Nov. 19, 2004
The University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team covered another leg in its evolution into one of the nation’s elite programs, as the Irish appeared 21st in the latest College Swim Coaches Association (CSCAA) Dual Meet Rankings, released Wednesday. The Irish, who notched their first-ever win against a nationally-ranked foe last Friday with a thrilling upset of eight-time defending BIG EAST champion and #17 Pittsburgh, appeared in the top 25 of the poll for the first time in school history.
Notre Dame had never received votes in the CSCAA poll prior to this season. That changed when they just missed out on the top 25 in the first rankings of the 2004-05 campaign, coming in as the first team receiving votes. The second poll also saw the Irish receiving votes, but listed 29th.
The Irish stand 5-1 this season, with their lone defeat coming against #22 Brigham Young, in a meet that was tied heading into the final relay. In a similar situation, Notre Dame upset Pittsburgh last weekend in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The Irish held a 142-141 advantage with one race left, meaning whichever squad won the 400-yard freestyle relay would claim the dual-meet victory. Notre Dame’s quartet of senior Frank Krakowski (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School) and sophomores Louis Cavadini (South Bend, Ind./Riley H.S.), Nick Fanslau (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn H.S.), and Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) came through by the narrowest of margins, winning the race by just .04 seconds to deliver a 155-145 win. The triumph snapped Pittsburgh’s 26-meet winning streak against BIG EAST foes and gave the Irish their first win against the Panthers in 45 years. Notre Dame’s other victories this fall have come against Evansville, Utah, Iowa, and Michigan State.
Pittsburgh dropped six spots to 23rd in the newest rankings, while BYU remains 22nd. One other Irish dual-meet opponent is in the poll: #15 Northwestern. The Wildcats will come to the Rolfs Aquatic Center on Jan. 22.
Notre Dame’s women’s team, which also topped Pittsburgh and Michigan State last weekend, moved up three spots to 21st in the CSCAA women’s dual meet rankings, meaning that the Irish have entered an elite group of 19 schools that boast nationally-ranked men’s and women’s programs. That echelon is dominated by four conferences – the Atlantic Coast, the Big Ten, the Pacific-10, and the Southeastern – which account for 16 of the schools. The Big XII has two schools in the group, while Hawai’i (Western Athletic) and Notre Dame are their leagues’ lone representatives.
In addition to team accolades, this week has seen Notre Dame gain some individual recognition, as the Irish appear 14 times in the inaugural set of Taper & Shave’s College Quick 50 report of the top times in Division I. Leading that contingent is Kegelman, whose time of 49.17 that won the 100 butterfly in Friday’s triangular currently stands as the 11th-quickest in the nation.
The Irish relays were also highly-placed. Notre Dame’s 200 freestyle relay – Krakowski, junior Tim Randolph (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville H.S.), Kegelman, and Cavadini – which posted a time of 1:24.28 at Iowa, currently ranks 17th in Division I, while the 400 free time from the triangular is 20th. Junior Doug Bauman (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School), Randolph, Kegelman, and Krakowski are ranked 21st in the 200 medley with a mark of 1:32.56, while sophomore Brian Freeman (Sanger, Calif./Immanuel H.S.) and juniors Bryan Guarnier (Queensbury, N.Y./Glen Falls H.S.), Patrick Heffernan (Norcross, Ga./Norcross H.S.), and Patrick Davis (Clearwater, Fla./Jesuit H.S.) are 23rd in the 800 free relay with a time of 7:12.08 at the Dennis Stark Relays. Notre Dame is 40th in the 400 medley relay, with a time of 3:27.03 by Bauman, junior Tyler Grenda (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum H.S.), Kegelman, and Krakowski at Utah.
In other individual action, Bauman and sophomore Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind./Western H.S.) both earned double mention. The former, the most prolific backstroker in school history, is 47th in the 200-yard race of that stroke with a time of 1:50.85, while he is 49th in the 100 back (51.08). Brown is 46th in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:40.45, and he ranks 49th in the 200 individual medley (1:53.35). The Irish have multiple individuals listed in two events, as freshman Andrew MacKay (Georgetown, Grand Cayman/Cayman Prep and H.S.), a 2004 Olympian in the event, is 45th in the 200 IM with a mark of 1:53.05. Davis and freshman Jay Vanden Berg (Holland, Mich./Southfield Christian School) are both listed in the top 40 in the 1,000 freestyle, at 34th (9:25.51) and 40th (9:26.39), respectively. Randolph rounds out the individual listings, coming in at 43rd in the 100 breaststroke (57.68).
The 21st-ranked Irish will return to action this weekend, traveling to future BIG-EAST opponent Louisville for a three-session, championship-style dual meet. Action will get underway on Friday at 7 p.m. (CST), with Saturday featuring sessions commencing at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.