Notre Dame claims Invitational
By NOREEN GILLESPIE
Saint Mary's Editor
Like a professor evaluating his classes' performance during the semester, men's swimming and diving coach Tim Welsh decided that his team's GPA was honor roll material.
Walking out of the Notre Dame Invitational Saturday night with a team win, six swimmers with first-place finishes and a new meet record, the men's swimming and diving team fared well for the semester.
"If this were class, this meet is the final exam," Welsh had said going into the meet Thursday, where the Irish would attempt to defeat a field of closely ranked contenders.
Come Saturday, there was no question this class earned As.
"We did well on our exam," Welsh said, "from start to finish."
Entering a meet where there was no clear-cut winner, Notre Dame secured a victory over Western Kentucky by 214.5 points. Denison College finished in third with 1,057 points, followed by Michigan State (865.5) and Denison (1,057) trailing in fourth and fifth places.
The Irish were led by junior Ryan Verlin, who continued his unbeaten streak in the 200 butterfly, securing a first place finish Saturday night in a meet-record time of 1:49.98.
While a top finish may not have been unexpected, the record was a surprise for Verlin.
"The record wasn't even something that I was aware of," Verlin said. "I was shooting to improve my time, and I hadn't realized that I had broken it."
The relay team of sophomore Jonathan Pierce, junior Matt Grunewald, senior Rob Fetter and senior Ray Fitzpatrick also rewrote the record books for the Irish, replacing the meet record in the 800 freestyle relay. Fitzpatrick edged out Western Kentucky's Kicker Vencill for the win. Vencill had set a new meet record in the 100 freestyle earlier in the meet.
Other top finishes for the Irish included junior Dan Szilier's first place 200 breastroke swim in 2:20.35, and a pair of wins from sophomore Jonathan Pierce in the 500 and 1,000 freestyles.
The divers also put up strong performances, with senior Herb Huesman stacking a second place win from the one meter boardwith 468.30 points. Freshman Andy Maggio secured third place with 460.25.
In the absence of their three top scorers, the Irish women's swimming and diving team also made their presence felt at Rolfs this weekend, placing first as a team with 1,292 points over Michigan State (1,197), Denison (1,176), and Western Kentucky (879).
Junior Carrie Nixon, junior Brooke Davey and senior Shannon Suddarth competed in San Antonio, Texas, over the weekend at the U.S. Open, leaving the Irish to defend their home waters at the Invitational without them.
Senior Allison Newell picked up three wins for the women's team, sweeping the 200 butterfly and 100 butterfly. Newell also swam a freestyle leg for the first place 800 freestyle relay team of junior Kristen Van Saun, junior Brenda Reilly and freshman Lindsay Moorhead.
The Irish women also picked up a pair of wins from sophomore Kelly Hecking, who captured the 100 backstroke in 56.20, posting a "B" qualifying time for the NCAA 2000 Championships.
Hecking also swam the leading leg of the first place 200 medley relay team with Rimkus, Barger and Shepard.
Van Saun also notched an individual win for the Irish, winning the first event of the meet by edging Kentucky's Sydney Mountford in the 500 freestyle. Van Saun outtouched her competitor by .08, edging into first with a time of 4:56.20.
Sophomore diver Heather Mattingly posted a first place win for the Irish on the three-meter board.
The Irish women will compete next at the St. Croix Invatational on Jan. 10, 2000. The men's squad will return from their break opening the new year on the road, matching with LSU on Jan. 8, 2000.
All Sports Stories for Tuesday, December 7, 1999