NOTRE DAME, IND, October 2. THE Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team (1-0) was nearly perfect in picking up two team wins in opening their 2004-05 season yesterday, per school reports.
The Irish failed to claim first place just twice (being disqualified on both occasions) in 23 events en route to a dominating 157-55 dual-meet victory against Evansville in the afternoon and a 118-point margin over the field in winning the Dennis Stark Relays Friday night in the Rolfs Aquatic Center.
In all, 30 of the 35 student-athletes on the Irish roster took first place at least once, as Notre Dame won its season-opening relay meet for the seventh time in eight years.
Intent to avoid a slow start to the dual-meet season akin to last season's, Notre Dame dominated the Purple Aces in afternoon action, finishing 1-2-3-4 in eight of the first nine events, clinching just their second 1-0 start in the last six years.
Local product sophomore Louis Cavadini (South Bend, Ind./Riley H.S.), wasted no time in matching last year’s season total of wins –two- in the first meet of the year. He won the 50 freestyle at 21.27 – just 0.36 seconds off his career best. He claimed his second win in the 100 free (47.60).
The divers also did well in the duel meet. Rookie Sam Stoner (Valparaiso, Ind./Valparaiso H.S.) was victorious in his first collegiate meet, taking the one-meter board with a score of 271.20, as the Irish finished in the top 5 spots. Notre Dame was nearly as dominant off the three-meter board, as sophomore Scott Coyle (Indianapolis, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern H.S.) notched a career-best score of 294.83 to beat the field by more than 50 points.
Two other Notre Dame freshmen were winners in their debuts. Drew MacKay (Georgetown, Grand Cayman/Cayman Prep & H.S.), Olympian from Cayman Islands, won the 200 individual medley at 1:54.26, while Graham Parker (Cherry Hill, N.J./Cherry Hill H.S. East) swam 2:13.68 to win the 200-yard breaststroke.
Notre Dame finished with 248 points in the Dennis Stark Relays, breaking its record for most points ever in the meet (formerly 230 in 1997). Evansville finished second in the six-team field with 130 points.
Notre Dame, last year's league runner-up, also began its quest for the 2005 BIG EAST Conference title on Friday, as 14 of its student-athletes posted automatic qualifying times for the league championships on the opening day of competition. Leading the way were Brown (400 IM, 200 fly) and Coyle (1-meter, 3-meter), who both qualified in two events, while others who can already plan on being in East Meadow, N.Y., from Feb. 17-19 are Lutkus (400 IM), Cavadini (50 free), Randolph (50 free), MacKay (50 free), Heffernan (200 fly), Zeches (200 fly), Bauman (200 back), Shomberger (200 back), Grenda (200 breast), Kegelman (100 fly), Stoner (1-meter diving), and Crowe (1-meter diving). In addition, nine other Irish competitors notched BIG EAST "B" times.
It will be nearly a month before the Irish jump back into the pool for another competitive meet, as they return to action on Oct. 29 for a dual meet at Utah at 5 p.m. (MDT) in Salt Lake City. The following day will see Notre Dame face Brigham Young in Provo.