Notre Dame falls against conference foe in dual meet
Observer Sports Staff | Thursday, January 14, 2016
In its first dual meet of the new year, Notre Dame fell to Virginia on Friday and Saturday, 182.5-170.5, in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The Irish snagged eight wins throughout the two-day meet against their conference foes, starting with a victory in the first swimming event, in which the 200-yard freestyle relay team touched the wall first in 1:21.29 to earn 11 points for Notre Dame.
Virginia snagged victories in four straight events to pull ahead, but Notre Dame stemmed the tide with a win in the 100-yard freestyle from freshman Tabahn Afrik, who held off sophomore teammate Justin Plaschka by five hundredths of a second to secure a one-two finish for the Irish.
From there, Notre Dame built some momentum, with freshman Matthew Grauslys grabbing a victory in the 200-yard butterfly, finishing in 1:47.39, and a win in the 400-yard medley relay pushed the Irish to three consecutive event victories.
Afrik followed his earlier victory with one more, this time in the 50-yard freestyle, touching the wall in 20.68 seconds to hold off Virginia junior Matt Lockman for the win. Junior Trent Jackson made it back-to-back victories once more for Notre Dame when he won the 200-yard breaststroke in 2:03.11 before Grauslys notched his second win of the meet in the 100-yard butterfly, winning in :48.32.
Notre Dame’s penultimate win of the meet came from senior Bogac Ayhan, who won the 100-yard breaststroke in 48.99 seconds, while the Irish closed the meet with a win in the 400-yard freestyle relay, sneaking in with a time just under three minutes to hold off the Cavaliers’ A team.
The Irish effort, however, was not enough to pull out the win, as Virginia notched wins in the other 11 events, providing the edge that propelled the Cavaliers to the overall victory in the two-day meet.
Outside the race winners, Notre Dame was boosted by second-place finishes from junior Kevin Bradley in the 200- and 400-yard individual medleys, sophomore Robert Whitacre in the 100- and 200-yard backstroke, Plaschka in the 100-yard butterfly and junior Reed Fujan in the 200-yard freestyle, while the 200-yard medley relay team also placed second.
The Irish return to the pool Saturday when they host nonconference foe Northwestern in a dual meet at Rolfs Aquatic Center, with the first race underway at noon.