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Irish Add Olympic Qualifier, Six-Time All-American, And Four Divers For Next Season

June 10, 2004

Irish men’s swimming and diving coach Tim Welsh recently announced that six more student-athletes will enroll at the University of Notre Dame in the fall and join his squad for the 2005 season. Divers Steven Crowe (Brockport, N.Y./Brockport H.S.), Christopher Kane (San Antonio, Texas/Ronald Reagan H.S.), Michael Maggio (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier H.S.), and Sam Stoner (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) and swimmers Andrew Mackay (Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands/Cayman Prep & H.S.) and Eric Swenson (Scotch Plains, N.J./St. Joseph H.S.) will join three previously-announced recruits to form the nine-member class of 2008. Mackay is the first-ever Olympic qualifier from the Cayman Islands and will take part in this year’s Athens games in the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys, while Swenson is a six-time prep All-America in the breaststroke events.

“First of all, this class bolsters our diving events,” said Welsh of the group. “With the addition of these four, we are now a strong and deep diving squad, where we were thin last year [with only one diver]. It is a giant step forward for us in diving. Additionally, it adds swimmers for us near the top of the heap. Andrew Mackay will represent the Cayman Islands in the Olympic Games and be the first student-athlete in the history of our program to take part in the Olympics. Eric Swenson is a breaststroker with great upside, which will help us a great deal because of both the loss of Josh Dermott to graduation and the fact that the breaststroke events are among our thinnest. It is a strong group of athletes.”

“This is the best group of diving recruits we have had in awhile,” said Irish diving coach Caiming Xie of the quartet of divers. “They bring us a pretty good level of talent, and I think they will be able to contribute immediately to our team performance in both dual meets and in the BIG EAST meet. I am hopeful that in a couple of years, they can be a real force for us.”

Crowe is a 5-11, 150-pound senior at Brockport High School. He finished first at the New York State Section 5 Diving Championships in 2004 for his third consecutive top-six finish at the meet. Crowe then went on to take eighth in the New York state meet. He holds the 11-dive school record at Brockport off the one-meter board (443.80) and competed in the U.S. diving regional and zone meets in 2003, taking eighth place in the former. Nominated Best Diver of his section this past season, Crowe was twice selected a first-team all-Monroe County honoree. He was tabbed the Most Improved Player on his team in ’03 and as a senior won the Scholar Athlete Award. A member of the Blue Fins Diving club in Webster, N.Y., Crowe’s top six-dive score in one-meter competition is 243.03. A member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the Environmental Club, Crowe has earned mention on the high honor roll every quarter of his prep career and is ranked eighth in his class.

“Steven does not have a whole lot of club diving experience,” said Caiming. “He was mostly active in high school diving, but I think with the more rigorous training schedule of collegiate diving, he will really develop. He has a lot of natural talent, and I expect him to be one of our top divers next year.”

Kane is a 5-7, 135-pound senior at Ronald Reagan High School. He received all-state mention in Texas in 2004 as a district champion and bronze medal winner in the regional meet, marking his second consecutive top five in the event. In action with the San Antonio Diving Club, Kane barely missed qualifying for the national meet in 2004 and has participated in the Zone D qualifier in each of the last two years. He was invited to participate in the “Down Under Sports” international swimming and diving competition based in Australia each of the last two years. Kane also was a district qualifier in golf, a regional finalist in wrestling, and second baseman on the junior varsity baseball team as a freshman before concentrating solely on diving. A member of National Honor Society, Kane received the Texas Scholar Award for academic achievement.

“Christopher is a versatile diver,” said Caiming. “He started diving about two or three years ago, but he has a good list of dives he is capable of. He has natural talent and a good work ethic, so I expect him to improve considerably. Christopher also is an excellent student who will be taking part in the ROTC [Reserve Officers Training Corps] program at Notre Dame. We are expecting all areas of excellence from him, from diving to academics. Plus, we think he will bring good leadership skills.”

Mackay, a 5-9, 150-pound senior at Cayman Prep and High School, is the Cayman Islands’ first-ever Olympic swimming qualifier and will compete in the 200- and 400-meter individual medleys in the Athens games, slated for Aug. 13-29. He will be the first student-athlete in Irish men’s swimming and diving history to compete in the Olympics. Mackay holds Cayman national records in long-course meters in all backstroke, breaststroke, and individual medley events, as well as the 100-meter butterfly. In the 2003 World Championships in Barcelona, Mackay, 17 years old at the time, registered the fastest start reaction time (.63 seconds) in the entire 78-swimmer field in the 200 IM (he finished 48th). His extensive international experience includes competing at the 2002 World Short Course Championships in Moscow, reaching the semifinals at the ’02 Commonwealth Games in Manchester, and becoming the first Caymanian to advance to the finals in the Pan American Games, in ’03. Mackay earned 31 medals (14 gold, 11 silver, 6 bronze) at the CARIFTA (Caribbean Free Trade Agreement) Swimming Championships, setting six records on the way. He medaled in nine events (4 gold, 5 silver) in the Island Games, setting three records, of which the 100 back mark still stands. Mackay also won the Cayman Islands Swimming Coach’s Award in ’02. His top long-course times include 2:08.15 in the 200 IM, 4:32.96 in the 400 IM, 58.69 in the 100 back, 2:07.96 in the 200 back, and 57.73 in the 100 fly. In short-course meters, his bests include 2:06.72 in the 200 IM, 56.80 in the 100 back, and 2:02.17 in the 200 back.

