ROCHESTER, Mich., Feb. 8. IT was a dual meet that provided both good and bad news for the University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team. The Irish were nipped by host Oakland 151-149, but were able to put together one of their fastest meets of the season.
Notre Dame ends the dual meet season with a 6-8 record.
"It was a really competitive meet," Notre Dame head coach Tim Welsh said. "I think it was our best overall effort from start to finish. We got off to a great start and Oakland came back to have a great second half of the meet."
Notre Dame's strong start began with a victory by the 200 medley relay team of Doug Bauman, Jason Fitzpatrick, Frank Krakowski and Tim Randolph in 1:32.86. Freshman Patrick Davis followed up with a win in the 1,000 free (9:37.59) followed by Matt Bertke in second (9:45.04).
Oakland, a former Div. II powerhouse that moved up to Division I several years ago, got its first win in the 200 freestyle, but Bauman kept the Irish ahead with a 50.75 victory in the 100 backstroke. Notre Dame senior Jason Fitzpatrick then came through with a win in the 100 breaststroke (57.63).
The home team stole back a bit of momentum before the diving break, however, as they touched first in both the 200 butterfly and 50 freestyle.
A one-two-three sweep by Joe Miller, Andy Maggio and Tong Xie in one-meter diving allowed the Irish to come back and grab a little more of a lead going into the second half of the meet.
Oakland's Chris Sullivan won his second event of the night, taking the 100 freestyle in 45.66. The Grizzlies then swept to wins in the 200 backstroke, 200 breaststroke and 500 freestyle to put themselves back into the meet.
Krakowski stopped the bleeding for Notre Dame with a win in the 100 butterfly (50.08) and Maggio came through with a 313.80 victory in three-meter diving to even up the meet.
The 400 IM ended up as the deciding event. Oakland finished first, second and third to score 16 points and force Notre Dame to go second and third in the final relay to win.
The Notre Dame 400 freestyle relay team of Tim Randolph, Krakowski, Fitzpatrick and Obringer came through with their fastest time of the season (3:06.31), but Oakland rallied on the final leg to win the race (3:05.49) and the meet.
Next up for the Irish is the BIG EAST Championship in Uniondale, NY, on Feb. 20, 21 and 22.