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Big East: Day Two

By John Blatchford
Carlos Almeida slapped the water along with teammate Alex Burtch
after a 1-2 (tie for second) final in the men’s 200 IM, just another sign of Louisville’s
dominance on both sides during day 2 of the Big East Swimming and Diving

The UofL men won the 50 free, 200 IM, and 200 free relay on the men’s side as well as the 200 IM and 200 free relay for the women. The men’s 500 free was scary fast with 4 men under the championship time from a year ago. Notre Dame tried to stay in contention and got help in the event with a win from freshman Frank Dyer who threw down a meet record of 4:19.08, coming home in the last 100 in a 50.4 and dropping 7 seconds from his prelim time. The tope three swimmers all went under the previous meet record.

The men’s meet has emerged predictably as a two team meet with UofL in 1st (346) and Notre Dame in 2nd (326.5). The next closest team is Pitt (192.5) as they try to hold on to a third place finish while being hotly pursued by the rest of the field. They used a 3rd place finish in the 50 free (Dubiel, 20.09), 3rd place finish in the 200 free relay (1:20.50), and 5th in the 200 IM (Solari, 1:49.67) to accumulate some points. WVU is holding strong in 4th place as they came in second in the 50 free (Tim Squires 20.05) also getting 4th and 8th in the event and they secured 2nd in a hotly contested 200 free relay. Last year’s 500 free champ, Jared Christie-Goldthorpe was shut out of the final heat with a slow prelim time and his consolation time of 4:23.42 was sadly only good for 9th. Cincinnati’s Stephen Cunningham was the lone scorer for the ‘Cats tonight with a 4:26.65 in the 500 free, an impressive NCAA Bcut and 5 second drop from last year. UConn didn’t place anybody in the top 8 with their highest finish being 10th in the 500 free (Zayed, 4:26.55) and only dropped one second in the 200 free relay which caused them to fall to 5th. They have some strong swims coming up tomorrow so I look for them to bounce back. Seton Hall was propped up by Kevin Webster who put his hat into the ring for the 500 free and got second in a blazing (hard to say for the 500, but it was really fast) time of 4:20.16, they currently stand in 6th overall.

Even with U of L pulling away early, the women’s meet is a close one with
places 2-8 being separated by a total of 70 points. Cincinnati’s Liz Hansson was the
story for the women’s 50 free, winning the event in 22.93. UC also put two girls
(Wede, Wheeler) in the finals for the 200 IM and have racked up 152 overall points
so far. The UC women have been the surprise so far for me as they even scored a 4th
place finish in the 200 free relay and currently sit in 5th place overall. Don’t cry for
Louisville though as they put 6 girls in the final heat for the 50 and are dominating
the meet, 111 points ahead of second place Notre Dame. The Pittsburgh women are
giving the Notre Dame women the creep as they sit 25 points back (ND has won the
meet 14 years in a row, not looking good) powered by some strong team swims. We
knew coming in that the women of West Virginia would be strong in the 500 free
and they didn’t disappoint going 1,2, and 4 all in NCAA Bcuts, with Rachael Burnett
winning (4:43.04). The Rutgers women got some strong consolation swims to
accumulate some points from: Jacquelyn Ward, Trisha Averill, Mary Moser, and
Chelsea Rolin.

Hopefully, the Notre Dame men, with some of their studs still in waiting, can
keep things interesting tomorrow and the Notre Dame women can distance
themselves from the field as they hope to catch a dominant Louisville squad. Clearly though, on both sides, it is Louisville’s meet to lose in their home pool as we get excited for day 3.