Oct. 31, 2008
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – There is at least one thing each member of the Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team will be wearing for Halloween – smiles.
Friday’s meet versus Pittsburgh at the Rolfs Aquatic Center was a back-and-forth battle that went down to the final seconds of the last event. Notre Dame (1-1) earned the dual-meet victory with a brilliant performance in the homestretch of the contest to top the Panthers, 152-148.
“This was a very, very intense meet,” Irish head coach Tim Welsh said. “Pittsburgh has enormously improved from just a week ago. Congratulations to them for racing their hearts out.
“I’m so proud of our guys. When it absolutely, positively came down to the clutch, they knew the only way to win was to fight through those last events. I love that kind of mental toughness, and we can use that to build upon throughout the rest of this season.”
Notre Dame waits one week until its hits the water again, taking on instate foe Purdue on Saturday (Nov. 8) for a second straight home meet.
200 Medley Relay: Jeff Wood broke out to a slight early advantage … Pitt’s Jon Buchanan proved dominant off of the walls and regained the lead for the Panthers … Pitt gained a clear lead as the chase continued throughout the butterfly with the Panthers battling for second place as well … two Notre Dame relays challenged their Pitt rivals the final length as the Irish claimed second (1:35.59) and fourth (1:36.31) in the event.
1,000 Free: The Irish swimmers began picking apart their opponents during the first half of the race … by the conclusion of the first 500 yards, Notre Dame held a commanding stake for spots one, two and three led by Sullivan … Sullivan (9:36.22), Andrew Deters (9:37.88) and Ryan Belecanech (9:42.62) swept the first three spots.
200 Free: Navarro of Pitt and Andrew Hoffman became the leading contenders after the first 100 yards … the two surfaced even with each other heading into the final lap … Navarro came out slightly ahead off the wall and held his lead to finish in 1:41.88 … Hoffman (1:42.55) placed second.
100 Back: Pitt’s Andrzej Dubiel clearly led the race from start to finish for the duration of his 50.74 second performance … Wood (52.27) and Christopher Wills (52.64) fought with Pitt’s Bobby Smith (52.10) for second place … Smith managed to push forward and slam the wall in time to earn the silver.
100 Breast: Jon Buchanan (59.50) opened up an early lead for the Panthers … Daniel Rave (1:00.18) battled two other Pitt swimmers … Rave was able to hold off his opponents and take second for the Irish.
200 Fly: MacKenzie LeBlanc got out to an early lead over the field with Pitt’s Rousseau Kluever chasing closely behind … LeBlanc was able to maintain the lead and bring home a victory for the Irish squad in a time of 1:51.29 … meanwhile, Deters and Patrick Augustyn went to war with Pitt’s Charlie Zettel for the next two spots … Deters and Augustyn pushed ahead and clocked in at 1:55.47 and 1:55.78, respectively.
100 Free: Lytle came out of the turn and kicked his way to a good lead which he used to claim victory for the Irish squad with a 21.20 … Thomas Van Volkenburg entered an extremely tight race with Panther competitor Alex Kubicek, who lost second-place honors to Van Volkenburg’s 21.71 by one hundredth of a second.
200 Free: Lytle continued to lead the Irish sprinters with a first-place finish in a time of 45.55 … Hoffman battled Alex Navarro for second place during the final length … Hoffmann was able to maintain his lead and punch in a time of 46.59 along with a second-place finish.
200 Back: Sullivan noticeably began increasing his turnover rate in the second half in an effort to catch event leader Andrzej Dubiel of Pitt … Sullivan was also on the defensive as Pitt’s Bobby Smith started to close the gap to second place … Sullivan (1:51.03) was able to fend off Smith while Dubiel barely held on to his lead and defeated the Irish swimmer for first place in a time of 1:50.78.
200 Breast: Rave opened up a body length lead over his Panther competitors coming out of the third turn … Rave continued to build on his lead throughout the race and took gold for Notre Dame with a 2:07.67.
500 Free: Coming out of the 250-yard mark the field remained incredibly tight in the first of a handful of intense races … Navarro held a slight lead that was quickly cut down by Deters … Navarro’s teammate, Rousseau Kluever threatened Deters from the other side with the two Pitt swimmers continuing to cut away at the gap to first place … in the last length, Navarro turned up his speed and challenged Deters to the wall … Navarro (4:41.44) was able to just out-touch Deters (4:41.09).
100 Fly: Jakeo Lucas surfaced out in front off of the first turn and built his lead in the third length finishing with a time of 49.94 … LeBlanc (50.30) trailed him in second place while a four-way run was made for third.
200 IM: The natatorium was filled with cheers from both sides of the pool before the start of the race as Notre Dame and Pitt were both seeking much needed points in the tight competition … the field grew increasingly uneven as the race progressed with LeBlanc separating himself from the surrounding Panther pack … in the final lap, the race shifted in favor of Sullivan and LeBlanc who rose to the challenge as they chased each other for first place … Sullivan took the high honors with a time of 1:55.45 and LeBlanc followed with a 1:55.52, beating out Pitt’s Jon Buchanan (1:56.20).
400 Free Relay: A narrow gap separated the two teams as they headed into the final relay … Lytle streaked out to an early body length lead while Pitt’s Andrzej Dubiel drove onward … Hoffman continued to hold onto the lead that Lytle had built … meanwhile, the Irish had a clear holding of third place with Danny Lutkus in the water … Pitt’s Jakeo Lucas started to erode the gap that separated his relay from the first-place Irish and finished one yard behind Joshua Nosal … this was the last progress that Pitt would make against Notre Dame in these relays as Van Volkenburg doubled his lead over Alex Kubicek and brought the Irish relay to victory in a time of (3:03.47).
1-meter Diving: Bulfin (325.50) placed second and Lex was third with 297.59 points … Wesley Villaflor (282.07) also brought in points for the Irish.