March 23, 2005
(Note: See pdf for more in-depth biographical notes on Kegelman, as well as a Q&A with him about the Notre Dame Invitational.)
For the first time in 30 years — and just the second time ever — the University of Notre Dame will be represented in the NCAA Division I Men’s Swimming and Diving Championship, when sophomore Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) heads to the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center in Minneapolis this week for the 2005 national championships, slated for Thursday through Saturday. Kegelman, the first Irish swimmer ever to qualify for the meet, will swim the 200-yard individual medley, the 100 butterfly, and the 200 butterfly. Preliminaries begin each day at Noon (CST), while finals start at 7 p.m.
NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The 2005 NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships will take place Thursday-Saturday in the University of Minnesota Aquatics Center on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, Minn. Each day will feature two sessions: preliminaries beginning at Noon (CST) and finals starting at 7 p.m. The top 16 student-athletes from the morning session advance to the championship (top eight) and consolation finals (next eight) at night. On Thursday, Notre Dame will be represented in the 200-yard individual medley, while Friday will bring the 100 butterfly, and Saturday will feature the Irish in the 200 fly. Each participant in the championship final earns All-America honors for the event, while the consolation final qualifiers are honorable mention All-America.
NCAA MEET TO BE SHOWN ON ESPN2 ON APRIL 1: Portions of the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships will be aired on ESPN2 on Friday, April 1 at 1:30 p.m. (EST).
IRISH IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: In its 47 years as a varsity program, Notre Dame has been represented in the NCAA Men’s Swimming and Diving Championships just once previously. In 1975, diver Bob Ebel, a sophomore St. Louis native and Affton High School graduate, earned an invitation to the NCAAs, held at Cleveland State University. He took part in three-meter springboard diving and posted a three-dive score of 87.09 points to finish 77th out of 79. Notre Dame was one of 68 schools that tied for 31st in the meet with 0 points. A variety of other Irish swimmers and divers have been close to qualifying, but none had succeeded prior to another sophomore, swimmer Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.), earning a trip in 2005.
NOTRE DAME FINISHES 21st IN CSCAA NATIONAL RANKINGS: After having never received votes prior to this season, Notre Dame finished 21st in the final College Swimming Coaches Association of America National Dual Meet Rankings. After receiving votes but not being ranked early in the season, a 155-145 Irish upset of eight-time defending BIG EAST champion and #17 Pittsburgh on Nov. 12 vaulted them into the rankings at 21st. Notre Dame stayed at that position most of the campaign, dropping briefly to 22nd on Feb. 8 before sliding back up one in the final poll. Notre Dame’s lone losses came against Northwestern (finished ranked 14th) and Brigham Young (finished 23rd).
DUAL-MEET RECAP: The Irish posted a 10-2 record in dual-meet competition, their ninth season with 10+ victories in 20 years under current head coach Tim Welsh. Both of Notre Dame’s defeats came against nationally-ranked squads. On Oct. 30 at #22 Brigham Young (swimming less than 24 hours after beating Utah), the meet came down to the final relay with the score tied 140-140. The Cougars won it for a 153-144 triumph. Notre Dame then fell 163.5-134.5 against #14 Northwestern on Jan. 22 in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The Irish posted their first-ever upset of a ranked team on Nov. 12, winning the final relay by .04 seconds to upset eight-time defending BIG EAST champion and #17 Pittsburgh 155-145 at home. That snapped a 26-meet winning streak for the Panthers in conference action and provided Notre Dame its first dual-meet triumph against Pittsburgh since 1960. Other highlights of the season included the first Irish dual-meet victories against Big Ten schools since 1991 (against Iowa and Michigan State) and the first-ever matchup of ranked teams that Notre Dame participated in (vs. Northwestern).
NOTRE DAME WINS FIRST-EVER BIG EAST TITLE: Notre Dame scored a meet-record 902 points claiming its first BIG EAST Conference championship since joining the league 10 years ago. The Irish won five events and registered 17 top-three finishes, ending up 275 points ahead of eight-time defending champion Pittsburgh, which had never lost a BIG EAST meet by more than 48 points. For the second year in a row, Tim Welsh was named the BIG EAST Swimming Coach of the Year, while sophomore Tim Kegelman led all competitors in points scored (89.5). After Notre Dame had won just six BIG EAST event titles in its first nine years of membership, the Irish got five championships in 2005. Kegelman became the first Notre Dame swimmer ever to win multiple events in the same meet, taking first in the 100 butterfly and the 200 individual medley. He also joined with juniors Doug Bauman and Tim Randolph and senior Frank Krakowski in the 400 medley relay to give the Irish their second-ever BIG EAST title in a relay. Other winners for Notre Dame were junior Steve Shomberger in the 200 backstroke and freshman Jay Vanden Berg in the 1,650 freestyle. Kegelman also became the first Irish student-athlete ever to etch his name in the BIG EAST’s record book, matching the meet record in the 100 fly (48.10) in prelims before bettering that time in finals (48.06).
KEGELMAN SETS THREE MEET, POOL, AND UNIVERSITY RECORDS AT NOTRE DAME INVITATIONAL: Sophomore Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) became the first Notre Dame men’s swimmer ever to earn an invitation to the NCAA Championships thanks to an outstanding performance at the Notre Dame Invitational, Dec. 2-4 in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. He broke the meet, pool, and University records in all three of his individual events, going 47.66 in the 100 fly, 1:47.53 in the 200 fly, and 1:49.48 in the 200 IM. All three were NCAA “B” times, and the mark in the 100 butterfly was good enough to get him a berth in the national championships.
IRISH HEAD COACH: Tim Welsh is in his 20th season leading the Irish men’s swimming and diving program after helming both the men’s and women’s teams from 1985-94. He has been named the BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year in each of the past two seasons, after helping the Irish to their then-highest-ever point total and a runner-up finish in the conference meet in 2004 and their first-ever BIG EAST championship last month. He also gained the distinction in 1999. In his career, which spans 28 seasons, Welsh has compiled a 384-233-1 (.622) overall dual-meet mark, including a 234-128 (.646) record coaching men’s swimming and diving and a 262-143 (.647) mark at Notre Dame. A former Division III National Coach of the Year, Welsh has helped his teams to a pair of national titles, as well as 25 conference championships (1 BIG EAST, 15 Midwestern Collegiate, 9 Middle Atlantic, 1 North Star). Prior to coming to Notre Dame, he led the Johns Hopkins men’s and women’s programs for eight years, winning back-to-back men’s Division III national titles in 1978 and ’79, being named National Coach of the Year on the latter occasion. At Notre Dame, he has coached 12 athletes who have earned berths in the NCAA Championships, including the program’s first-ever national-meet swimming qualifiers on both the men’s and women’s sides. His impact on the evolution of the men’s program is evidenced by the fact that all but one current University record has been set since 1999. Welsh has been awarded an honorary monogram for his distinguished service to the swimming programs by Notre Dame’s Monogram Club. He currently has the second-longest tenure of any Irish coach at Notre Dame (track and field coach Joe Piane is first at 30 years). Welsh also is involved with the sport at the national and international levels, 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, which recently honored him with the prestigious Ousley Award.