Feb. 20, 2010
PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The scoreboard tilted back and forth between Notre Dame and Louisville on the final day of the 2010 BIG EAST Conference Swimming and Diving Championships, but the Cardinals staged a late rally to claim their first title since joining the league in 2005-06. The Irish received a solid second-place finish from John Lytle in the 100 free as Louisville won four of six races Saturday evening at Trees Pool to clinch the win.
Louisville (808) topped Notre Dame (758) in the overall standings with Pittsburgh (535) and West Virginia (442) claiming the next two spots.
“Breaking this team down from the beginning of the season, we’ve showed great improvement, meet after meet, and this meet was no different,” Irish head coach Tim Welsh said. “From Wednesday to Saturday, our men took a giant step forward and proved a lot. The last four sessions were absolutely phenomenal. I’m very proud of our men, and we’d like to extend our congratulations to Louisville. We know what it takes to win this meet and how hard it can be, and they did so this week.”
The finish was Notre Dame’s fifth runner-up showing at the league meet since 1996 and snapped a potential three-peat for the program.
1,650 Freestyle: Louisville took a 10-point lead in the standings after finishing first and third in the distance marathon … for the Irish, Andrew Deters (15:35.40) was fifth while Ryan Belecanech (15:41.09) was sixth.
200 Back: A quartet of Irish swimmers made it to the final race paced by Michael Sullivan’s 1:46.70 in the prelims … the Irish regained their lead, 633-614, behind the efforts of fourth-place Petar Petrovic (1:45.87), sixth-place Sullivan (1:46.80), seventh-place Christopher Wills (1:48.22) and eighth-place Joshua Nosal (1:49.63).
100 Freestyle: Lytle’s 44.17 was good enough to win his preliminary heat and he later took second in the finals with an NCAA B-cut 43.56 … Andrew Hoffman (44.85) was eighth overall in the race which saw Cincinnati’s Josh Schneider (43.00) set a BIG EAST and Trees Pool record.
400 Freestyle Relay: An incredible all-around race by the entire field … Louisville got out to the early advantage, but Joshua Nosal gave the Irish the lead heading into the final stretch … Hoffman could not withstand a furious Cardinal rally as Louisville was able to finish first in 2:56.87 … Pittsburgh (2:57.10) touched second while Notre Dame (2:57.16) was third with an NCAA B-cut.