Notre Dame sinks Pitt in South Bend

By Emily Steiner

Both the Pitt men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams fell to Notre Dame on the road on… Both the Pitt men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams fell to Notre Dame on the road on Saturday, giving up their first losses of the season at the opening of this year’s Big East action. The men fell with the score of 152-148, and the women lost as well, 223-77. The scores were back and forth all day for the Pitt men, and the Panthers led heading into the last event. The Irish came out on top when they out-swam Pitt for a three-second win in the final 400 free relay. Pitt coach Chuck Knoles said the relay was swam at the same pace as it was during last year’s conference meet ‘mdash; a good sign for the second meet of the season. ‘There wasn’t one swim that handed the meet to Notre Dame,’ said Knoles. ‘It was our meet to win. It was just a matter of who could get seconds and thirds instead of thirds and fourths. They had a little more depth than we did.’ That doesn’t mean the men didn’t have their fair share of high points during the meet. Pitt opened the meet in first, marking a win in the 200 medley relay for sophomore Bobby Smith, senior Jonathan Buchanan, freshman Jake Lucas and sophomore Andrzej Dubiel. Three of the four went on to win individual events. Buchanan took the 100 breaststroke, Lucas won the 100 butterfly, and Dubiel took both the 100- and 200-yard backstroke. The final relay member, Smith, came in a close second in the 100 backstroke, following Dubiel by only .17 seconds. Other winners for the men were the two voted swimmer / diver of the meet: Senior diver Alex Volovetski in the one- and three-meter events and freshman swimmer Alex Navarro in the 200 freestyle and 500 freestyle ‘mdash; a race in which he out-swam Notre Dame’s Andrew Deters in the final length and touched the wall only .05 ahead of him. ‘This is so early to go to such a high pressure meet like that,’ said Knoles. ‘I was pleasantly surprised. I doubt very much that the men from Notre Dame are going to give us this much trouble in February.’ On the women’s side, No. 24-ranked Notre Dame simply ruled the meet, winning every event and leaving the Panthers with a lot of second-place finishes. After this week and their Dennis Starks Relays invitational a month ago, the Irish women have yet to give up a win in their home pool this season. There were two races that came close.’ Freshman Megan Bender saw a close race in the 100 backstroke, as the top three finishers in that race all fought for points. Bender was beat out in the final length by Notre Dame’s Lauren Parisi by .42 but beat out Colleen Fotsch by .19 for a second-place finish. Sophomore Katie Cutrell saw her best time in a close 1,000-yard freestyle, finishing in second with a time of 10:01.87. It was just more than one second behind the opposing Lauren Sylvester. ‘Getting two losses and getting hit in the chin by a Big East opponent is a good lesson for everybody,’ said Knoles. ‘We’ll come away from that meet still focused on getting better day by day and doing it the right way, without shortcuts. If we pay attention to the details and learn to swim from the inside out, we’ll see a much better team by February.’ The Panthers will be back in the pool, hoping for a better outcome Nov. 15 when they travel to play Big East rival Cincinnati.