Nov. 16, 2013
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - The University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team continued its dominant weekend at Rolfs Aquatic Center on Saturday, claiming a 191.5-108.5 win over Wisconsin in a non-conference dual meet. The Irish won double-digit events for the second straight meet, winning a total of 12 swimming and diving events Saturday to complete a Big Ten weekend sweep after downing Michigan State 197-103 on Friday.
"Today's meet was really good, and the fact that we just raced 32 events in less than 24 hours, that's a challenge," Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh said. "The best thing about today is we were good racing side by side. We won close races, and side by side we were tough competitors, and that's what we were looking for.
"That was what we talked about when we met this morning before the meet," he said. "I told them that I have said all year we love our pool, and I wanted to say at the end of the day that we are tough in our pool, also. I just say the words, but those guys make it come true. They made it come true (today)."
Saturday's 11 a.m. (ET) start meant that Notre Dame (4-4) would return to competition some 15 hours after completing Friday's contest with Michigan State. Wisconsin, who arrived late Friday night after a dual meet of its own against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., was on equal footing with the Irish in terms of the quick turnaround. Welsh felt that the energy level for the team was exactly where it needed to be in spite of the tight timeline.
"The schedule is not a surprise, we have known the schedule all year long," Welsh said. "We were prepared for it, the guys were prepared for it. We met for breakfast at 8:30 in the dining hall, and they were ready to go. They came over here and did a thorough and hard warm-up.
"One of the things I really admire about this team is the way they take interest, support and care for one another," he said. "The way they follow the races and what their teammates are doing, it's very special, I just love seeing that from them."
Senior two-time All-American Frank Dyer paced the Irish with a total of four race wins during the meet, claiming gold in the 50, 200, and 500 free events, and was a member of the winning Notre Dame 200 medley relay squad. Junior All-American Zach Stephens added a quartet of first-place finishes of his own, sweeping the 100 and 200 breast while adding gold in the 200 IM and with the 200 medley relay.
The Irish also swept the diving portion of the meet for the second straight day, with freshman Joe Coumos claiming top honors off both boards. Coumos was victorious in the 1-meter dive with a score of 335.10 points, and followed that performance up with a career-best total of 381.52 points off the 3-meter board.
Having three of its top athletes combining for 14 total victories in a two-meet span would seem to be the key to success for any team, and Welsh said that Notre Dame fed off the success of its top competitors throughout the weekend, particularly Dyer and Stephens on Saturday.
"Having an invincible man or two is terrific," Welsh said with a laugh. "Over the weekend, Frank ended up 7-for-7, and he matched up against the fastest people for both teams. He really put together a great weekend.
"Zach was 4-for-4 today after a strong breast portion of the IM, and Frank was also 4-for-4 today," he said. "Out of the 12 events we won, there is eight right there, and counting both diving, that's 10, out of only 16 total. Having invincible men (for the day) is just great."
Junior All-American John Williamson added a two-second plus victory (1:51.02) in one of his signature events, the 200 fly, while senior co-captain Colin Babcock logged a season-best swim of 45.81 to win the 100 free. Junior Patrick Olson added a top performance of his own in the 100 fly, posting a gold medal swim of 50.18.
Notre Dame now shifts its focus to the final meet of the fall semester, the Iowa Hawkeye Invitational, Dec. 6-8 in Iowa City, Iowa. The near three-week competitive event rest period for Notre Dame after a solid month straight of racing, Welsh feels, should have the Irish primed for a positive finale to the first half of the schedule.
"We will go right back to work Monday, and if you come down Monday afternoon and Tuesday morning, you might say, `Hey, I thought those guys won Saturday.'" Welsh said. "We are going to work really hard, heading into Iowa we want a little more polish, a little more pizzazz, some of the rough edges smoothed over. That's what the focus will be.
"Not having a meet next weekend will be wonderful," he said. "Academically it will be wonderful because that is always a hard academic weekend. At home without a meet academically is great for us next weekend."
200 Medley Relay: The Notre Dame `A' entry of Bogac Ayhan, Cameron Miller, Frank Dyer and Zach Stephens swam the fastest Notre Dame time of the season in the event, clocking a time of 1:29.14 to take first place. The Irish `B' lineup of Matthew Buerger, Colin Babcock, John Williamson and Patrick Olson touched in with an effort of 1:32.52 for third place. The `C' entry of Bertie Nel, Andrew Jensen, Jack Cobain and Matthew DeBlasio logged a 1:35.10, while the `D' grouping of Tom Anderson, Joshua Choi, Broderick Kelley and Joe Petrone combined for a time of 1:36.59.
