Sept. 28, 2009
NOTRE DAME, Ind. – Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh recently finalized the swimming and diving program’s schedule for the 2009-10 season. Notre Dame will host seven meets, including four in a three-week stretch in January, before zeroing in on the program’s fifth conference crown in six years.
“The 2009-10 schedule looks good for the team this season. It’s very challenging and there are a lot of home meets, which we like,” Welsh said. “It is a very powerful schedule with some of the top finishers from last year’s BIG EAST Conference Championships as well as Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan State on the slate, all of which are much improved.”
The Irish open with three consecutive home meets, beginning with the Dennis Stark Relays on Oct. 9. Notre Dame plays host to Oakland two weeks later (Oct. 23) and concludes the home portion of the fall schedule with visits from Cleveland State and Miami (Ohio) on Oct. 31.
Notre Dame then travels to West Lafayette for a showdown with Big Ten powerhouse Purdue (Nov. 6) before taking on BIG EAST foe Pittsburgh on the road. The Irish have defeated Pittsburgh in five straight dual meets, including a win over the 17th-ranked Panthers in 2004.
The Irish conclude the fall portion of the schedule with a trip to Columbus for the Ohio State Invitational for the fourth consecutive season. Notre Dame finished fourth in last year’s 12-team field.
Northwestern (Jan. 9), Michigan State (Jan. 15) and Louisville (Jan. 16) come to town to begin the second half of the season with the Shamrock Invitational to follow on Jan. 29-30.
“The last two weeks of the schedule are extremely important because we want to finish our season strong, and it will be challenging with the strength of the schedule at that time of the year,” Welsh said. “From the middle of January to the middle of February we better be fast.”
The 2010 BIG EAST Conference Diving Championships will take place Feb. 12-14 in Pittsburgh, Pa., followed by the swimming events on Feb. 17-20.
The Irish will take part in the Austin Grand Prix (March 4-6), hosted by the University of Texas, and the Boiler-Make-It Invitational in West Lafayette (March 7) before the NCAA Championships. Purdue will host the NCAA Zone Diving Championships (March 12-13), and the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships will take place in Columbus from March 25-27.
Notre Dame finished with a 7-6 dual meet record last season before notching a thrilling win in the final race of the 2009 BIG EAST Championships to edge Louisville, 782.5-773, for the title. The Irish 400 Free Relay team of John Lytle, Danny Lutkus, Joshua Nosal and Andrew Hoffman knocked off the Louisville squad – a seven-second favorite – to capture the team crown.