Junior All-American Zach Stephens earned his second first place finish of the weekend, setting the Notre Dame and ACC Championship record in the 200 breaststroke (1:53.34) on Saturday

Irish Dominant In 197-103 Win Over Michigan State

Nov. 15, 2013


NOTRE DAME, Ind. – The University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team kicked off its busy weekend dual meet slate with a 197-103 victory Friday night over Michigan State at the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The Irish (3-4) claimed a total of 11 individual and freestyle events, leading to the season-high point total.

“First of all we love being home and you could see it in warm-ups,” Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh said. “We were relaxed, we were comfortable and we were excited to be in our own pool. We raced very well and I thought our divers did very well. Michael Kreft’s three-meter score was really solid.

“Overall we were balanced tonight,” he added. “We made some changes and they worked out and it was a good, energetic, well-raced meet.”

Notre Dame opened the meet with 10 straight race victories, the most consecutive gold medal swims by the Irish in competition this season. The night was kick started by a victorious effort for the Notre Dame `A’ squad of Bogac Ayhan, Colin Babcock, Zach Stephens and Frank Dyer in 1:30.54 in the 200 medley relay.

Senior two-time All-American Dyer clocked the fastest Notre Dame effort in the 50 free during the 2013-14 campaign, touching in at 20.38 to finish nearly one second ahead of teammate Babcock (21.28). Dyer added a victorious 45.87 effort in the 100 free to pace the Irish as a triple-winner.

Junior All-American Zach Stephens added a winning 50.91 in the 100 back, and was one of many Notre Dame swimmers entered in what may have been a non-traditional event.

“We switched the events that the swimmers usually race in preparation for what is coming,” Welsh said. “We were trying to look for some opportunities for preparation for the future.”

Junior Kevin Hughes logged his fastest 200 free run of the season in a victorious 1:41.01, and classmate Cameron Miller added a gold medal time of 56.65 in the 100 breast to keep the Notre Dame momentum rolling. Junior All-American John Williamson (1:49.93, 200 fly), sophomore Ayhan (1:51.83, 200 back), freshman Trent Jackson (2:07.62, 200 breast) and junior Matthew DeBlasio (4:03.67, 400 IM) contributed winning swims on the night for the Irish.

Notre Dame added a sweep in both diving events, with freshman Joe Coumos claiming the title off the 1-meter board with a score of 331.35 points. Kreft added a career-best 375.60 points to earn gold in the 3-meter dive.

The Irish will return to the Rolfs Aquatic Center to welcome Wisconsin Saturday at 11 a.m.

“Wisconsin is a good team and they are on the same schedule that we are on,” Welsh said. “They swam at Northwestern tonight, will drive down here tonight and will race tomorrow. They are a little faster up front than Michigan State. They have the defending national champion in the 200 backstroke. They are a tough team and we want to come back tomorrow with even more than we had tonight.”

Event-by-Event Breakdown

200 Medley Relay: The Irish swept the event with their first, second and third place finishes in the event … the A quartet of Bogac Ayhan, Colin Babcock, Zach Stephens and Frank Dyer led the Irish in 1:30.54.
1650 Freestyle: Freshman Kevin Bradley picked up the second Irish victory on the evening with his 16:05.38 showing … junior James McEldrew followed closely behind in 16:09.19, which was good for a second-place finish.

200 Freestyle: Sophomore Michael Hudspith nearly closed the gap on teammate Kevin Hughes over the last 50 yards, but Hughes out-touched Hudspith as the tandem went one-two in the event (1:41.01 and 1:41.23, respectively) … freshman Reed Fujan finished in third (1:43.22) to complete the sweep for the Irish.

100 Backstroke: Stephens, trying his luck in the event that he normally does not swim, touched the pad first for the Irish in 50.91 seconds … sophomore Matthew Buerger finished second in 51.51 seconds.

100 Breaststroke: The junior duo of Cameron Miller and Pat Olson took the gold and silver, respectively with times of 56.54 and 57.53 seconds.

200 Butterfly: Junior All-American John Williamson used a strong second 50 yards to pull ahead of Michigan State’s Bryan Williams to take the lead at the 100 yard mark … the two remained virtually even the rest of the way as Williamson took the gold in 1:49.93 … fellow junior John Nappi took the bronze in 1:55.34.

50 Freestyle: Dyer and fellow senior Colin Babcock dominated the splash-and-dash event for Notre Dame as they took the top two spots with times of 20.38 and 21.28, respectively.

100 Freestyle: Dyer took his second individual event on the evening, claiming the event in 45.87 seconds … Stephens cruised into the wall in second with a time of 45.19.

200 Backstroke: Ayhan used a powerful, quick last 50 yards to take the event from senior Bertie Nel, who finished second … Ayhan split 27.54 over the last 50 yards to finish in a time of 1:51.83 while Nel touched the pad at 1:53.09.

200 Breaststroke: Freshman Trent Jackson held on for the victory, continuing the Irish winning streak on the evening to 10 events … Jackson clocked in at 2:07.62 … sophomore Andrew Jensen took silver with a 2:08.42 showing.

500 Freestyle: The Irish winning streak came to an end as Jonathon Burke from Michigan State won the event in 4:39.66 … Hudspith was right behind him in second (4:40.41) while Patrick Murphy was the second Irish finisher, taking fourth place (4:52.40).

100 Butterfly: Olson finished in 50.67 seconds, which was good enough for second in the event … Dyer swam a time of 48.97 as an exhibition swimmer and his time would have been good enough for the victory if he was not an exhibition swimmer.

400 Individual Medley: Junior Matthew DeBlasio separated from the field with a 4:03.67 performance, nearly six seconds ahead of the second place finisher … Tom Anderson (4:02.37) and John Nappi (4:04.64) swam as exhibition swimmers.

400 Yard Free Relay: The foursome of Hudspith, Fujan, Bradley and Buerger finished in a time of 3:06.31 as an exhibition relay.

1-meter Diving: Freshman Joe Coumos collected 331.35 points on the evening for Notre Dame to take the top spot off the 1-meter board … junior Nick Nemetz finished in third for the Irish with 310.65 points.

3-meter Diving: Junior Michael Kreft (375.60), Coumos (340.43) and Nemetz (336.75) combined to finish one-two-three in the event … junior Ted Wagner finished a close fourth with 336.74 points.