March 28, 2013
INDIANAPOLIS - The Notre Dame men's swimming and diving squad wrapped up the first day of action at the 2013 NCAA Men's Swimming and Diving Championship at the IUPUI Natatorium led by a school-record lowering performance by Frank Dyer in the 500 freestyle. Last year, Dyer became the first swimmer in team history to earn an All-American citation on his way to leading the team to a 28th place finish with 15 points. Dyer was joined by Bogac Ayhan, Chris Johnson, and Bill Bass to also lower the university mark in the 400 medley relay.
"It was a very strong morning of swimming for us. Although it won't show on the scoreboard, we swam some lifetime bests and set two university records and had some solid relay performances," head coach Tim Welsh said. "With this level of competition, this was a very good morning for us. The level of excitement was pretty high on deck this morning. It was a joyful type of excitement, and I think you could see the guys were nervous for all the right reasons. Our more experienced swimmers handled that nervous excitement well. This is a very demanding meet. You get one chance, and it has to be in the morning."
Dyer's time of 4:17.49 improved upon his own team record (4:17.97) set at the NCAA Championship last year in Federal Way, Wash., where he finished 19th overall. Dyer finished 17th in the preliminary session, just missing a berth in the B-final in the night session, which is limited to the top 16 spots.
"I had set a higher goal for myself, but I set a personal best time and it's hard not to be happy with that," said Dyer. "(Swimming in an early heat) put me in a little bit of a disadvantage, as I thought I was going a lot faster than I did since I didn't have anyone around me, but to be able to do a best time without being pushed like that also is something I'm really happy with. Leading off with a personal best always helps set the tone for a fast meet, so I'm really excited to see what I can do tomorrow."
The 400 medley relay team clipped over a full second off the team's previous mark, besting the standard of 3:12.67 to finish 21st overall in 3:11.50. The previous record had been set at the BIG EAST Championship held in Pittsburgh in February of 2012.
Several swimmers made their NCAA Championship debut this morning. John Williamson (4:25.77) finished 50th in the 500 free, a bonus event for him, and Zach Stephens (1:46.33) and Cameron Miller (1:48.30) placed 41st and 58th, respectively, in the 200 IM.
Bass returned for his second year of competition at the most prestigious collegiate meet, joining teammates Stephens, John McGinley, and Kevin Hughes to compete in the 200 freestyle relay, turning in a time of 1:20.62 and finishing 28th.
Preliminary Session | Event Summaries
200 Free Relay: Bill Bass led off for the Irish, turning in a season-best time in his opening split of 20.38 ... Zach Stephens chased him into the water second, posting a sub-20 second time on his relay split (19.79) ... John McGinley (20.10) held down the third position on the squad ... Kevin Hughes (20.35) brought it home for Notre Dame, allowing the predominately distance swimmer to show off some of his sprinting chops ... the final readout (1:20.62) falls short of the team's best posting of the season (1:18.91) at the BIG EAST Championship ... in its first relay swim ever at the NCAA Championship, Notre Dame places 28th overall.
500 Free: Frank Dyer (4:17.49) clipped his own school record in the event on his way to a 17th place finish in the morning session ... finished just outside of the top 16 and what would have been a place in the finals in the evening session... the performance surpasses his overall place finish from last year (19th) ... the previous record had been set by Dyer at the NCAA Championship last year in Federal Way, Wash. ... Dyer was out at the 200 mark in a swift 1:40.34, and was hardly challenged by any other competitor in his heat ... John Williamson (4:25.77) completed his first individual event of the meet finishing 50th overall.
200 IM: Zach Stephens blazed out with an opening fly split of 23.00 ... completed a solid swim with a final posting of 1:46.33, good for 41st overall in his first individual swim of the meet, slightly off of his pace at the BIG EAST Championship (1:45.31) ... Cameron Miller (1:48.30) finished 58th overall, just off his season-best of 1:47.94 set at the BIG EAST Championship last month.
400 Medley Relay: Freshman Bogac Ayhan led off for the Irish, completing the backstroke leg in 49.02 ... senior Chris Johnson was charged with the breaststroke duties, and split 53.22 to keep Notre Dame close to Louisville in the heat ... Bill Bass sprinted to the heat lead with a quick 46.59 fly split ... Frank Dyer hammered home an anchor free split of 42.67 to finish the race ... the squad finished in 3:11.50, a new school record in the event ... previous record (3:12.67) had been recorded by Bertie Nel, Johnson, Bass, and Dyer at the BIG EAST Championship in 2012 ... the Irish finished 21st overall in the event, their best relay finish in team history.
THE IRISH AT THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIP:
Results by Athlete: