March 2, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team brought home its sixth BIG EAST championship in grand fashion, setting a new championship record for points. Head coach Tim Welsh was named the 2013 Men's BIG EAST Coach of the Year and diver Michael Kreft was named Men's BIG EAST Co-Diver of the Meet.
The Irish finished with 991 points, 139.5 points above second place finisher Louisville (851.5). The total team score vastly exceeded the previous meet high of 917 points, set by Louisville in 2011. Notre Dame completed the meet with a staggering 15 athletes garnering 41 All-BIG EAST honors in 17 different events. Swimmers produced 41 total results that were beneath the NCAA B-cut for the respective events, and the Irish boast two relays that achieved NCAA Qualifying standards and two more that earned NCAA Provisional standards.
"This was just a grand, grand week," said Welsh. "The work that the guys have done was incredible, and this was a culmination of the work they put in, as well as product of the strength and conditioning and nutrition that the support staff has provided throughout the season. These last four days have been seven wonderful sessions, and I could not be more proud of these guys. We are looking forward to hopefully returning here (at the IUPUI Natatorium) in a month for the NCAA National Championships."
The team emerged victorious in seven events, tying the high-water mark set at last year's BIG EAST Championship in Pittsburgh. Over the four-day span of competition, university records were reset eight times (the 100 breaststroke was broken both in the morning and evening sessions).
A notable characteristic of Notre Dame's title was the top-end depth shown throughout nearly every individual event. Out of the 16 individual events that were contested in Indianapolis, the Irish placed at least three athletes in the top eight of an event 12 times. Of those 12 instances, two of them were events with four Notre Dame representatives, and three of them were occasions where the Irish placed an incredible five participants in the top eight.
Bill Bass finishes his BIG EAST career in sole possession of the greatest number of individual All-BIG EAST honors in Notre Dame history (10), and his overall count, including relays, settles in at second in program history (20), trailing only Irish legend John Lytle (22).
Dyer and Stephens both finished the meet with two titles and one silver each in their individual competitions, and they added a relay victory (200 medley relay) and three silver-winning relays to finish the meet with seven All-BIG EAST honors each. Dyer becomes the second most decorated Notre Dame swimmer (behind Bill Bass) in terms of total individual All-BIG EAST honors accrued with nine after his junior season.
Kreft was recognized for his outstanding consistency and versatility throughout the meet, as he recorded a second place finish in the 3-meter dive, a fourth place finish in the 1-meter dive, and a sixth place finish in the platform dive.
Stephens won his second event of the meet, crushing the university record in the process, when he topped the field in the 200 breaststroke (1:55.21). The previous record, 1:57.06, was set by Stephens at last year's BIG EAST Championships held in Pittsburgh.
"It felt great," said Stephens of his 200 breast performance. "I had a goal that I set at the beginning of the season, and I was able to surpass it by a couple of tenths of a second, and everything came together tonight for that to happen."
Williamson defended his title in the 200 butterfly (1:43.94), besting his school record set last year at the BIG EAST Championships. Williamson becomes the first Irish swimmer to win this event twice in his career, and now takes his place among an elite group of Irish swimmers who have achieved similar feats in other swims.
John Nappi snared his first All-BIG EAST honor of the meet in the 1,650 freestyle, turning in a time of 15:21.63 to finish third in the longest event on the meet program.
1,650 Free: John Nappi, swimming in an earlier heat from the afternoon in this timed-final event, posted a time of 15:21.63 to take third overall in the event and claim his first All-BIG EAST honor of the meet ... defending event champion Brennan Jacobsen (15:22.12) and Kevin Hughes (15:25.24) were not far behind and grabbed fourth and fifth place for the Irish ... all three swimmers recorded times below the NCAA B-standard ... James McEldrew (15:41.01) settled in at tenth place to add to Notre Dame's point haul.
200 Back: Bertie Nel (1:47.27) led all of the Irish swimmers with a sixth place finish ... teammate Matthew DeBlasio (1:49.55) finished right behind in seventh place ... Bogac Ayhan (1:48.18), swimming in the consolation final, ended up taking tenth place overall.
100 Free: John McGinley, the lone Irish swimmer in the event, blazes to a time of 44.81 and a seventh place finish in the championship final.
