NOTRE DAME, Ind., Feb. 7. THE University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team (7-7) kept its hope of a seventh winning season in nine years alive by winning eight of 13 events en route to a 145-96 triumph over Cleveland State (9-3) Friday night in the Rolfs Aquatic Center.
The Irish, who took each of the top three places in four of the first eight events, will conclude their regular season by welcoming Oakland for a 1 p.m. (EST) meet on Saturday. It will be a combined men's and women's affair.
Sophomore Jamie Lutkus (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) was dominant for the second week in a row, notching a pair of victories. He led a 1-2-3 Notre Dame finish in the 200-yard individual medley with a time of 1:53.54. Following him were junior David Moisan (Fisherville, Ky./Louisville Male H.S.) in 1:55.21 and freshman Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) in 1:56.05. Lutkus then took first in the 200 breaststroke in 2:07.40, while Moisan again was the runner-up, this time with a time of 2:07.68. Freshman Nick Fanslau (Lansdale,Pa./North Penn H.S.) was fourth in 2:15.92, while sophomore Tyler Grenda (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum H.S.) posted the top time in the event, a 2:06.55 in exhibition action.
Lutkus has four race wins in the last two meets after posting just three prior to that this season. His win in the 200 breaststroke was the first of his career in that event, marking the second week in a row he gained his inaugural victory in a race. Lutkus won the 500 free vs. St. Bonaventure in his first time swimming the race in collegiate action.
Junior Frank Krakowski (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School) headed up the most dominating performance of the evening for the Irish, leading a 1-2-3-4 finish in the 50 freestyle with a time of 21.27. It was Krakowski's seventh race win of the season, including five in the 50 free, an event in which he holds the Notre Dame record. Just behind him were freshman Louis Cavadini (South Bend, Ind./Riley H.S.) in 21.34, sophomore Tim Randolph (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville H.S.) in 21.70, and Fanslau in 21.97.
Freshman Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind./Western H.S.) led Notre Dame's first 1-2-3 finish of the evening, winning the 1,000-yard freestyle in 9:26.86. The win was the 19th for Brown this season, and it improved his record to 7-1 in the 1,000 free. He is undefeated in the race since North Carolina's Yuri Suguiyama, who finished 13th in both the 500 and 1650 free in last year's NCAA Championships, beat Brown in the 1,000 in the initial dual meet of the season, on Oct. 21 in Chapel Hill.
Sophomore Patrick Davis (Clearwater, Fla./Jesuit H.S.) finished second to Brown, turning in a career-best time of 9:28.78. He became just the fourth swimmer in Notre Dame history to post a sub-9:30.00 time in the 1,000 freestyle. Freshman Chris Zeches (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic H.S.) was third in 9:47.86.
Sophomore Chris Barnes (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier H.S.) posted his first career first-place finish by leading a top-three Irish sweep in the 100 freestyle with a career-best time of 47.02. He just missed gaining an invitation to the BIG EAST Championships (a mark of 46.71 would have done that) and will need to post an "A" qualifying time on Saturday or he will miss the conference meet. Just behind Barnes were senior co-captain Matt Obringer (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) in 47.18 and Cavadini in 47.32.
Notre Dame's lone diver, freshman Scott Coyle (Indianapolis, Ind./
Hamilton Southeastern H.S.), continued his hot streak by taking first place in the three-meter competition with a score of 277.58. It was his first win in that event and his third victory in as many meets after not posting a first-place finish prior to that. Coyle was second off the one-meter board with a score of 268.43.
Obringer continued Notre Dame's streak of five consecutive victories to start the meet by taking first in the 200 freestyle with a time of 1:42.28. It was his fourth win in that race this season. Barnes was third in that event in 1:43.95 (1.01 seconds away from a BIG EAST "A" mark), while junior Matt Bertke (Edgewood, Ky./Covington Catholic H.S.) was fourth in 1:44.70.
Notre Dame started the meet with a victory in the 400 medley relay. Sophomore Doug Bauman (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School), Randolph, Kegelman, and Krakowski finished first in 3:26.80, while the quartet of freshman Alan Carter (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park H.S.), Grenda, senior Brian Coughlan (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo H.S.), and Fanslau were third in 3:33.45.
The Irish would have had two more victories late in the meet, but a number of competitors swam as exhibition entrants. Brown beat the first-place finisher in the 500 freestyle by more than seven seconds, finishing in 4:38.06, with Davis was just behind him in 4:39.07. Zeches was the top Irish finisher in the race with a time of 4:46.65, while freshman Justin Barber (Carson City, Nev./Carson H.S.) was third in 4:49.78.
In the final event, the 400 free relay, the Irish team of Barnes, Kegelman, Brown, and junior Drew Pittman (Williamsburg, Va./Lafayette H.S.) were the quickest quartet, in 3:09.59, but they were exhibitioned. Notre Dame's top finishing team was Barber, Coughlan, sophomore Patrick O'Berry (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton H.S.), and Davis, who were second in 3:20.98.
Senior J.R. Teddy (Spring, Texas/Klein H.S.) just missed in his bid for an invitation to the BIG EAST Championships. His season-best time of 1:54.91 was good enough for second place in the 200 butterfly, but was 0.62 seconds off the "A" cut. O'Berry was third in the race in 1:56.95 and Coughlan was fourth in 1:58.93.
Sophomore Patrick Heffernan (Norcross, Ga./Norcross H.S.) had the best time of any Notre Dame swimmer, a 1:54.03 as an exhibition competitor.
Sophomore Steve Shomberger (Spotsylvania, Va./Courtland H.S.) finished second in the 200 backstroke in 1:53.81, while freshman David Hochstetler (Bremen, Ind./Bremen Senior H.S.) was fourth in 1:57.70, though he missed his attempt to gain a bid to the BIG EAST meet.
In a 100-yard butterfly time trial, Shomberger turned in a career-best time of 52.03, which was good enough for a BIG EAST "B" mark. He will be eligible to swim that event, as well as the 100 back and 200 back, in which he has "A" times.
Freshman Brendan Whalen (Longwood, Fla./Trinity Preparatory School) failed in his attempt to get into the BIG EAST Championships, posting a 1:01.40 in a 100 breaststroke time trial.
Notre Dame beat Cleveland State for the ninth consecutive season and 17th time in the last 18 meetings. The Irish have won nine home meets in a row against the Vikings.