“Drew is an extremely versatile athlete, and the backstroke and individual medleys are his primary events,” said Welsh. “He will represent his country in the Olympics this summer, which makes him the first major international athlete we have had in our program. We are expecting great, great things from him. He is coming in at the height of our program, and he is the type of athlete we need to bring our program to a national level. I am eager to see him represent Notre Dame both in NCAA and international competition.”

Maggio is a 5-10, 145-pound senior at St. Xavier High School. He finished 14th in the Ohio state diving championships after a season featuring a trio of top-three finishes in championship meets. Maggio was second in both the Greater Catholic League and the Ohio South District meets, while taking third in the Ohio Southwest Classic. In addition to his individual success, Maggio was a member of the 2001 St. X squad that was crowned swimming and diving national champions, as well as the ’04 team that won the Ohio state championship. His brother, Andy Maggio, graduated in 2003 as the top diver in Notre Dame history. He still holds the six-dive University records in both one- and three-meter diving, and just missed the 2002 NCAA Championships.

“Michael’s brother, Andy, continues to hold our University diving records, and I know both he and we are anxious to continue the Maggio tradition at Notre Dame,” said Caiming. “He has been on campus many times and been to our camp, so he knows our program the best of the incoming class. He has talent, and is very strong, and we will be looking for him to get a jump start on the season and get going right away. I know he will carry on the tradition of excellence established by his brother.”

Stoner is a 5-6, 142-pound senior at Valparaiso High School. His prep resume includes championships in conference, sectional, and regional action, as well as a trio of top-15 finishes in the Indiana state meet, highlighted by a third place in 2003, which followed up his victory at the La Porte regional. Stoner was in the top four in that meet in each of his final three seasons and finished ninth in the state meet in 2004. He was the MVP of his team as a junior and senior. Stoner also is a member of National Honor Society.

“Sam Stoner continues the pattern of the last couple of years, which has seen some of the best swimmers and divers from Indiana coming to Notre Dame,” said Caiming. “He has a good deal of experience on the one-meter board, but he has not spent as much time in three-meter competition, so I look for that to be an area of improvement for him. I expect him to step in and be one of our top divers off the one-meter board immediately. It is exciting to see the elite athletes in Indiana come here. Sam has a great deal of improvement ahead of him, and we are excited about what his future can be.”

Swenson, a 6-3, 200-pound senior at St. Joseph High School in Metuchen, has finished in the top six both breaststroke events in the YMCA national championships in each of the last two years, while also winning a pair of New Jersey state championships in the 100. He has garnered six prep All-America honors and is a 10-time YMCA national finalist, including a third-place finish in the 100 in 2004 and a fifth place in ’03. Swenson is the YMCA state recordholder in the 100 breast and his team’s recordholder in 12 events. The Middlesex County Swimmer of the Year for 2003-04, he currently ranks first on the independent schools All-American list in the 100 breast for this season. Swenson, a former U.S. Open qualifier, was fifth in the country in the event among 15- and 16-year-olds in 2003. His top times are 57.00 in the 100 breast and 2:06.84 in the 200. A member of the National Honor Society, Swenson was named the top scholar-athlete at St. Joseph this past spring.

“Eric is a horse; he is a big, strong athlete, and the breaststrokes are his best events right now,” said Welsh. “He brings a great deal of power and strength, and I know he will get stronger and more powerful throughout his career. His contributions in the breaststroke lane will be gigantic. I am really happy he has chosen to come to Notre Dame.”

The three previous commitments to the Irish class of 2008, Graham Parker (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill H.S. East), Rob Seery (Garden City, N.Y./Garden City H.S.), and Jay VandenBerg (Beverly Hills, Mich./Southfield Christian School), signed national letters of intent last fall.

The nine incoming freshman will join an Irish squad that returns 21 of 25 monogram winners from last year’s team that registered Notre Dame’s highest-ever point total in finishing second at the BIG EAST Championships. The Irish won the Notre Dame Invitational for the third straight year and rebounded from a 1-5 start to go 8-7 in dual meets, the seventh winning record for Notre Dame in the last nine seasons. The Irish will return the team leader in 14 of 16 individual events for the 2004-05 campaign.