Feb. 1, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - On the strength of seven race victories, and an additional nine runner-up finishes, the University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team put an exclamation mark on a victorious outing at the 2014 Shamrock Invitational Saturday night in front of a record crowd of 609 at the Rolfs Aquatic Center.
The Irish (6-5-1) defeated Missouri State 223-147 in one of the two dual matchups, and Notre Dame added a 224.5-145.5 win over Iowa to claim its fourth sweep in nine Shamrock Invitational starts.
"I thought we got better as the weekend went on," Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh said. "We told the guys that we thought we had a breakthrough this morning and a follow through tonight. It was a very strong day overall."
Sophomore Shane McKenzie (400 IM, 3:55.52), senior two-time All-American Frank Dyer (200 freestyle, 1:37.28), the `C' entry of the Notre Dame 800 freestyle relay (Reed Fujan, Michael Hudspith, Patrick Murphy and Broderick Kelley, 6:36.98), freshman Joe Coumos (1-meter diving, 355.80 points), freshman Joe Petrone (1650 freestyle, 15:40.81), junior All-American John Williamson (200 butterfly, 1:48.43) and Hudspith (100 freestyle, 45:07) all claimed race victories on Saturday.
Of the seven different Irish competitors who logged race wins on the day, four were Notre Dame freshmen and sophomores. Welsh said that there were a number of younger student-athletes who honed in on the Shamrock Invitational as a meet to post top results.
"We did have a group of guys who focused on this meet, `Shamrock Guys' we will call them," he said. "They made a huge contribution, and we are very proud of them for doing that."
Welsh felt the team responded well to the meet format, which was spread out over a single session Friday night before closing with a pair sessions on Saturday. The Shamrock Invitational closely followed what the Irish will see at the Atlantic Coast Conference Championship Feb. 26-March 1 in Greensboro, N.C.
"I think we are sufficiently tired, and what we were able to see was where the guys needed rest, and where to polish their technique, strategy and race plan," Welsh said. "We were definitely able to see that under race conditions, and the advantage to this is like football at high speed. Unlike a trials-finals where you don't get a re-swim at night, going into the ACC we know that if we're going to be successful there we have to be very good the first time we swim."
Notre Dame now turns its attention to next weekend's season finale dual meet against Cleveland State. The extra dual contest following the Shamrock Invitational is a first on the Notre Dame schedule since the Irish downed Olivet 173-102 on Feb. 7, 2009.
"There will be a different race plan for that final meet, and we will evaluate how this came out," Welsh said. "We will take a look and say, `What do we need to do next, what is the next most important thing we need to do?' We went into this meet saying not to count on next week, or thinking that there is always a next week, this is its own deal and it ends tonight. We will re-evaluate where we are, and see what the next best steps are."
Next Saturday's dual meet against Cleveland State is scheduled to begin at noon (ET) inside the Rolfs Aquatic Center.
Notre Dame Shamrock Invitational
Notre Dame vs. Iowa; Notre Dame vs. Missouri State
February 1, 2014
Rolfs Aquatic Center, Notre Dame, Ind.
Session Two and Three Results
Men's 200 Medley Relay: The Notre Dame `A' entry of Bogac Ayhan, Cameron Miller, Frank Dyer and Zach Stephens earned race runner-up honors with a team time of 1:30.26. The Irish `C' lineup of Bertie Nel, Patrick Olson, Jack Cobain and Michael Hudspith added a time of 1:32.80 to finish fifth. Right behind was the Notre Dame `B' squad of Matthew Buerger, Colin Babcock, John Williamson and Kevin Bradley with the sixth-fastest time of 1:33.45.
Men's 400 IM: Shane McKenzie swam a brilliant third heat, nearly surpassing his season-best swim and achieving an NCAA B-cut with a time of 3:55.52 for the event win. Teammate James McEldrew was the next to the wall in the heat and the race, posting the only other sub-four minute time of 3:59.03 for runner-up honors. Matthew DeBlasio added a top 10 time of 4:06.63.
Men's 100 Butterfly: Williamson won the third and final heat of the event, earning runner-up accolades with a time of 49.45. Broderick Kelley contributed a third heat time of 49.65 to finish sixth, with Reed Fujan right behind with a clip of 49.73 and seventh place. Ayhan placed 10th with a swim 50.39.
Men's 200 Freestyle: Dyer swam to the race win with an NCAA B-cut time of 1:37.28 to lead the Irish. Teammate Hudspith was right behind in the heat with a runner-up time of 1:38.80. Patrick Murphy swam the top time in heat two, placing fourth overall with a time of 1:40.82. Joe Petrone (1:41.49, sixth) and Trent Jackson (1:43.22, 10th) added top 10 finishes for Notre Dame.
Men's 100 Breaststroke: Andrew Jensen clocked a season-best readout of 55.45 to narrowly miss an NCAA B-cut, earning runner-up honors. Stephens was the next Irish swimmer to the wall with clip of 55.85 for third place. Babcock (56.65) and Miller (56.83) placed sixth and seventh, respectively.
Men's 100 Backstroke: Ayhan tied for fifth place with Iowa's Matthew Boyd with a time of 50.24. McEldrew (52.15) and Cobain (52.32) added point-scoring swims in 11th and 12th place for the Irish.
Men's 800 Freestyle Relay: The Notre Dame `C' entry of Fujan, Hudspith, Murphy and Kelley swam the second-fastest Irish time of the season in the 800 free relay, posting a winning time of 6:36.98. The Notre Dame `A' lineup of Dyer, Kevin Hughes, Babcock and Jackson claimed third-place honors in 6:47.70.
Men's 1-Meter Diving: Joe Coumos completed the weekend meet diving sweep, scoring the win off the 1-meter board with a final tally of 355.80 points. Nick Nemetz placed second with 326.30 points, followed by teammate Ted Wagner in fourth place (313.50 points).
Men's 1650 Freestyle: Petrone shattered his season-best in the distance by nearly 40 seconds, logging a first heat clip of 15:40.81 to bring home the Irish victory. Murphy raced neck and neck with Petrone in the first heat, taking overall runner-up honors with a time of 15:44.03. John Nappi finished second in heat number two to finish in fourth place overall (15:47.80), followed by Brennan Jacobsen (16:00.37).
Men's 200 Backstroke: McEldrew (1:49.17) and McKenzie (1:49.79) were the top Irish competitors, placing fourth and fifth, respectively. Ayhan turned in a time of 1:50.86 for seventh place.
Men's 100 Freestyle: Hudspith earned the overall gold with a personal season-best readout of 45.07. Hughes was in fifth place (46.54), followed by Nicholas Sim in sixth (46.61). Jackson added a 10th place finish (46.86).
Men's 200 Breaststroke: Jensen's top first heat time of 2:00.67 was enough for overall runner-up honors. Stephens (2:00.81) and Joshua Choi (2:02.74) checked in at third and fourth place to give Notre Dame three of the top four finishers.
Men's 200 Butterfly: Williamson claimed the overall race win with a time of 1:48.43. Kelley finished as the event runner-up with a clip of 1:49.57. Fujan completed the Notre Dame sweep after clocking a 1:50.80. Dyer contributed a 1:52.98 for seventh place, with Jensen (1:53.44, ninth) and Petrone (1:53.89, 10th) closing out the top 10.
Men's 400 Freestyle Relay: The Notre Dame `A' entry of Hudspith, Fujan, Murphy and Sim were the top Irish finishers in third place (3:03.46). The "all senior" relay lineup of Dyer, Nel, Choi and Babcock placed fourth with a time of 3:04.47.
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant