Feb. 20, 2004
EAST MEADOW, N.Y. – The University of Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team put itself into position to make a move on the second day of the BIG EAST Championships, as the Irish turned in the best morning of any team on Friday, qualifying 18 swimmers for the evening individual finals, including 11 in the championship finals. Meanwhile, it has taken freshman Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) just three sessions in his first conference meet to set two individual school records (200 IM on Thursday, 100 fly on Friday) and take part on a record-setting relay (200 free).
Notre Dame’s docket of evening qualifiers is the best of any team in the field. Seven-time defending champion Pittsburgh will have 13 swims on Friday evening, including eight in championship finals, while Virginia Tech also will have 13, with six of them coming in the highest-scoring races. After one day of competition, the Panthers were in first place with 234 points, while Virginia Tech was second with 191.5 and the Irish were third with 169.5.
In the second race of the morning, Kegelman continued his assault on the Irish record books by setting a University record of 48.45 in the 100 fly, qualifying second behind defending champion Dustin Rogers of Connecticut. Kegelman’s time – his second NCAA “B” cut in as many days – bettered the previous mark of 48.92, set by current junior Frank Krakowski (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School) in last year’s BIG EAST meet. Krakowski was .08 seconds slower than his mark from the ’03 meet, qualifying fourth in 49.00, a season-best time. He was seventh in the race in ’03 and 12th as a rookie. Freshman Louis Cavadini (South Bend, Ind./Riley H.S.) made it three Notre Dame competitors in the championship final by tying for seventh with a season-best time of 49.55. That trio and David Horak (’02) are the only Notre Dame swimmers ever to break the 50-second mark in the event.
Sophomore Jamie Lutkus (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) was Notre Dame’s lone top qualifier of the morning, posting the fastest mark in the 400 individual medley. His time of 3:55.37 was more than a second ahead of Pittsburgh senior Eric Limkemann, the 2002 champ. Lutkus, who set the University record of 3:54.38 in finishing second in last year’s BIG EAST meet, now owns the three fastest times in Irish history in the event, with Friday’s ranking second-best. Junior David Moisan (Fisherville, Ky./Louisville Male H.S.), who has finished seventh in the last two conference meets, qualified third with a time of 3:57.87, while freshman Justin Barber (Carson City, Nev./Carson H.S.) made it three Irish swimmers in the final, coming in sixth in 4:00.05. Barber’s previous best time – nearly 4.5 seconds slower than Friday’s mark – ranked him 17th in the conference heading into the meet.
The Irish have a pair of participants in the championship finals of the 200 free and 100 back. In the former event, senior co-captain Matt Obringer (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) led the way with a third-place time of 1:39.06. It was his top time of the season and was good enough for his first NCAA “B” cut, meaning he will be considered for a bid to next month’s NCAA Championships. Obringer finished fifth in the event a year ago. Freshman Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind./Western H.S.), who set an Irish record in finishing third in the 500 free on Thursday, qualified seventh with a season-best time of 1:39.76. He is just the third Notre Dame swimmer in school history to break the 1:40.00 barrier in the race, joining Obringer, David Nathe (’94), and school recordholder Ray Fitzpatrick (’00).
In the 100 back, sophomore Doug Bauman (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School) matched his season best and missed the University record by .10 seconds in qualifying fifth with a time of 50.33. He now holds the second-, third-, fourth-, and fifth-quickest times in school history. Freshman Alan Carter (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park H.S.) tied for seventh with a season-best time of 50.59.
Sophomore Tim Randolph (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville H.S.) is the lone Irish qualifier for the championship final of the 100 breaststroke. His career-best time of 56.09 ranked him seventh in the prelims.
A pair of Irish student-athletes – senior co-captain Josh Dermott (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Rio Americano H.S.) and sophomore Tyler Grenda (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum H.S.) – will be in the consolation final of the 100 breast. Dermott, who finished 15th in the event in 2002, was 12th in 56.88, while Grenda came in 16th in 57.69, just .03 seconds ahead of 17th place.
The 200 free is the only other consolation final with multiple Irish participants, as sophomore Patrick O’Berry (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton H.S.) and freshman Brian Freeman (Sanger, Calif./Immanuel H.S.) gained spots. O’Berry had a career-best mark of 1:41.15 in qualifying 15th, while Freeman turned in his best time (1:41.56) to finish one behind. Heading into the meet, Freeman was 29th and O’Berry was 39th on the BIG EAST top times list. Junior Matt Bertke (Edgewood, Ky./Covington Catholic H.S.) just missed the consolation final, taking 18th in 1:41.78.
Sophomore Steve Shomberger (Spotsylvania, Va./Courtland H.S.) will be in action in a pair of consolation finals. He was 10th in the 100 back with a career-best time of 50.98. He also will be in the consolation final of the 100 fly, as he cut 1.67 seconds off his career best in qualifying 13th with a time of 50.37. Heading into the meet, he ranked 37th in the conference in the event, and only two competitors in the event Friday morning had higher seed times than Shomberger.
Sophomore Patrick Heffernan (Norcross, Ga./Norcross H.S.) will compete in the consolation final of the 400 IM, after cutting nearly five seconds off his seed time for a career-best 4:02.41 and 11th-place finish. Heffernan came into the meet 25th in the BIG EAST in the race, and his seed time was the highest of any participant in the event.
Sophomore Patrick Davis (Clearwater, Fla./Jesuit H.S.) finished 20th in the 400 IM with a time of 4:07.67.
In the 100 breast, junior Drew Pittman (Williamsburg, Va./Lafayette H.S.) was 21st in 58.39, while freshman Nick Fanslau (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn H.S.) was right behind in a season-best 58.48.
Senior Brian Coughlan (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo H.S.) turned in a career-best time of 51.37 in his final time swimming the 100 fly as a collegian. He finished 24th in the race.
The preliminaries of one-meter diving took place on Friday afternoon. The top eight finishers in that will compete in the evening final.
Friday’s finals will feature the four events that had preliminaries, as well as the 200 medley and 800 free relays. Each individual swimming race has a final featuring the top eight competitors from prelims, as well as a consolation final featuring the next eight. Anyone swimming at night scores points for his team. In diving, the top eight advance to the finals, but the next eight also score points based on their preliminary totals. All teams with at least four student-athletes qualified for the meet may field one relay team in every race. Those are contested only at night and in two heats: one with the teams holding the top six times from the regular season and one with all other teams.
Notre Dame is seeded third in both relays, with times of 1:31.62 in the 200 medley and 6:45.55 in the 800 free.