Feb. 20, 2003
THIS WEEK: The Notre Dame men’s swimming and diving team travels to Uniondale, N.Y. Thursday-Saturday, March 20-22, for the 2003 BIG EAST Swimming and Diving Championships. Prelims begin each morning at 10:30 a.m., with finals scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m.
BIG EAST HISTORY: Notre Dame has never won the BIG EAST meet, placing fourth the past two seasons. Notre Dame’s best finishes occurred in 1999 and 2000 when the Irish were second. The Irish have not placed lower than fourth the past five seasons and look to continue the streak this weekend.
The Irish men have had five BIG EAST event winners. The most recent were Ray Fitzpatrick and Jonathan Pierce who took the crown in the 200 freestyle and the 1,650 freestyle, respectively, in 2000. Pierce also won the 1,650 crown in 1999. Other winners for the Irish include Dan Szilier in the 200 breaststroke (1999) and the 400 freestyle relay team of Vince Kuna, Rob Fetter, Steele Whowell and Fitzpatrick, also in 1999.
IRISH COMPETING IN BIG EAST MEET: Notre Dame had 21 swimmers and three divers qualify for the BIG EAST Championships this weekend. Irish swimmers and divers who rank in the top eight of their events coming into the meet include sophomore David Moisan (6th – 200 breast, 7th – 400 IM), sophomore Frank Krakowski (8th-100 fly), junior Matt Obringer (4th – 200 free), senior Jason Fitzpatrick (2nd – 100 breast, 3rd – 200 breast), freshman Doug Bauman (5th – 100 back), freshman Tyler Grenda (7th- 200 breast) and junior Lucas Wymore (7th- 200 fly).
In the relays, Notre Dame’s 200 freestyle relay is seeded fourth, while the 400 medley relay is fifth and the 200 medley relay is fourth. The 800 freestyle relay is seventh, while the 400 free relay is third.
Other Irish athletes who have qualified for the conference meet include sophomore Matt Bertke, senior Michael Flanagan, junior J.R. Teddy, freshman, Patrick O’Berry, freshman Bryan Guarnier, freshman Patrick Davis, freshman Jamie Lutkus, junior Josh Dermott, freshman Patrick Heffernan, freshman Tim Randolph, senior Joe Miller, senior Tong Xie, senior Andy Maggio, senior Travis Kline, freshman Steve Shomberger, senior Matt Hyde and senior John Hudson.
ABOUT THE IRISH: Notre Dame, competing against its toughest dual meet schedule in the history of the program, finished the season with a 6-8 record. The Irish defeated Kalamazoo, Michigan State, TCU, Centenary, Villanova and Cleveland State during the season.
HEAD COACH TIM WELSH: Irish head coach Tim Welsh is in his 18th season as head coach of the Irish men after serving at the helm of both the men’s and women’s team from 1985-94. He currently has the second longest tenure of any Irish coach at Notre Dame (track and field coach Joe Piane is first at 28 years). Welsh was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year in 1999 and was given an honorary monogram for his distinguished service to the swimming programs by Notre Dame’s National Monogram Club.
Welsh is also involved with the sport at the national level as he served on the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming Committee from 1991-97 and was president of the group at one time. He also has served as the president of the BIG EAST swimming coaches and is a board member of the American Swimming Coaches Association.
HEAD DIVING COACH CAIMING XIE: Irish head diving coach Caiming Xie is in his eighth year with the program. Xie was named the 1999 BIG EAST Diving Coach of the Year and was instrumental in former Irish diver Heather Mattingly earning All-American honors on the three-meter board at the 2002 NCAA Championships after she placed eighth.
ABOUT THE COMPETITION: Pittsburgh’s men, ranked 16th nationally, have achieved their highest ranking ever in the current CSCAA poll (Feb. 13). The Panthers are led by a quartet of 2002 BIG EAST individual champions. Eric Limkemann (500 and 1,650 freestyle, 400 IM), Mike Grube (50, 100 freestyle), Randy Gertenbach (100, 200 breaststroke) and Kenny Shelhorse (200 backstroke) will be looking to defend their titles and help Pitt win its eighth BIG EAST Championship in 10 years.
Boston College finished the regular season winning seven of its last eight meets. Sophomore Tim Tully has top times for the Eagles in six events, including four that are BC all-time dual meet bests. Connecticut is led by a pair of seniors, Marshal Livingston and Craig Orski, who are capable of swimming every freestyle and backstroke distance. Georgetown divers Michael Kizer and Alan Fong have the top two scores in the conference in the 1-meter. Kyle Prandi and Miquel Velazquez will be looking to continue Miami’s dominance in the diving events at the BIG EAST Championships.
Rutgers went 4-0 against BIG EAST teams in meets and Sean Smith holds the top time in the 400 IM time. Senior Gregory Danner earned 10 first-place finishes in five different events for St. John’s. He also has the top time in the 200 butterfly. Seton Hall posted its first winning overall record in the program’s history at 11-3.
Syracuse’s Dewey Schultz, Tony Campagna and Ricky Rodriguez became the first SU divers to qualify for the NCAA Zone Meet since 1995-96. Seniors Peter Klimas, Justin Buland, Adam Walchak and Andrew Harbuck could all earn points at the BIG EAST Championship as they lead a Villanova team with 11 freshmen and sophomores. Virginia Tech swimmers hold the league’s top times in six individual events and two relays. Senior Kleyton Franca leads West Virginia with 19 individual victories and is the defending BIG EAST champion in the 200 freestyle. (courtesy of www.bigeast.org)
NATIONAL RANKINGS:Notre Dame is unranked in the latest CSCAA National Poll (Feb 13). The only BIG EAST school to appear in the poll is Pittsburgh at No. 16.
1 Stanford2 Auburn3 California4 Michigan5 Texas6 Minnesota7 Southern Cal8 Florida9 Virginia10 Georgia10 Wisconsin12 Tennessee13 Alabama14 Arizona State15 Texas A&M16 Pittsburgh17 Penn State18 Brigham Young19 Arizona20 Harvard21 Hawaii22 Indiana23 Princeton24 Purdue25 North Carolina