Feb. 18, 2012
PITTSBURGH – Brennan Jacobsen and John Williamson each copped individual titles as Notre Dame held off a scrappy Louisville squad en route to winning its fifth BIG EAST Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving title Saturday at Trees Pool. Notre Dame totaled 887 points for its first league crown since 2009, as two-time defending champion Louisville (859.5) was second in front of Pittsburgh (520) and West Virginia (509.5) among the 10-team field.
Bill Bass, who won a pair of races on the week, was named the meet’s Most Outstanding Swimmer as Irish skipper Tim Welsh was named Swimming Coach of the Year. The awards gave Notre Dame a clean sweep of the league’s postseason hardware, as Nick Nemetz was named Diver of the Year and Caiming Xie was tabbed Diving Coach of the Year earlier in the meet.
Holding a steady lead over the Cardinals in the standings heading into the final day of action, Notre Dame wasted no time cementing its status as conference king when Jacobsen rallied to win the 1,650 free in 15:16.77. Jacobsen nearly set a school-best mark in the 1,000 free (9:14.04) en route to his come-from-behind victory, which saw him go from sixth place to finish first. Kevin Hughes (15:17.53) was second, John Nappi (15:27.69) was fourth and Jimmy McEldrew (15:28.19) was fifth to join the crew on the podium while setting a program record in the 1,000-yard portion of the race.
Zachary Stephens parlayed his Rolfs Aquatic Center record in the 200 breast set earlier this season with a school record by going 1:57.06 in the prelims and 1:57.44 in the finals for the bronze. Cameron Miller (1:57.57) took fourth.
Williamson wowed the crowd with a school and Trees Pool record of 1:44.74 to take home the gold in the 200 fly. Bass (1:45.60) and Jacobsen (1:50.68) were third and eighth, respectively, to help secure the team title heading into the 400 free relay. The relay tandem went 2:55.42 for silver honors before the celebration began.