfs Aquatic Center on Friday.Last weekend’s head-to head meet against the Spartans marked the start of season for the Irish.
“We were really pleased with our performance against Michigan State,” Irish interim coach Tim Welsh said. “The focus was good; the energy was good; the camaraderie was good, and times were solid from start to finish. I thought it was a nice, strong, fresh start to the season.”
But Welsh said he knows this weekend’s relays are a totally different game.
“Last week was a duel meet with a lot of emphasis on different events,” Welsh said. “But Friday is all relays, so we’re really looking for a chance to build, demonstrate and show off against our opponents.”
Notre Dame will try to beat the clock against swimmers from Ohio State, Illinois State and Olivet Nazarene.
“The clock is always the main challenge,” Welsh said. “Whatever we’re doing, we are always racing the clock. There’s a beauty to fast times, and there’s a beauty to fast places, but there’s a special beauty to fast times and fast places.”
Illinois State has been a regular at this meet, but Ohio State and Olivet Nazarene are newcomers this year. Welsh said each team will challenge the Irish, but Ohio State will be a particularly tough competitor.
“They have always had a strong performance in the Big Ten and are a team filled with fast swimmers who are very well coached, so I wouldn’t be surprised seeing them compete hard,” he said.
Twelve relays are scheduled, providing opportunities for many swimmers to compete and post strong times.
“We’re really looking to define our depth this year and put swimmers in events where they did not compete last weekend,” Welsh said. “We’re just trying to see where our flexibility is so that we can evaluate our swimmers early on in the season.”
In last year’s Dennis Stark Relays, the Irish earned wins in four events, finishing second overall at the meet. Notre Dame picked up a victory in the 800-yard freestyle relay, and senior Emma Reaney took the lead in the 300-yard breaststroke relay to give the Irish their second win. Notre Dame also captured wins in both the 1-meter diving relay and the 3-meter synchronized dive.
The Dennis Stark Relays start at 5 p.m. on Friday at Rolfs Aquatic Center.