Jan. 30, 2014
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - After more than two months away from competitive action at the Rolfs Aquatic Center, the University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team returns home to host the annual Shamrock Invitational this weekend. In its ninth season of existence, this year's Shamrock Invitational features Notre Dame, Iowa and Missouri State competing in three total sessions spanning Friday evening and all day Saturday.
A live video stream will be available for Friday's first session at 5 p.m. (ET) on WatchND, with Rich Hidy and Andrew Bartolini calling the action at Rolfs Aquatic Center.
"We've talked about it before, but we love to race in our pool, and we get to do three sessions in a day and a half," Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh said. "There is an awful lot of racing that takes place within 24 hours. That's a big challenge, just the volume of it, but it will help. It does help prepare us for championships and other teams come because of that, it's good championship preparation.
"We are excited to be back, we love racing in our pool and many parents will be back this weekend, so all in all it's a great chance to race here," he added. "Then, we get one more chance next weekend when Cleveland State is here."
The general timeline of the Shamrock Invitational is heavily influenced by upcoming conference and NCAA championship meets, which will give each participating team a direct glimpse at the championship meet grind. This facet of the meet schedule, Welsh said, has made the Shamrock Invitational a destination event for a number of teams in the last decade.
"The biggest preview of this event is that it follows the order of the conference meet in terms of individual events, and it follows the exact order of the national championship meet," Welsh said. "It is every event in sequence, and with this compact schedule, it's really compressed. We do get to see everything, starting at 5 p.m. Friday, we will be done before 8:00 on Saturday, that's a lot of racing in 24 hours."
Along with the season opening Dennis Stark Relays, the Shamrock Invitational has become ingrained in the fabric of the Notre Dame schedule every season since the 2005-06 campaign. The Irish have posted a combined 13-7 (.650) record in eight previous Shamrock starts, and the meet has endured as Notre Dame's signature invitational event.
"The Notre Dame Invitational, once upon a time, was located the weekend after Thanksgiving, where we have been going to the Hawkeye Invitational at Iowa in recent years," Welsh said. "That was a first semester culminating event, prelims, finals, three days, the whole championship format. This meet has always been compact, always been a day and a half or two days. It gives us a chance as we end into the championship segment to have everyone on our team swim all of his major events.
"The dual meet scoring is here because, to be honest, it takes away our depth and home field advantage, and we did that intentionally so teams can come here and not feel at a disadvantage by roster size to begin with," he added. "The main advantage for us is that all of our guys can swim all of their events, and for some this is the culminating event for the season, between this weekend and next weekend. For some guys, unfortunately, it will be their last two races."
Notre Dame and Iowa will compete against one another for the second time this season, as the Irish outraced the host Hawkeyes to claim first place at the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa the weekend of Dec. 6-8. Notre Dame and Missouri State will face one another for the first time since Feb. 1-2, 2013 at the Northwestern Invitational (a 210-160 Irish victory).
"We saw Missouri State last year at Northwestern when we competed at the Northwestern Invitational," Welsh said. "They are a rising team and they were aggressive, they were well coached, they were great racers. We expect they will be a very competitive group of guys when they show up here tomorrow night."
Live results will be available at UND.com and on the Meet Mobile App throughout the weekend.
Men's Order of Events
Notre Dame Shamrock Invitational
Jan. 31-Feb. 1, 2014
Rolfs Aquatic Center, Notre Dame, Ind.
Session One (Jan. 31, 5 p.m. ET)
200 Free Relay
400 Medley Relay
Session Two (Feb. 1, 10 a.m. ET)
200 Medley Relay
800 Free Relay
1-Meter diving will take place at 1:30 p.m. ET
Session Three (Feb. 1, 5 p.m. ET)
400 Free Relay
-- Tony Jones, Media Relations Assistant