March 24, 2005
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. – Sophomore Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) made Notre Dame history Thursday morning, becoming the first Irish swimmer ever to compete in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships. He turned in the fifth-fastest time in program history (1:50.30) and moved up six spots from his seeding to finish 39th in the 200-yard individual medley in preliminaries at the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center.
In swimming in the first heat in the 46-swimmer field, Kegelman went out in 23.59 in the butterfly leg. He then covered the backstroke 50 in 27.99 and went 32.62 in the breaststroke portion. The highlight of his swim was his closing 50, which he covered in 26.10, a career-best freestyle split in the race. In the lane next to him was Michigan’s Dane Grenda, the brother of one of Kegelman’s teammates, junior Tyler Grenda (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum H.S.). The younger Grenda finished 42nd in 1:50.39.
The top 16 qualifiers in prelims advanced to the evening finals. The final qualifier was Mike Alexandrov of Northwestern, who went 1:46.64.
Thursday’s time by Kegelman has been bettered just four times in Irish history, all by him. He set the Irish record of 1:49.48 at the Notre Dame Invitational in December and posted a pair of quicker times at last month’s BIG EAST Championships, as well as one faster at the ’04 event. Kegelman was seeded 45th in the field. It was the first time this season that Kegelman was beaten by any non-Notre Dame swimmers.
The 39th-place finish stands as the best ever by a Notre Dame student-athlete. Diver Bob Ebel, the only previous Irish qualifier to the meet, was 77th in three-meter springboard action in 1975.
Kegelman will continue action on Friday, when he takes part in his best event, the 100 butterfly. He is seeded 26th with a lifetime-best time of 47.66 that earned him entry into the meet.