NOTRE DAME, Ind., February 8. THE University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team (8-7) completed its regular-season schedule with a 183-103 victory over Oakland (5-4) Saturday afternoon in the Rolfs Aquatic Center. The Irish won 12 of 16 events and took each of the top three spots in four of the first five individual races. Notre Dame posted a 7-2 record in January and February to secure its seventh winning season in nine years.
Notre Dame's lone diver, freshman Scott Coyle (Indianapolis, Ind./Hamilton Southeastern H.S.), led the Irish as a double winner in the diving well, taking first place off both the one- and three-meter boards. His scores were 273.00 and 262.43, respectively. Coyle has five victories over the last four dual meets after not registering any up to that point in the season.
Sophomore Doug Bauman (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School) led the most dominating performance for the Irish, a 1-2-3-4 finish in the 100-yard backstroke, in 51.26. Sophomore Steve Shomberger (Spotsylvania, Pa./Courtland H.S.) and freshman Alan Carter (Bethel Park, Pa./Bethel Park H.S.) tied for second in 53.01, while freshman Chris Zeches (Tucson, Ariz./Salpointe Catholic H.S.) was fourth in 54.19.
Sophomore Patrick Davis (Clearwater, Fla./Jesuit H.S.) headed the first 1-2-3 Irish finish of the afternoon, winning the 1,000 free in 9:35.29. Freshman Justin Barber (Carson City, Nev./Carson H.S.) was second in 9:49.48, while junior Matt Bertke (Edgewood, Ky./Covington Catholic H.S.) had a season-best time of 9:52.92, which was third.
The Irish took the top three spots in the ensuing race, the200 freestyle, as well. Freshman Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind./Western H.S.) posted his 20th dual-meet race victory of the season with a time of 1:41.35, while senior co-captain Matt Obringer (Jacksonville, Fla./The Bolles School) was second in 1:42.26 and sophomore Jamie Lutkus (Granger, Ind./Penn H.S.) turned in a career-best time of 1:43.26, posting a BIG EAST "B" qualifying time. It is the fifth event Lutkus is eligible to compete in at the BIG EAST Championships, along with the 200 IM, 400 IM, 100 breast, and 200 breast.
Sophomore Patrick Heffernan (Norcross, Ga./Norcross H.S.) led a sweep of the top three positions in the 200 butterfly, winning the race in 1:53.91. Freshman Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va./Tabb H.S.) was second in 1:55.32, while senior J.R. Teddy (Spring, Texas/Klein H.S.) was third in 1:55.52.
Two Irish freshmen notched their first race victories on Saturday. Brian Freeman (Sanger, Calif./Immanuel H.S.) took the top spot in the 200 backstroke with a time of 1:56.50, while Carter was second in 1:57.27. Bauman posted a 1:51.80 in exhibition action.
Barber was first in the 400 individual medley in a time of4:09.05. Four Notre Dame swimmers posted quicker times in exhibition action: Lutkus in 4:04.28, junior David Moisan (Fisherville, Ky./Louisville Male H.S.) in 4:05.91, Brown in 4:06.74, and Davis in 4:08.74. Freeman registered an exhibition time of 4:09.15, which was good enough for a BIG EAST "B" cut, running the total of events he is eligible to swim in the conference meet to five (also 200 free, 100 back, 200 back, 200 IM).
Kegelman continued his dominance in the 100 butterfly, winning it in 49.57. He is 8-1 in dual meets this season in the race, losing only to Northwestern's Tony Swanson, an NCAA qualifier a year ago. The win was the 15th of the season for Kegelman overall. Junior Frank Krakowski (Erie, Pa./Cathedral Preparatory School) was second in 50.27.
Swimming in his final collegiate meet, Teddy posted his 18thcareer dual race victory by winning the 500 free in a season-best time of 4:40.18. Teddy, who was out of the pool for four months in the off season due to a broken leg, just missed gaining an invitation to the BIG EAST Championships for the fourth consecutive season. He leaves Notre Dame as one of the top 10 competitors of all-time in four different events: the 500 free (6th, career-best time of 4:33.34), 1000 free (7th, 9:35.71), 1650 free (8th, 16:07.19), and 200 butterfly (7th, 1:51.47). Bertke was second in 4:46.25, while sophomore Patrick O'Berry (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton H.S.) came in fourth with a time of 4:50.90.
Notre Dame bookended the event with victories in the relays. Bauman, sophomore Tim Randolph (Crown Point, Ind./Merrillville H.S.), Kegelman, and Krakowski won the initial race, the 200 medley, in 1:32.58. The team of Carter, freshman Nick Fanslau (Lansdale, Pa./North Penn H.S.), freshman Louis Cavadini (South Bend, Ind./Riley H.S.), and junior Drew Pittman (Williamsburg, Va./Lafayette H.S.) was third in 1:36.42.
In the 400 free relay, sophomore Chris Barnes (Cincinnati, Ohio/St. Xavier H.S.), Pittman, Bertke, and Fanslau were first in 3:11.16, but the quartet of Cavadini, Randolph, Krakowski, and Obringer put up a time of 3:02.90 in exhibition action. The time was nearly three seconds better than Notre Dame's previous best mark this season. The result vaulted the Irish from seventh to fourth among BIG EAST teams in the event, a big jump since the event is swum in two heats — one of the top six schools and one of the other eight — at the conference meet.
In the 50 freestyle, Notre Dame took 2-3-4-5 behind Oakland's Chris Sullivan, who finished 18th in the NCAAs a year ago in the event. Krakowski and Cavadini were the top two Irish finishers, both posting season-best marks of 20.96 and 21.20, respectively. Pittman was fourth in 21.69, while Moisan took fifth in 21.99 in his first time competing in the race this season.
Sullivan also won the 100 free, in which he was 15th in the'03 NCAA Championships, but once again the Irish were dominant behind him. Barnes finished second with a time of 47.13, just missing in an attempt to gain a last-chance invitation to the BIG EAST meet. Pittman took third with a time of 47.30, while Brown was fourth in 48.27.
Oakland was strong in the two breaststroke races, taking each of the top two spots in both. Hunor Ma'te', who is the fastest freshman in the country — and eighth-quickest overall — in the 100 breast, posted a pair of victories. In the 100, Randolph was third in 57.90, while sophomore Tyler Grenda (Hockessin, Del./Salesianum H.S.) was fifth in 58.95. In the 200, Grenda was third in 2:09.67, while Moisan took fourth with a 2:11.12.
The four Irish seniors — Obringer, Teddy, Josh Dermott (El Dorado Hills, Calif./Rio Americano H.S.), and Brian Coughlan (Moraga, Calif./Campolindo H.S.) — completed their dual-meet careers having posted a 31-20 (.608) record. They also carry a combined 3.537 cumulative grade-point average.
Notre Dame got a measure of revenge against the Golden Grizzlies, who rallied from a 22-point deficit with two events remaining for a 151-149 win over the Irish before qualifying five athletes for the NCAA Championships and finishing 27th in 2002-03.