200 Breast: Zach Stephens (1:55.21) destroyed his previous team record en route to a thrilling victory in the distance breaststroke ... the previous mark, 1:57.06, was set at last year's BIG EAST Championships held in Pittsburgh ... this is Stephens' second individual victory, and, with his second place finish in the 100 breast, gives him three All-BIG EAST individual honors ... Cameron Miller (1:56.24) also bagged an All-BIG EAST honor, rounding out the medal podium in third place ... Miller's swim was also under the old school record, and is his fastest swim to date ... Chris Johnson (1:59.68) placed seventh in the championship final to close out an impressive Irish showing ... all three swimmers recorded times underneath the NCAA B-cut for the event.
200 Fly: Defending champion John Williamson (1:43.94) snared gold in the event and took down his record from last year's BIG EAST Championship (1:44.74) ... this is Williamson's first individual title of the meet, and his second All-BIG EAST honor ... Bill Bass (1:45.27) turned in his lifetime-best effort on his way to claiming the silver medal ... this is Bass' third individual All-BIG EAST honor of the meet and leaves him with a final career total of 10, the most of any Irish swimmer in team history ... both Bass and Williamson claim NCAA B-cuts with those swims ... Brennan Jacobsen (1:50.78), on the heels on his 1,650 free swim, finished eighth in the A final.
Platform Dive: In the inaugural year for the platform dive, Ted Wagner (258.90) grabbed All-BIG EAST honors with his second place finish ... Nicholas Nemetz (254.45) finished in fourth place and Michael Kreft (227.70) completed the trio of Irish competitors with a sixth place finish ... Ryan Koter, diving in the consolation final, took ninth place overall.
400 Free Relay: The Irish closed out the meet in fine fashion, netting the program's 41st All-BIG EAST honor as the squad of Dyer, Stephens, McGinley, and Bass finished second in 2:54.43, just off of the school record (2:54.08) ... Dyer's leadoff 100 free (43.08) also eclipses his team record for that distance and also is a NCAA B-cut.
200 Back: Bertie Nel (1:46.84) will be looking to pick up his first All-BIG EAST honor of the meet later tonight, as he will enter the evening seeded third ... Matthew DeBlasio (1:48.69) narrowly snuck into the A final, beating out teammate Bogac Ayhan (1:48.72) for eighth place ... Ayhan will be the top seed (ninth overall) in the B final and will be joined by James McEldrew (1:49.00) who finished 11th overall in the morning ... fastest Irish time, however, came from Matthew Buerger (1:45.78) who swam the event as an exhibition swimmer ... his time earns him an NCAA B-cut and is only six tenths of a second away from Michael Sullivan's university record (1:45.10).
100 Free: John McGinley (44.66) secured a spot in the big dance for tonight, earning the sixth seed heading into the final session of swimming later tonight ... the time is McGinley's best effort of the season thus far ... Kevin Overholt (45.06) and Michael Hudspith (46.10) competed in the event as non-scoring exhibition swimmers.
200 Breast: The trio of Cameron Miller (1:59.22), Zach Stephens (1:59.33), and Chris Johnson (1:59.98) finished third, fourth, and sixth, respectively, to ensure their places in the A final of tonight's program ... Miller's and Stephens' times are also underneath the NCAA B-standard ... Patrick Olson (2:01.18) just missed the A final, finishing ninth in this morning's heats and he will compete in the B final later tonight.
200 Fly: John Williamson (1:45.35) led the way in the distance fly, taking the top overall seed for tonight's race ... Bill Bass (1:47.94) sits in the third position after prelims, and both swimmers are under the NCAA B-cut ... Brennan Jacobsen (1:48.34) placed sixth overall to round out a solid group of A-final swimmers for Notre Dame ... sophomore Broderick Kelley (1:47.91) competed as an exhibition swimmer in the event, also posting a NCAA B-cut.
Platform Dive: Michael Kreft (246.75) qualified second for a berth in the A final tonight, along with Nicholas Nemetz (226.90) and Ted Wagner (206.20), who qualified fifth and seventh, respectively ... Ryan Koter (175.50) will compete in the consolation final after qualifying ninth.
THE IRISH IN THE BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP:
Notre Dame Victories by Event
Notre Dame Victories by Individual
Notre Dame Team Records
All-BIG EAST Honors