Nov. 28, 1997
Freshmen Make Impact in Pool
By Gene Brtalik
NOTRE DAME, Ind.--In most college sports when freshmen are
recruited, they are brought in to be strengthened so they may be
utilized during junior and senior years. Such is the case in football,
when many freshmen are redshirted to gain an extra year of eligibility
after senior year. One sport where the class you are in doesn't matter
how much you participate is swimming.
A prime example is Notre Dame men's swimming team with two freshmen,
Dan Szilier and James Scott-Browne, stepping into the forefront. Both
swimmers have quickly assumed roles that will enable the team capture a
top three finish in the BIG EAST Championships this year.
Szilier came to Notre Dame with the expectation of further
developing his swimming skills and achieving a degree in finance to
someday work on Wall Street. Throughout his high school career at
Methacton he was regarded one of the best breaststrokers in the state.
As a freshman Szilier was awarded the Plummer Memorial Award for most
promising underclassman swimmer as well as finishing first in the
100-yard breaststroke at the conference championships. In his second
year as a member of the team, Szilier finished the season undefeated in
the 100-yard breaststroke. His junior and senior seasons were more of
the same with his garnering high school all-state honors in the 100-yard
breaststroke, 200-yard individual medley and 400-yard freestyle relay.
During his last year Szilier broke four league records and six pool
Szilier not only excels inside the water but in the classroom as
well. He was on the honor roll all four years, a member of the school's
National Honor Society as a sophomore and named academic All-American as
Throughout the beginning of the 1997 season, Szilier has exhibited
an excellent work ethic, trying to outdo himself each day in practice.
"He works himself extremely hard," says men's swimming coach Tim
Welsh. "When Dan gets out of the pool if he can still stand he feels he
hasn't worked himself hard enough."
Szilier has been known to his teammates to go beyond the call of
duty when it comes to practice, doing extra laps or substituting
breaststroke for freestyle to condition himself.
While Szilier concentrates on the sprint aspect of swimming,
Scott-Browne takes on the distance events.
Scott-Browne, like Szilier, took his high school swim team by storm
when he joined the team back in the fall of 1992. Throughout his time
spent on the swim team at Seattle Preparatory School, Scott-Browne set
records in the 200-yard, 500-yard, 1500-yard, and 1650-yard freestyle
events. As a sophmore and a junior, Scott-Browne was selected as an
All-American in the 500 freestyle and also has recorded a career best
time of 4:27.86, eight seconds faster than the Notre Dame record set by
Mike Keely in 1993.
Scot-Browne quickly made his presence felt in Notre Dame's
season-opening dual-meet win over Western Ontario, beating the four-year
old 1000-yard freestyle record of 9:36.75 set by Mike Kelley with a time
of 9:35.93. He also placed first in the 500-yard freestyle and then
entered the next race and finished second in the 200-yard backstroke.
"James looks so graceful and smooth when he swims, and wonders why
can't everyone swim this way," says Welsh.
During practice, Scott-Browne will often try to go very hard in
order to encourage his teammates to follow in his ways. He also is there
to aid people in their strokes and bring a positive attitude to the
"The two of them are young, enthusiastic and energetic," says Welsh.
"They both achieved great success in high school and are very skilled.
We have great expectations for the both of them."
As the BIG EAST championships draw closer, Welch will count on these
two freshmen to aid the team. Welch has a four-part plan for Szilier and
"First, I want them to strengthen us in the dual meets," says Welsh.
"Then I want them to challenge for individual honors at the BIG EASTS,
next I would like them to qualify for NCAA's and for us to earn some
points and finally, I would like to see them break some university
As for the records, Scott-Browne has already wrote his name into the
Notre Dame record books by besting his own record in the 1000 freestyle
with a 9:25.74 in a dual meet versus Air Force and West Virginia on Nov.
"For now though I am focusing on the 1650 an event in which I have a
good chance at qualifying for the NCAA's," says Scott-Browne.
Szilier, on the other hand, is inching closer and closer to beating
the record in both the 100 and 200-yard breaststroke. "These are
definitely goals I can see myself achieving," says Szilier.
Scott-Browne and Szilier will both turn heads this year as the Irish
look to achieve their goal of a top three finish at the BIG EAST