NOTRE DAME, Ind., Nov. 25. THE University of Notre Dame men's swimming and diving team has landed a bumper crop of talent for the 2003-04 season.
The Irish announced the arrival of six letters of intent to enroll next year and head coach Tim Welsh is excited about the foundation of future rookie class.
"We think this is a fabulous incoming freshman class," Welsh says. "We also think that, in addition to the people that have committed to us early, there will be some others. It is talented, deep and academically strong and will help us raise the level of our program."
Ted Brown (Kokomo, Ind.), Alan Carter (Bethel Park, Pa.), Louis Cavadini (South Bend, Ind.), Nick Fanslau (Lansdale, Pa.), Brian Freeman (Sanger, Calif.) and Tim Kegelman (Yorktown, Va.) are the first six swimmers to make up the future class of 2007.
Brown is a distance stroke specialist who will fit right in with the Notre Dame traditional strength in that category.
"Ted is the lead senior in Indiana in several events, including the 200 freestyle and all the freestyle distances," Welsh says. "He adds power and depth to our distance freestyle and individual medley groups and can swim every event on the program."
From Western High School in Kokomo, Brown was a 2002 All-American in the 200 and 500 freestyle. He was nominated for the Wendy's High School Heisman award and qualified for the U.S. Open and U.S. Sectional. A National Honor Society member, Brown is ranked third in a class of 159 and boasts top times of 1:41.07 in the 200 freestyle, 4:31.83 in the 500 free, 9:30.91 in the 1,000 free and 4:03.32 in the 400 IM.
The Notre Dame backstroke group suffered a blow this season with two graduations and an injury to current freshman Steve Shomberger. Alan Carter, from Bethel Park High School, will add valuable depth and speed to the team next year.
"After the hard luck suffered by our backstrokers this year, an incoming star backstroker is wonderful to have," Welsh says.
"Alan can sprint. That is a thin area for Notre Dame swimming. He can sprint backstroke, he can sprint freestyle and he can swim the individual medley. He is a very strong addition to the program."
Carter is an eight-time high school first-team All-American and is a two-time U.S. Swimming Scholastic All-American. He is undefeated in dual meet action in his respective strokes and qualified for the U.S. Open and U.S. Sectional. He is ranked 15th in the 100 backstroke according to the U.S. Swimming list in 2001. His top times include 46.20 in the 100 free, 50.50 in the 100 back and 1:53.80 in the 200 IM.
Welsh and assistant coach Matt Tallman looked into their backyard to land freestyle and butterfly specialist Louis Cavadini. A familiar name in Notre Dame swimming, Louis' sister Katie is the captain of the women's team this season and his father, Dr. John Cavadini, is the University of Notre Dame theology department chair.
"We have watched Louis grow up in this town," Welsh says. "He is the lead Indiana high school senior in the same events as Ted Brown, but in shorter distances. Louis can sprint and you are starting to see that we are hoping to build a strength in our freestyle group. With this combination, we think our relays get a lot stronger as well."
Cavadini swam for Riley High School and Irish Aquatics during his prep career. He was a 2002 high school All-American in the 50 free and 100 fly and his U.S. Swimming rankings include seventh in the 50 free, 15th in the 100 free and ninth in the 100 fly. A National Honor Society member and U.S. Open and U.S. Sectional qualifier, Cavadini has top times of 20.93 in the 50 free, 46.42 in the 100 free and 49.83 in the 100 fly.
Notre Dame will lose one of its all-time breaststroke specialists to graduation this spring when Jason Fitzpatrick fulfills his eligibility. Nick Fanslau will look to come in and fill Fitzpatrick's role on the team.
"Nick is relatively new to the sport and a great breaststroker," Welsh says. "He will allow us to pick up where Jason Fitzpatrick leaves off after graduation. Nick is a very good freestyle sprinter as well."
Fanslau is out of North Penn High School and was a 2002 high school All-American in the 100 breast and 200 IM. He won the 2002 Pennsylvania state championship in the 100 breaststroke and qualified for the U.S. Open and U.S. Sectional. His top times include 56.80 in the 100 breast, 2:07.06 in the 200 breast, 1:52.49 in the 200 IM and 9:39.14 in the 1,000 freestyle.
Just as Cavadini and Brown are linked with their ability to cover all the distances in their stroke specialists, Brian Freeman will cover the longer distances in the backstroke when Carter handles the shorter races.
"Brian is the other half of Alan Carter," Welsh says.
"Brian is a backstroke and IM specialist in the longer distances. He is extremely versatile and will give us extraordinary power in the backstroke event."
Freeman boasts seven high school All-America awards (five individual, two relay) and was a 2002 NCSA junior national champion in the 200 backstroke. He holds the central California swimming record in the 200-yard and 200-meter backstroke (2:07.26). His other top times include 51.72 in the 100 back and 1:49.90 in the 200 back. Freeman's father Michael and brother Kevin are graduates of Notre Dame.
Tim Kegelman is the sixth swimmer to sign with the Irish for next year. A U.S. Sectional champion (100 fly) and the high point scorer at the 2002 sectional (spring), he qualified for the U.S. Nationals and was a scholastic All-American in 2001 and 2002.
"Tim is perhaps the most versatile of the entire group," Welsh says. "His time in the 100 butterfly (49.07) is faster than our university record. He and Louis Cavadini together would be number one and number three on the all-time butterfly list at Notre Dame. In addition, Tim is an outstanding at the individual medley, breaststroke and freestyle. A very well-rounded human being who also is first in his class."
Kegelman was among the 'Who's Who Among American High School Students' list and appears all over the national U.S. Swimming rankings (third in the 100 fly, ninth in the 200 fly, 14th in the 200 breast, 15th in the 200 IM and 16th in the 50 free). His top times list is 21.13 in the 50 free, 47.01 in the 100 free, 1:42.06 in the 200 free, 57.58 in the 100 breast, 2:06.33 in the 200 breast, 49.07 in the 100 fly, 1:51.72 in the 200 fly and 1:53.20 in the 200 IM. Kegelman's father, Jerry, received his doctorate and master's degree at Notre Dame.