1000 Freestyle: John Nappi swam a season and career-best 9:32.43 to claim runner-up points for Notre Dame. Kevin Bradley was just behind Nappi in 9:37.30 to take third place. Brennan Jacobsen (9:37.70) and co-captain Patrick Murphy (10:11.07) rounded out the Notre Dame finishers in the event.
200 Freestyle: Dyer was the only swimmer to break the 1:40 mark in the event, logging a victorious run of 1:39.25 to take gold in the 200 free. Kevin Hughes nearly equaled his time of 1:41.01 from Friday night's meet, posting a third-place read out of 1:41.08. Michael Hudspith tied for fourth place with a season-best time of 1:41.37, while Trent Jackson traversed the course in 1:42.49.
100 Backstroke: Ayhan hung with defending the NCAA champion in the 200 back Drew deTuits (49.88) during the 100-yard race, posting a runner-up time of 50.18. Nel added a swim of 51.31, while Buerger (51.99) and DeBlasio (55.94) rounded out the Irish competitors.
100 Breaststroke: Stephens posted the best Notre Dame 100 breast time of the season with a gold medal effort of 55.37. Miller clocked in with runner-up points after a time of 56.03. Andrew Jensen (59.34) and Choi (1:01.57) added solid times for the Irish.
200 Butterfly: Williamson won the 200 fly for the second consecutive day, touching the pad in 1:51.02 for another Irish gold performance. Reed Fujan (career-best 1:53.34) and Bradley (1:55.36) gave Notre Dame a podium sweep. Petrone added a fourth-place swim of 1:55.87 to assure the Irish of all top-four spots.
50 Freestyle: Dyer continued his season-long dominance in the 50 free, taking gold in the distance for the second time during the weekend with a time of 20.57. Babcock added his second runner-up in the distance in as many days with a swim of 21.17. Nicholas Sim (21.75) and Olson (21.77) were the other Notre Dame competitors in the event.
100 Freestyle: Babcock made a huge push over the final 25 yards of the race to claim the win with a career-best 45.81 over Wisconsin's Cannon Clifton (45.98). Jackson touched in with a third-place result of 47.11, with Fujan (47.29) and Hudspith (47.62) not far behind.
200 Backstroke: James McEldrew led all Notre Dame swimmers with a time of 1:50.11, an Irish season-best, to claim third place. Anderson was right behind in fourth place after a swim of 1:51.26, followed by Ayhan (1:52.33) and Nel (1:54.61).
200 Breaststroke: Stephens swept the breast events on the day with the field's fastest time at 2:00.92. Miller was the next Notre Dame competitor to the wall with a run of 2:03.28. Jensen added a time of 2:11.55 for the Irish.
500 Freestyle: Dyer out-stroked the field with a time of 4:31.42 to take the win by nearly two seconds over Wisconsin's Nicholas Caldwell (4:33.11). Hughes rounded out the podium finishers with a time of 4:37.33 for third place. DeBlasio chipped in an effort of 4:43.50, with Jacobsen just behind at 4:44.17.
100 Butterfly: Olson blitzed the event with a career-best 50.18 to take home the victory. Williamson tapped in second with a time of 50.49, followed by Kelley in fourth place (52.22). Bradley added a time of 52.66.
200 IM: Stephens cruised to the win in 1:50.28 in the 200 IM, Babcock checked in with a second-place finish after putting together a time of 1:51.66. Anderson was in fourth place with a time of 1:55.59, while Buerger swam a 1:56.59.
400 Freestyle Relay: The Notre Dame `D' entry of Shane McKenzie, Michael Scheid, Choi and Murphy posted the best official Irish swim with a third-place effort of 3:17.31. The `B' entry of Olson, Nappi, Fujan and Miller (3:07.68) and the `A' group of Hughes, Jackson, Bradley and Hudspith (3:08.76) clocked exhibition heats.
1-Meter Diving: Joe Coumos continued his stellar debut season by securing a win off the 1-meter board with a final score of 335.10 points. Nick Nemetz (320.32 points) and Michael Kreft (312.29) rounded out the podium finishers for Notre Dame, while Ted Wagner (297.29) and James Lichtenstein 276.22) added a pair of exhibition dives.
3-Meter Diving: Coumos posted the best Notre Dame 3-meter score of the season with 381.52 points for his second triumph of the meet. Kreft earned runner-up honors with a score of 367.20, while Nemetz was in third with 352.95 points. Wagner (286.20 points) and Lichtenstein (274.35) posted additional exhibitions scores.
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant