Senior Bill Bass is one of nine Notre Dame swimmers scheduled to compete at the 2013 NCAA Championship this weekend

Irish Gear Up For NCAA Championship

March 27, 2013

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– One season removed from sending the most swimmers in program history to compete at the meet, the University of Notre Dame men’s swimming team has qualified a record number of competitors for the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship. The reigning BIG EAST champion Irish will have nine representatives take part in the NCAA meet this weekend at the IUPUI Natatorium in Indianapolis.

The nine Notre Dame entries into the NCAA Championship shatter the previous program high of two qualifiers in a single year established in 2012.

“This achievement is an important milestone for these men, our team, and our program,” BIG EAST Coach of the Year Tim Welsh said. “We are proud of and we celebrate their accomplishments. At the same time, we look forward to continued hard work and continued improvement in the future.”

Senior Bill Bass and junior Frank Dyer became the first pair of Irish teammates ever to compete at the same NCAA meet in 2012, and each posted qualifying times again this season. Joining Bass and Dyer at the 2013 NCAA Championship are seven first-time qualifiers: seniors Chris Johnson and John McGinley, sophomores Kevin Hughes, Cameron Miller, Zach Stephens and John Williamson, and freshman Bogac Ayhan are eligible to swim at the meet. The Irish also qualified entries into the 200, 400 and 800 free relay events, and the 200 and 400 medley relay races.

Dyer, the only three-time NCAA qualifier in Notre Dame history, became the program’s first All-American after a fourth-place showing in the 200 freestyle at the 2012 NCAA Championship in Federal Way, Wash. Dyer is scheduled to swim in the 100, 200 and 500 free distances this season in Indianapolis, and is eligible to compete for the Notre Dame relay entries.

Bass travels to Indianapolis as a key relay competitor, completing one of the most successful careers in Notre Dame swimming history. After garnering seven all-BIG EAST citations, three being solo honors, at the IUPUI Natatorium earlier this month, Bass surpassed Irish legend and volunteer assistant coach John Lytle for the most career individual all-conference scrolls earned (10). Bass’ 20 total all-BIG EAST scrolls rank second in program history behind Lytle’s 22.

Johnson won his first career BIG EAST individual race championship March 1, swimming a school and meet record time of 52.95 in the 100 breast. Johnson shaved nearly one full second off his runner-up time in the event from the 2012 conference championship (53.79) in his victorious final heat at this season’s BIG EAST meet. Johnson added an NCAA B-cut in the 200 breast (1:59.68) to qualify for both sprint breast distances at the NCAA Championship, and is also available to swim on Notre Dame relays.

McGinley claimed three all-conference citations this season as a member of 200, 400 and 800 free relay squads at the BIG EAST Championship, and is expected to represent Notre Dame in those events in his first trip to the NCAA Championship. McGinley was a member of the fastest 200 free (1:18.79, 2012 BIG EAST Championship) and 800 free (6:23.40, 2013 BIG EAST Championship) relay teams in school history.

The 2013 conference runner-up to Dyer in the 500 free, Hughes swam the distance in a career-best 4:23.67 earlier this month at the BIG EAST Championship. Hughes earned an additional all-BIG EAST scroll as part of the school record 800 free relay team at the BIG EAST meet, and is eligible to compete with each of Notre Dame’s five relay entries at the NCAA meet.

A three-time all-BIG EAST recipient as a sophomore this season, Miller was a crucial component on the four-man 200 medley relay team that set a school record (1:26.33) in the distance at the conference meet. Miller earned additional all-conference recognition after NCAA B-cut times in the 200 IM (1:47.94) and 100 (53.53) and 200 breast (1:56.24) at the BIG EAST Championship.

Stephens lowered his Notre Dame record in the 200 breast by nearly two full seconds in a gold medal run at the BIG EAST Championship, posting a winning time of 1:55.21. Stephens, Johnson, Miller (all at this season’s BIG EAST meet), Mason Weber (1:58.10, 2012 BIG EAST Championship) and Daniel Rave (1:59.86, 2007 BIG EAST Championship) are the only swimmers to surpass the two-minute mark in the 200 breast in the 55 seasons of Notre Dame men’s swimming. Stephens also set a program record during the prelims of the 100 breast (53.17), a mark that was ultimately surpassed by Johnson in the event finals.

Williamson swam three NCAA B-cut heats during the BIG EAST Championship, breaking the time barrier in the 500 free (4:24.87) and 100 (47.93) and 200 fly (1:43.94). Williamson’s championship heat in the 200 fly broke his own school record in the event set at the 2012 BIG EAST meet (1:44.74).

Ayhan will close his inaugural collegiate season as the second freshman in Notre Dame history to qualify for the NCAA Championship (Dyer, 2011). Ayhan swam the leadoff leg for the school record setting 200 medley relay team at the BIG EAST Championship, and added an additional all-conference scroll as a member of the 400 medley relay squad.

The trial stage of the 2013 NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. Thursday inside the IUPUI Natatorium.

Notre Dame Individual NCAA Championship Race Qualifiers
(All are also eligible to compete on Notre Dame’s five relay teams)
Frank Dyer – 100 free, 200 free, 500 free
Chris Johnson – 100 breast, 200 breast
Cameron Miller – 200 IM, 100 breast, 200 breast
Zach Stephens – 200 IM, 100 breast, 200 breast
John Williamson – 500 free 100 fly, 200 fly

Designated Relay Participants
Bill Bass
John McGinley
Kevin Hughes
Bogac Ayhan

Notre Dame Relay NCAA Championship Race Qualifiers
200 free relay
400 free relay
800 free relay
200 medley relay
400 medley relay